Score: 50 stars
“We’re not referencing Lord of the Rings, Everyone’s going to hate this.”
The band that is often remembered for doing the right thing at the wrong time is at it again on 1971’s Muswell Hillbillies. Nuclear warfare, diet fads, mental fragility, and the preposterousness of modern life are all topics broached that are still as relevant today as they were back in ‘71. The Kinks, regarded as the most British of the British bands of the English Invasion decided to take their unique take on English life and filter it though the prism of early 20th century american roots music. The results are inspiring, the sales were not. Like most of the Kinks work, it has been embraced more fondly in modern times and for good reason. It’s intelligent, challenging, witty, paranoid and most importantly it transcends generations due to it being grounded in theme’s that any person could relate to. This is the zenith of Ray Davies and company’s recording career.
Fun Fact: An early incarnation of the Kinks called the Ray Davies Quartet, featured Rod Stewart as lead singer. They really dodged a bullet there.
Lyrical Snippet: ”All life we work but work is a bore, If life’s for livin’ what’s livin’ for?”
Standout Tracks: 20th Century Man, Holiday, Complicated Life, Here Come the People in Grey, Holloway Jail. Oklahoma U.S.A., Muswell Hillbilly