By Billy Cramer
What came first? The rock ‘n’ roll hit song about the gender-bending woman of intrigue named Lola? Or the brilliant rock-opera album for which it is named? Could it be that the Davies brothers are, in fact, masters of time-travel?
These are questions that have baffled me for years. In case you’re wondering what the hell I’m talking about, I’ll do my best to illustrate the riddle.
Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part 1 is a water-tight, cohesive album. It is a rock-opera. Its libretto tells the entire story of the rise and fall of a rock band. When I first became obsessed with this album a decade ago, my buddy and I assumed we were the first ones ever to have stumbled upon this fact. It was a weed-filled, tall-boy-slurping “Eureka!” moment of sorts. We realized that all the songs are in chronological order and are subjectively connected. Each track perfectly relates to the overall rags-to-riches theme…including the absolutely ingenious (and, to me, quite baffling) placement of the album’s massive hit single, “Lola.”
Why is it baffling? Because it’s the only song with lyrics that are completely out of context. This peekaboo dalliance with the transgender muse called Lola has zero relevance to the overall story line of the album. Ok, so what? Well, at first it seems like a total outlier, like they just threw it in there. But I argue that it’s not and they didn’t.
“Lola” is placed in the spot in the story right before the band explodes on the scene and sky-rockets to the top. In other words, it is THE hit that launches the fictional band into success, stardom and wealth. But here’s the thing: it also is THE hit that brought the non-fictional and very real Kinks back to the top.
So, if (fingers crossed) you are still with me, you’ll see that “Lola” is both a fictional hit AND a non-fictional hit at the exact same moment in space-time. Two bands. Two dimensions. One paradoxical song about hidden truth, which stands as the portal of proof and ties the whole thing together.
Here are the only explanations I can think of for how they accomplished this:
A.) The Kinks recorded a song called, “Lola” and released it in 1970. It became a verifiable hit and a rock ‘n’ roll classic. Time marched on in this alternate universe. Then, at some point in the mid-70’s, after getting very high and reflecting on their lives since the song’s release, they conjure up the story for a themed-album. Here, of course, they jump in their time machine. They book sessions for the album and perfectly place it, as the hit single, exactly where it should go as a plot-point for this epic album.
B.) They just fucking knew it was going to rule.
C.) Aliens. The lot of ’em.
D.) They actually did release the singles first (“Lola” and “Apeman“) and then wrote the album around the hits and I have been way too lazy to actually do the research.
So which is it? I have no idea…but my money’s on the time machine. If for no other reason than to justify my Halloween costume this year: Dave Davies dressed as Doc Emmett Brown.
Regardless of whether or not “Lola” proves to you the existence of time-travel, at the very least, I hope you give this album another listen because it is one of the best.
[Note: The fictional story ends at track 13 in the link below, which is when the original album ended…This YouTube link adds the singles and a demo of “Powerman” as a bonus.]
What do you guys think? Does anybody actually know the answer? We look forward to your comments! Please include conspiracy theories, tall-tales and…if you must…facts.