Number 231 on the Rolling Stone's 500
Coming from a criminally underrated band, The Kink Kronikles is ground zero for anyone just getting into The Kinks. This double album is not a greatest hits collection, and with that said you wonít find You Really Got Me or All Day and All the Night blazing through your speaker. All of the material here is from their golden era of 1966-1971. Around the time of releasing the album Face to Face the Kinks had a definitive change in direction, abandoning their trademark distorted guitar sound for a more melodic complex direction. The result is some of the best music to ever come out of the 60ss era. I actually prefer The Kinks to The Beatles and this album is a prime example for my case.
Most of this review will be me coming across fond times and memories from listening to this album. The feeling from this album is different for each person who listens to it because the songs have a certain power to make you feel nostalgic about something. My favorite albums are like this because itís not just a collection of songs, itís more of an experience with certain ups and downs that forms an overall balance. Enough of my ranting to the review
Things start strong with Victoria, a great rock song to kick things off. I would call it the God Save the Queen of the 60s with its great mock lyrics about royalty. The next song is The Village Green Preservation Society based on an imaginary place where nostalgic memories of fields and simple people are reality. The album it was on is a notable cult classic. I always love The Kinks lyrics and the next two songs Berkeley Mews and Holiday in Waikiki are among my favorite Kinks lines
ďI staggered through your ****ty dining roomĒ Ė From Berkeley Mews
That line always makes me so happy because itís so unexpected with this being an old fashioned pub sing along. Itís a real mood lifter.
ďI didnít realize it was commercialized when I unpacked my cases,
Because a genuine Hawaii ukulele cost me 30 guineas,
And even when Iím swimming I have to payĒ Ė From Holiday in Waikiki
And again The Kinks surprise me with line. Itís even more impressive because this song was released is in the mid 60s. Overall a fun mock of the typical Hawaiian song.
Things move along nicely until track seven, Waterloo Sunset. Youíve probably heard this on the oldie station and to great reason; this song is a pop masterpiece. It still gives me goosebumps. The story behind this song is that Ray Davies woke up singing this song in sleep just like frank Sinatra. This song went to number #1 and could just be my favorite song on the record.
Many of the next songs coming up bring back great memories. I remember waking up my parentís in the middle of the night playing Dead End Street. I couldnít help cranking it up due to its catchy shooting. Thereís also the magnificent Shangri-La, in which I always repeat to hear that funky funky bridge part. Whenever I hear a crashing down funky bridge I instantly declare it a Shangri-La moment.
Side one finishes up with Autumn Almanac an insanely fun sing along song. Sunny Afternoon, which has a mellow feeling similar to California Dreamin. Next is Get Back in Line, a song about living on welfare and lastly Did You See His Name with a childish organ line and lyrics about suicide.
Fancy begins with the beginning of side two. It continues on the eastern trend The Kinks started with See My Friends. Another note worthy song. The beginning of side two may just be the funniest part of the record with Wonderboy, Apeman, Kink Kong, and Mr. Pleasant. Again The Kinks display some humorous clever lyrics. This line in Apeman always stands out ďCause only time I feel at ease is swinging up and down in a coconut tree. Itís quite the funny relaxing song. Mr. Pleasant is also a great song, it was my favorite song not to long ago, and Iíve always the love the piano line and great story.
After Mr. Pleasant is Godís Children, I donít really care for this song, I would have preferred a different song like Tin Soldier Man or Do You Remember Walter" which would have fit the mood better. The low brought down by Godís children is quickly forgotten with Death of a Clown and Lola, two huge hits. Youíve probably heard Lola before itís a staple on many oldies compilations, which is great because itís about falling in love with a transvestite.
The last six songs live up to the great pop standard left by the rest of the album, Things are still surprising interesting after 22 tracks thanks to the diversity of previous songs. Some of these songs have only just grown on me like Big Black Smoke and Susannahís Still Alive which was rather surprising to me. Sheís Got Everything is worth mention as it captures the fun and catchiness of the previous Berkeley Mews and Days is an overall great closer to a masterpiece album that is called The Kink Kronikles.
Your first listen may be a bit overwhelming since the change firm style and sound in those five years is awe inspiring form the pub sing along of Berkeley Mews to the garage sound on Kink Kong I never go through listening to this album without cracking a smile. Some of my all time favorite songs are here as well; ShangriĖLa is a great example. I always get moved by the lyrics of the middle class man living in a neighborhood where things just arenít as you thought they would be
So If you like Classic Rock or British Invasion I would highly recommend this album. Some people have called The Kinks the medium between The Beatles and The Who and I think thatís a pretty good description. The only other thing I have to add is this should be much much higher on the Rolling Stones 500 list.