Album no. 110/1001
If you thought Something Else didn’t have enough songs about people’s lives in postwar industrial England, look no further! The Kinks are back.
This is one of the old ‘critically acclaimed but commercially ignored’ albums. Although it’s often cited as one of the Kinks best albums, it struggled for sales and failed to chart on release. The Kinks returned to commercial success eventually, but it certainly wasn’t with this album.
Have you listened to this album before?
NK: I have, I quite like this album. I think it’s probably the best Kinks album that’s been on this list so far.
CL: Well there have certainly been enough to choose from. This is the FOURTH album from these blokes on this list, and I’m not holding out much hope.
NK: I think it’s probably the title track. It’s funny and sad and weird. ‘We are the Sherlock Holmes English-speaking vernacular’ is one of my favourite lyrics. I like ‘Last of the Steam-Powered Trains’ as well. The first half of this album is much stronger than the second.
CL: There isn’t one. I have had enough.
When would be the best time to listen to this?
NK: This is essentially pure nostalgia, so if you’d like to hear somebody sing about the way things were different when they were young, this is the album for you.
Why has this album been included on the list?
NK: I think at least partly it’s the way they were going in a completely different direction from everybody else. The other British invasion bands have moved on to different sounds (see Sgt Peppers and Beggar’s Banquet) and the psychedelic mob are going off the rails. The Kinks doubled down on their thing, cranking out this album which didn’t sound wildly different to their previous efforts, but had even more of an English theme running through it.
CL: Can someone please explain to me the big deal about these guys? The more albums that appear on this list, the more I’m coming to dislike The Kinks.
NK: It is hard to think of this as particularly groundbreaking or exciting. This was released on the same day as The Beatles put out the White Album.
Will you be listening again?
NK: Might get around to it. There are less good songs on this than I was expecting to be honest.
Listen to The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.