The Kinks: Victoria Meaning
Song Released: 1968
Sex was bad and obscene.
And the rich were so mean.
Stately homes for the Lords,
Croquet lawns, village greens.
Victoria was my queen
Victoria, Victoria, Victoria, 'toria
I was born, lucky me,
In a land that I...
This is obviously a song about Queen Victoria, who reigned over England when the British Empire was at its peak. But it helps to know a bit about the album this song came from, to provide context.
In 1968, the Kinks wrote the soundtrack to a BBC TV movie called "Arthur." This movie was supposed to tell the story of an ordinary Englishman named Arthur who was born in 1900, when Victoria was still queen, but was now a tied old man. This BBC movie was never actually filmed, but the Kinks' soundtrack to "Arthur" was one of their greatest albums.
The album shows BOTH how England changed and declined between 1900 and 1968, while simultaneously showing how Arthur, a bright ambitious young man, wasted his life in that same time period.
The song is sung from the point of view of an elderly Englishman living in 1968. He looks at England, and is stunned by how everything has changed since he was born. When he was born, England was the richest and most powerful nation on Earth; now, England was a small, weaker, poorer country. When he was born, prudish "Victorian" dominated England. BY 1968, morals had loosened, and sex was everywhere.
"Victoria" shows an old man wondering, "What the hell happened to the England I once knew? And what the hell happened to my youth and all my dreams?"
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