Something Else – The Kinks (1967)

“If you were an average American pop consumer in 1967, you very likely had a confused impression of the Kinks. If what you knew were the hits you heard on Top 40 radio, you knew them as prophets of the power chord, or by contrast wry social satirists. There was even ‘Tired of Waiting,’ a softly undulating plaint that could plausibly have worn a Motown arrangement. The Kinks were one of those British moptop bands, but unlike the Beatles or the Rolling Stones, they seemed to lack a clear narrative. There were several reasons for this. You couldn’t hear album cuts without actually buying the thing yourself. Many songs, released as singles, tanked before you got a chance to hear them. The British still liked EPs—box-office poison in the States—and Americans favored shorter LPs, so the Kinks’ U.S. albums were randomly-sequenced jumbles of songs from different British platters. And then, crucially, in mid-1965, the Kinks were banned from touring for four years by the American Federation of Musicians, following a brawl on the set of Dick Clark’s ‘Where the Action Is.’ Would the great picture of the Kinks have been clearer if you had had a chance to hear the raga-drone ‘See My Friends‘? Or ‘Stop Your Sobbing,’ hidden deep inside their first album and ignored by all until Chrissie Hynde (onetime Ray Davies paramour) scored a hit with her cover 15 years later? Or the potentially groundbreaking ‘I’m Not Like Everybody Else,’ which got its first American release seven years after it was recorded? Well, yes, actually. For one thing, you might have noticed that lead singer and chief songwriter Ray Davies was establishing himself as a sensibility—an auteur—at a time when the Beatles were still addressing themselves to teenagers and the Rolling Stones still working their way through the Chess back catalog. Ray could and did address teenagers, but he primarily dwelt in an adult world, so adult that it comprised the dead past as well as the drab present. He addressed potentially everybody (at least everybody in the United Kingdom; he made no concession to American listeners and their points of reference). He was sometimes taken to task for condescension to his subjects, but although he could stiffly upbraid a well-respected man, he clearly felt deep sympathy and compassion for the woman who bought a hat like Princess Marina, and the tenants on Dead End Street, and the little mortgage-holder of Shangri-La, which might not be much but at least has indoor plumbing. …”
W – Something Else by The Kinks
From the Record Crate: The Kinks – “Something Else by The Kinks” (Video)
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