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The Lonely Kink

Ray Davies, one of rock’s most influential songwriters, is making his way as a solo artist. But all he really wants is his band back

rsiwebadmin Jun 10, 2008
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THE BEST OF THE KINKS

The Kinks’ story is a messy one, because they’ve been so many different bands. They’ve been British Invasion rockers, social satirists, cult heroes, mullet-mongering stadium stars. Through it all, they made some of the greatest rock & roll albums ever. Here are the absolute kream of the krop.

KINDA KINKS (1965)

The crude, sloppy sound of the young Kinks, with flourishes of the introspective lyrical side that Ray Davies would soon explore in full.
Best song: ”˜Something Better Beginning,’ a Phil Spector-style girl-group ballad, except from the perspective of a very neurotic boy.

FACE TO FACE (1966)

Davies takes off as a songwriter, satirising Swinging London’s bright young things and exposing their scared, isolated secret lives.
Best song: ”˜Too Much on My Mind,’ an airy ballad that’s pure dread.

SOMETHING ELSE BY THE KINKS (1968)

Ray Davies’ answer to Pet Sounds, with his most delicate melodies framing compassionate tunes about lonely housewives in curlers (”˜Two Sisters’) and Cockney nicotine addicts (”˜Harry Rag’).
Best song: ”˜Waterloo Sunset,’ his gorgeously chilly tale of a solitary man who finds paradise watching lovers from his window.

THE VILLAGE GREEN PRESERVATION SOCIETY (1968)

The Kinks retreat to the country, which turns out to be just as twisted as the city. Indie rockers made it a template ”“ as influential as The Basement Tapes.
Best song: ”˜Picture Book,’ a cheery rocker about how we all get old and die alone. Clap along, everybody!

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MUSWELL HILLBILLIES (1971)

A country-rock Village Green, with the Davies brothers recalling their native Muswell Hill, a place where loners drown in ”˜Alcohol’ and dream of escaping to ”˜Oklahoma U.S.A.’
Best song: ”˜Have a Cuppa Tea,’ a jolly music-hall romp with a cup of Rosie Lee.

(Rob Sheffield)

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