The Kinks – “Lola” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

“Lola” by The Kinks is a catchy song, but more than its memorable chorus, it tells a captivating story about an encounter in a club in Soho. This isn’t just about dance and some champagne; it’s about discovering and understanding fluidity in gender and identity. The song touches on themes of attraction, confusion, and acceptance. Ray Davies, the songwriter, weaves a tale of a man meeting a person named Lola, and their ensuing experience together. Ultimately, it’s a song about understanding oneself and finding acceptance in a world that’s often too quick to label and judge.

The Kinks crafted a tale ahead of its time and remains relevant even today. Hungry for more details about Lola and that night in Soho? Let’s get into it!

“Lola” Lyrics Meaning

Starting off in a club in old Soho, the lyrics set the scene with a bubbly atmosphere where champagne tastes just like cola. It is a fun place, but also where things aren’t always what they seem.

Enter Lola. A character who’s immediately intriguing, not just for the protagonist but for us listeners. The choice of a “dark brown voice” introduces the first clue that Lola might not fit the traditional mold. The protagonist is drawn in, even if he’s not the “most physical guy”.

Things become more apparent with the lines, “Well, I’m not dumb but I can’t understand, Why she walked like a woman but talked like a man”. The song throws at us the challenges of understanding gender identity, especially in a time when these discussions weren’t mainstream.

As the night proceeds, the environment becomes more intimate – “under electric candlelight”. The lyrics depict a growing closeness between the protagonist and Lola, with both emotional and physical moments.

It’s the chorus, though, that stands out and gets echoed in many of our minds: “Girls will be boys and boys will be girls. It’s a mixed up, muddled up, shaken up world, except for Lola”. This powerful statement emphasizes the fluidity of gender identity and the song’s overall message of acceptance.

Toward the end, the protagonist acknowledges that he may not be the “world’s most masculine man”, but he knows who he is. And that self-awareness and acceptance are mirrored in his feelings for Lola.

The Story Behind “Lola”

The Kinks’ frontman, Ray Davies, penned the lyrics drawing from real-life experiences, and the tale is as engaging as the song itself. In the late 1960s, rock and roll was about pushing boundaries. While The Beatles and the Stones were making waves with their music, The Kinks found their own rebellion in exploring themes of identity and gender, which weren’t as mainstream as they are today.

The seed for “Lola” was planted when the band’s manager, Robert Wace, had a dance with a transgender woman at a club in Paris. The band members shared the story, immediately catching Davies’ attention. The incident made him reflect upon identity, attraction, and the gray areas that society often overlooked.

When writing “Lola”, Davies wasn’t just narrating a night out. He was capturing a moment of realization, both for himself and the protagonist in the song. This was a time when the world was changing rapidly. The LGBTQ+ movement was gaining momentum, and discussions about gender fluidity and identity were just beginning to enter public consciousness.

“Lola” is a reflection of the times, a snapshot of a society in flux, and a personal journey of understanding and acceptance. It’s also a testament to The Kinks’ bravery in exploring themes often swept under the rug in those days. In doing so, they created a timeless anthem that still resonates with listeners today.