The Kinks
Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire)


4.0
excellent

Review

by Ephemeral USER (11 Reviews)
April 14th, 2006 | 15 replies | 7,680 views


Release Date: 1969 | Tracklist


3 of 4 thought this review was well written

Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) came out during a rough time for The Kinks. Released in late 1969, it was their first album since the commercial failure of the album 'The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society', and the departure of Peter Quaife, one of the founding members of the band. The album was originally composed by Ray Davies as the soundtrack for a television play, about a character named 'Arthur' is actually based on Davies' brother in law, who had emigrated from England to Australia.

This album is actually a concept album. It is not widely known as one, as it is not usually mentioned in the presence of other concept albums of it's time. The first part of the album is used to describe the England that Arthur once knew. The album is ushered in with the upbeat Victoria. And soon moves onto other songs like Some Mother's Son; a slower song that is about War, and really makes the listener think about the cost of War, and the toll it leaves on family life.

One of the things that The Kinks are famous for, is their use of the power chord. They were one of the pioneering groups to use the power chord and use them to write very catchy riffs. One song that makes good use of this is Brainwashed. It employs a catchy melody and very good guitar work. A lot of the music present on this album would make fans of the Kink's classic 'You Really Got Me' very happy.

Of course, no Kinks album would be complete without seeing the humorous side of the band. Songs like Australia employ quizzical melodies, and others like She's Bought a Hat like Princess Marina use flat out humor. This particular song starts off with very elegant sounding harpsichord. The lyrics then reveal the life styles of several middle class Britains who buy things to make themselves feel like upper class. It's quite comical when you listen to it, but I won't spoil anymore of the lyrics for you, as they are truly funny.

One of the things that I love about the Kinks, is that they are able to play songs that use hard rock like riffs, and then you never really know what the next track will be like. It could be a soft acoustic ballad, a humorous spoof on everyday life, or a track that just generally blows you away. The thing that really hit me about this album, is I have a lot of fun listening to it. It's not often that I have the amount of fun from listening to an album as I do from this one. Usually I will listen to, and like albums because they take me places. With this album, it takes the listener somewhere, and ensures that the listener has fun at the same time. I haven't seen very many albums do this before.

Musically, this album is excellent. Interesting guitar work, great melodies, and a good overall mix of different styles. This album does not only keep the listener satisfied, but also keeps the listener wondering where it will go next. When we look at when this album this released, and what kind of conditions it was recorded in it, it is amazing that it turned out so well.

4/5

The Band:
Ray Davies: Vocals, Guitar
Dave Davies: Guitar, Harmonica, Keyboards, Vocals
John Dalton: Bass Guitar, Background vocals
Mick Avory: Drums
John Gosling: Keyboards



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user ratings (150)
Chart.
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Ephemeral
April 14th 2006



144 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks.

BigTrav415
April 14th 2006



9 Comments


Una trabaja buena, Senor Fwqhqads

I haven't heard any Kinks yet I need some.

temporary
April 14th 2006



207 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review! This album is brilliant, might be the highlite of The Kinks career. Davies wit was never this sharp.

tom79
April 14th 2006



3347 Comments


Good Review. Its good to see some more of The Kinks on the site.

Digging: Bent Outta Shape - Stray Dog Town

Lunch
April 14th 2006



29 Comments


Great review for a great underrated album. The Kinks as a whole are very underappreciated, which is a shame.

I think Village Green and maybe Lola are a tad better than this, but either way all three are outstanding records.

Broken Arrow
April 14th 2006



220 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This used to be my favourite Kinks album not anymore though.

Still awesome.

Zebra
Moderator
April 14th 2006



2647 Comments


The Kins are my dads favorite band, and are one of my favorite pop bands. I don't own this album but I love almost all of their stuff.
Great review.

Woodstock
April 14th 2006



154 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

One of my favorites.


robo2448
April 14th 2006



132 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review.

This used to be my favorite Kinks album but I think Village Green is taking over now. Anyway, the Kinks own.

BlackDeathMetalJazz or really ANYTHING else please-
April 15th 2006



200 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Some Mother's Son" might possibly be the greatest antiwar song ever, the lyrics are breath taking.

This isn't near is good as Village Green but still a great album.

I can see the CR regs have takin over.....

michaelthebrute
June 18th 2006



11 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Excellent album indeed. Favorite song would have to be Shangri-La. Davies at his best.

exxit152
February 15th 2010



6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

maybe its because im a bit of a history nerd, but i love this album. I could lie on the floor and listen to this whole thing straight through.

morte
December 21st 2010



129 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i'm glad i discovered this band cuz this album is fucking awesome, Victoria; "Shangri-la"; "Australia"; "Some Mother's Son" and "Brainwashed" are all great songs.

I also like the lyrics, on certain songs they use irony telling people that everything's okay and on the next track they show the cold truth.

fsharptrit0ne
April 26th 2012



4628 Comments


so damn good

KILL
April 21st 2014



67118 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

shangri la, what a song



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