My Top 1000 Songs #75: This Time Tomorrow

There are more attention-grabbing songs on the Kinks' 1970 sort-of concept album Lola vs. Powerman. "Lola," of course, is one of the all-time-great singles, and the aesthetically-similar "Apeman" is great fun. Meanwhile, Dave Davies gets one of his most remarkable turns in the emotionally poignant "Strangers." So, yeah, any one of those can and should be near the top of my list.

But it's "This Time Tomorrow" that's gradually grown into a personal favorite over the years.

Now, Ray Davies has written a lot of road songs over his career, from the gorgeous "Sitting In My Hotel" to the more workmanlike "Life On The Road." And rock & roll road songs are a tricky business. Yes, as an obsessive fan, I don't mind hearing my music idols sharing their experiences... yet as much as I sympathize with the drudgery, it's hard for me to get too worked up about a rock star complaining about hotel rooms, y'know?

Of course, as one of history's greatest songwriters, Ray always wins me over. And "This Time Tomorrow" captures his weariness from endless travel so beautifully it's hard not to picture yourself sitting on the plane alongside the band. "This time tomorrow, where will we be? On a spaceship somewhere, sailing across an empty sea." Ultimately, it succeeds not as yet another rock & roll road song, but as a universal theme of displacement and exhaustion. Couple that with a simple guitar riff, a rollicking piano paired with a finger-picked, bluegrass-tinged guitar lead, and a dynamic that builds from weary ballad to swooning anthem, and it stands as one of the Kinks' finest yet seemingly most underappreciated songs.