Friday, February 10, 2006
by David Zahl
I've never been so excited for Valentine's Day in my life - after years of waiting, Whit Stillman's Metropolitan finally comes out on Criterion Collection DVD! What's more, on the same day, we also get the first ever solo album from Ray Davies (of the Kinks)! To celebrate, I've put together a list of my 17 favorite lesser-known Kinks songs:
1. Sweet Lady Genevieve – Preservation Act 1. From the period where the whole band had long hair and beards and no one listened to them.
2. This Is Where I Belong – Face to Face (single). I’m pretty sure Ray wrote this after the band got mysteriously banned from the States in 1965.
3. Shangri-La – Arthur. The first of many British Empire-themed rock operas from Ray. Cynical and sentimental at the same time, with great drumming.
4. This Time Tomorrow – Lola vs. The Powerman and the Moneygoround, pt. 1. I suspect this song sums up everything we need to know about “life on the road”. I never understood why Ray and Dave stopped singing together like they do on this song/album.
5. Deadend Street – Face to Face (single). With the exception of this song, the working-class-hero bit is the least interesting side of Ray's persona.
6. Starstruck – Village Green Preservation Society. Hard to pick only one from this album. No one ever talks about how awesome the Kinks’ back-up vocals were.
7. It’s Alright – The Kinks (b-side). Also, they sure could rock!
8. Nothing in This World Can Stop Me Worrying About My Baby – Kinda Kinks. Otherwise known as the song from Rushmore. I always wonder how the super-long title came across in 1964.
9. No More Looking Back – Schoolboys in Disgrace. Frampton Comes Alive was only two years away, and you can tell. In a good way…
10. A Rock n Roll Fantasy – Misfits. Worth it if only for the Beach Boys-style breakdown toward the end.
11. Til The End of the Day – The Kink Kontroversy. In the early days, people would accuse Ray of shamelessly recycling the “You Really Got Me” riff. But I don’t see how you could listen this song and fault him for it.
12. Animal Farm – Village Green Preservation Society. I have no idea what he’s talking about here, but it’s really English and really catchy.
13. Something Better Beginning – Kinda Kinks. My father’s favorite Kinks song. Note the brevity.
14. No Reason – Something Else. Is this bossanova? I don’t know. But even if it is, I love it.
15. Art Lover – Give The People What They Want. Latter-day Kinks. Weird and slightly perverted but clearly fantastic.
16. Autumn Almanac – Something Else (single). I just really like the way Ray sings the word, “almanac”, stretching it into four syllables.
17. I’m On an Island – The Kink Kontroversy. JAZ’s favorite Kinks song. Probably their most successful foray into calypso.
While I’m at it, here are 9 of my favorite well-known Kinks songs:
1. Waterloo Sunset – Something Else. As close to perfection as it gets.
2. All Day, All of the Night – The Kinks. Best of the riff-songs, no question.
3. Tired of Waiting for You – The Kinks. Sometimes it takes girls a long time to get ready.
4. Better Things – Give The People What They Want. Sappy but terrific.
5. David Watts – Something Else. More inspired back-up vocals.
6. Days – Village Green Preservation Society (single). More inspired sentimentality.
7. Sunny Afternoon – Face to Face. I heard he wrote this in twenty minutes.
8. Apeman – Lola vs The Powerman and the Moneygoround, pt. 1. I can’t think of any other band that pulled off the mean/silly combination so well so often.
9. Celluloid Heroes – Everybody’s in Showbiz. Why do people sing about Rudolph Valentino so much? Who was he?
Posted by John Zahl at 1:14 AM