Review Summary: The sweet sound of pure, unbridled joy.
The Kinks are one of those joyful bands that constantly delivered phenomenal music at a mesmerizing ratio. They are quite simply a one-of-a-kind, brilliant band all-around. During April 1966, they began recording this album, Something Else by The Kinks
, which - while it did churn out two hit singles - didn't sell well at all. For an album that is hailed by Rolling Stone
magazine as one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time
, ranked as #288, the fact that this record didn't pick up the sales that it deserved back in the day is genuinely quite surprising. Thankfully, they kept on pouncing back with one great album after another. But, while The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society
might be more highly regarded as their best album, Something Else
is truly something else entirely.
opens up the album in a weird, but thoroughly rollicking fashion, jumping in with some behind-the-scenes banter, as well as the humorously catchy "fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa"
chants. "Death of a Clown"
follows after and it is definitely the most eerie, utterly haunting track on this record. Pleasant and happy from the on-set, the lyrics soon give this song a chilling atmosphere: "The old fortune teller lies dead on the floor / nobody needs fortunes told any more"
; the sound effect used after the "old fortune teller"
line is absolutely terrifying, but the song retains a joyous tone throughout, bringing to mind a once innocent little track like "Stuck in the Middle"
, forever transformed into something else (courtesy of a certain Tarantino classic). Soon after appears "Two Sisters"
which, at a mere 2 minutes, is the shortest track on the record; the song retains the delightful, yet subtly eerie nature of the first-two tracks, all the while backed by an amazing keyboard performance from Nicky Hopkins.
Keeping up the momentum, "Situation Vacant"
closes out side one with some of the finest instrumental moments on the record. The piano and drum-beats are respectively calming and staggering, most notably during the opening seconds, perfectly indicating the playfully amusing back-and-forth nature between the verses and choruses throughout. "Love Me Till the Sun Shines"
introduces side two in a witty, upbeat fashion, describing a hilariously awkward relationship between man and woman: "You don't have to sleep with me / or rest your head upon my knee / you just have to love me till the sun shines"
. Dave Davies lead vocals on this track, as well as "Death of a Clown"
and "Funny Face"
alike, are outstanding. Furthermore, Pete Quaife really stands out while playing bass guitar here; especially at the beginning, giving "Love Me Till the Sun Shines"
a uniquely epic melody despite the whimsical lyrics on-display throughout.
Quality songs continue to pile up, with tracks such as the aforementioned "Funny Face"
, "End of the Season"
and the endearing "Waterloo Sunset"
closing out this masterful album in spectacular fashion. "Funny Face"
is an odd little song because of Dave's vocal performance during the verses. He often comes across as being completely unrecognisable, that is until he sings lines such as "but what can I do about it"
and "I see you peering through frosted windows"
, which gives the lines that are far more clear than others a subtle, poignant feeling throughout. "End of the Season"
is a perfect song for winter, flawlessly describing the season's dreary nature with the beautiful sound of summer birds chirping in the background. Finally, "Waterloo Sunset"
is a masterpiece that begs to be heard. The vocals by Ray Davies are simply beautiful and the wonderful guitar chords throughout are similar to Blue Swede's one-hit wonder, "Hooked on a Feeling"
, giving this song a bouncy and irresistibly pleasant feel all the way till the end.
Something Else by The Kinks
shoots by in (what feels like) a heartbeat. At close to 37 minutes in length, most of the tracks hardly go over the 3 minute mark; which makes this album extremely easy to dive right into and enjoy. There is not a single dull song within this record. It is purely enjoyable from start-to-finish. This is a charming, masterpiece of an album that deserves to be heard. Songs such as "David Watts"
, "Love Me Till the Sun Shines"
, "Waterloo Sunset"
, and a whole plethora of others are instant classics.