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The Village Green Preservation Society

The Kinks

1968

The Village Green Preservation Society

Album Summary

The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society is the sixth studio album by the English rock band the Kinks. It was released on 22 November 1968 in the United Kingdom by Pye Records and in February 1969 in the United States by Reprise Records. A commercial failure on release, it was the band's first studio album which failed to chart in either country, but was lauded by contemporary critics for its songwriting. It was embraced by America's new underground rock press, completing the Kinks' transformation from mid-1960s pop hitmakers to critically favoured cult band. Bandleader Ray Davies loosely conceptualised the album as a collection of character studies, an idea he based on Dylan Thomas's 1954 radio drama Under Milk Wood. It thematically reflects Davies' concerns about the increasing modernisation and encroaching influence of America and Europe on English society, centring around notions of nostalgia, memory and preservation. Other than "Village Green", which was recorded in November 1966 and then re-recorded in February 1967, sessions began in March 1968 at Pye Studios in London. The sessions produced numerous recordings, including the non-album singles "Wonderboy" and "Days", while others went unreleased for years. Incorporating a range of stylistic influences, including music hall, folk pop and baroque pop, the album was the first which Davies produced entirely on his own and was the last to feature the original Kinks line-up, as bassist Pete Quaife departed the band in March 1969. It also marked the final collaboration between the Kinks and session keyboardist Nicky Hopkins, whose playing features heavily on piano, harpsichord and Mellotron. The album's planned September 1968 release was delayed by two months after Davies' last-minute decision to rearrange and augment the tracklist. Village Green is regarded by commentators as an early concept album. Despite its initial commercial failure, it has influenced numerous musical acts, including Pete Townshend of the Who, Paul Weller, the Jam, Electric Light Orchestra, Blur, Oasis, Yo La Tengo, Green Day and Ultimate Painting. The album experienced a critical and commercial resurgence in the 1990s, driven in part by its major impact on indie rock acts, and it has been reissued several times, including an expanded edition in 2018. In the UK it was certified silver for reaching 60,000 sales in 2008 and gold for reaching 100,000 in 2018. It has been included in several critics' and listeners' polls for the best albums of all time, including those published by Rolling Stone magazine and in the book All Time Top 1000 Albums.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.43

Votes

5925

Genres

  • Rock
  • Pop
Reviews
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Fri Sep 18 2020
5

I adore traditional pop songwriting so it's really a no-brainer. It's like Rubber Soul x Sgt. Pepper's and all of the lyrics sound like In My Life.

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Wed Jan 12 2022
5

Considered a flop at time of release, this is basically a more upbeat Belle & Sebastian album. It's great.

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Mon May 03 2021
5

This album is so imaginative and so wildly different than what the rest of the British Invasion survivors were putting out, and I love every minute of it. Ray Davies loves hyperbolic irony and took great pleasure in skewering British imperialism and culture, but all the while using English colloquialism and flipping things on their head. Other than "All of My Friends Were There", this is a desert island disc. Fav Tracks: Big Sky, Starstruck, Monica, Picture Book and The Last of the Steam-Powered Train

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Wed Jul 14 2021
3

Nothing to hate here. Very solid representation of a time and place. There's some ... we'll call it "experimental" engineering choices on this album that didn't exactly work out all that great but, overall, it's a chill, fun, 60s britrock album.

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Mon Sep 20 2021
2

I just...can't. It just doesn't work in my brain.

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Wed Feb 03 2021
5

This album made me want to listen to The Kinks more. The only thing I didn't like about this album is that some of the songs weren't particularly memorable but there aren't any songs that I would say are bad. This album also features a lot of interesting composition and chord progressions that are fairly unique and recognizable (like Johnny Thunder for example). The whole album describes a happy, ignorat upper-middle class lifestyle in a way that is at times satirical. Phenominal Cat is a song about a fat cat and honestly Andre Lloyd Webber wishes he could have written something as good as this. The only part of this album that I dislike is the verse of All of My Friends Were There because it feels a little too cheesy. Wicked Anabella reminds me of Maxwell's Silver Hammer in that it's a 60s song about an evil person and it SLAPS. Pictures of Each Other seems even more relevant today with lyrics such as "People take pictures of each other, just to prove that they really existed." I think The Kinks roasted Instagram 42 years before it existed. Favorite songs: Picture Book, Last of the Steam-Power Trains, Sitting By the Riverside, Animal Farm, Village Green, Phenomenal Cat, Wicked Annabella, People Take Pictures of Each Other Least Favorite Song: All of My Friends Were There Light 9/10

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Fri Oct 01 2021
5

An early concept album, on the notion of an Englishness that even in 68 was already gone... If it ever existed. Packed with different genres from music hall to psychedelia but always sounds like The Kinks. Elements which would influence ELO, early Bowie, Pink Floyd...

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Thu Jan 21 2021
5

Great! Funny and interesting songs. Up there with some of the most legendary beatles albums from that time.

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Fri Jan 15 2021
5

underground beatles. a little goofy but also very standard. instrumentation standard. Opening track is great. more substance than majority of beatles songs. beatles for the hipster in your life. Adding this to a list of albums I would return to.

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Mon May 03 2021
5

I love this album, front-to-back. It's the Kinks at their most self-consciously uncool. The backwards-looking approach gives it a unique place in the 60s pantheon. The sidestep from psychadelia, prog, and heavier rock coming into vogue pre-sages decades of power pop to follow. While, in some senses, the Kinks music would become more vaudeville and theatrical in years to follow, this concept record hits a sweet spot of thematic consistency, playfulness, and exquisitely melodic songwriting. Favourite songs: Picture Book, Starstruck, Monica

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Tue May 11 2021
5

God shit

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Tue May 18 2021
5

I listened to the opening track like 7 times, I cannot believe how catchy it was. The whole album was a fun time, and it was among one of my favorite ones I have listened to so far. HELL YEAH VILLAGE GREEN PRESERVATION SOCIETY.

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Thu Jan 13 2022
5

Quintessentially English. Top notch!

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Mon Jan 17 2022
5

Well, I just spent all morning discovering the Kinks and their long history through decades and genres. I hope there are more of their albums on this list. A 5.

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Tue Mar 08 2022
5

the greatest album EVER

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Mon Jun 06 2022
5

I LOVE THE KINKS!!!!!!!!!!!

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Tue Aug 24 2021
4

The best way in which I can describe the Kinks is that they sound like the Beatles, but happier. The best way in which I can describe "The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society" is that it has perfect mixing (how can a 50+ year album sound this bloody good?) beautiful harmonies and a delightfully gleeful sense of nostalgia. Ray Davies refers to this record as as an affectionate acknowledgement of his culture, a statement on changes in life and memories that remain, and the search for new things to give meaning and enjoyment to living. In my case, I think the Kinks got it just right. 4/5.

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Mon Dec 20 2021
4

The Kinks are really underrated in my opinion. Sure, they have a couple of mega-hits but if you delve deeper into their catalog they have a bunch of super catchy, iconic songs that no one seems to have noticed. Picture Book is a great example - I only became aware of it because it was used in a commercial awhile back. What an awesome song! Great album all around. 4 stars.

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Thu Jan 07 2021
3

lite intetsägande men lite kul att lyssna på ändå. tvåa eller trea.

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Thu Mar 25 2021
3

I know the Kinks for the hits, but I don't know this album, and it doesn't have any of the big hits. But it's still solid musically, hard to fault. Pretty standard '60s rock, but nothing special really. Favorite tracks: Village Green Preservation Society, Big Sky, Picture Book. Album art: Cool band photo, love the swirly neon colors. Title is a mouthful though. 3.5/5

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Fri Apr 02 2021
3

I was running errands the first time I listened to this & thought it stunk - unfocused quasi psychedelic folk with sophomoric lyrics. But then I heard the third-last song, Wicked Annabella, & I thought that Spotify had moved me to a 90s playlist, so I decided to give it another try. I like the Village Green track - I'm sure I can hear a harpischord in there somewhere and the other tracks now fall into place, though at times they sound a bit like a jug band. It's hard to believe this came out 4 years after You Really Got Me! I appreciate the fact that Davies didn't sucumb to pressure to produce another hit and stuck to the obscure.

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Tue Jun 29 2021
3

Je ne me souviens plus de l'album alors je vais vous raconter ma journée. Vers 9h, je sors de mon lit et vais prendre mon café. Une fois mes mails du jour attentivement lus, je décide d'annoncer à la personne qui m'avait fait passer un entretien vendredi dernier que j'ai finalement accepté une autre offre que la sienne, tout en lui souhaitant de trouver le candidat qu'elle recherche. S'ensuit un black out de 25 heures et un état de conscience repris à l'instant. Affaire à suivre.

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Tue Mar 16 2021
5

i love this

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Tue Dec 29 2020
5

A favourite Kinks album with some classic songs

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Mon Dec 07 2020
5

YES love this one already

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Tue Nov 03 2020
5

Extremely influential

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Thu Jun 24 2021
5

Some rhythms and melodies in here that I know exist elsewhere

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Fri Feb 19 2021
5

5 Punkte, da eins meiner all time lieblingslieder drauf ist.

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Thu Mar 04 2021
5

This album was great. I love Picture Book, great song.

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Mon Feb 15 2021
5

Outstanding.

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Mon Jan 25 2021
5

9/10

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Sat Mar 13 2021
5

Loved it

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Thu Feb 18 2021
5

Pop sixtie y experimentación en un disco conceptual precioso y nostálgico. Canciones cortas y brillantes. Muy bonito, no tiene que envidiar nada a Beatles ni Rolling.

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Tue Mar 30 2021
5

Songs are nice and short, so we're off to a good start. No songs stick out as obvious singles. But overall really good. I actually started listening again after it ended.

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Fri Mar 12 2021
5

Я люблю такое

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Tue Jun 08 2021
5

Ooh goede zomer vibe i like it Animal farm hype

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Mon May 10 2021
5

Arguably the best Kinks record.

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Wed Jul 07 2021
5

modern b

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Tue Sep 28 2021
5

Really like this album. I'm familiar with the usual Kinks songs but had never heard any of the songs on this album. I keep listening to the title track over and over again. It's got a Lewis Carroll feel to it. The whole album is amazing though start to finish. There are a few silly songs on the album but they don't really distract from the whole and even those have some parts that are really good.

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Thu Sep 30 2021
5

Wonderful record. Hadn’t realised that it was so ignored initially. “…Walter” a standout track for me.

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Thu Sep 30 2021
5

5 of 1,001. First time listening, but loved this. Lots of great moments. Will listen to this again.

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Mon Oct 04 2021
5

I absolutely love the Kinks, and this is a classic. Picture Book is the standout tune for me, absolutely wonderful.

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Thu Nov 11 2021
5

Picture Book direct inspo for MD's Salad Days

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Mon Nov 22 2021
5

There are some great sounds coming out of this one. There are timeless hooks and builds that have influenced countless bands. Not to mention consumers. Some songs, or portions of them are ubiquitous in film scores (Darjeeling Limited) and commercials. 'Picture Book' was played in an HP Commercial that played incessantly in the early 2000's. Also the intro from 'Steam-Powered Trains' is used in either some Dick Pills, or Valtrex / STD-type commercials. And why not? With lines like "I'm the last of the good old renegades, all my friends are middle-class and gray" and "last of the good choo-choo trains" big pharma was obviously looking to connect with old dudes looking to plow twenty year-olds. The selection only makes sense. Anyhow, I really love the sound of this album. It's ragged, garage-y and crusty, yet loosely unified in all the right spots... perfect for old dudes. This is The Kinks that I know and love.

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Tue Nov 30 2021
5

This sounds like something the Beatles could've put out. Very experimental songwriting and rock solid execution. This might be my favorite Kinks album.

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Fri Dec 24 2021
5

I had never heard this album, but I think I will listen to it and see if it hopes up to Soap Opera

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Tue Dec 28 2021
5

Loved it

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Thu Jan 13 2022
5

The Kinks have a ton of hits. I can probably name 15 off the top of my head, the majority of them perfect pop songs. And there isn't a single one of those gems on this album. In fact, unless you're related to the Davies or you happen to be Wes Anderson, you likely haven't heard any song from this album. It doesn't matter. This album is fucking great. I loved every minute of it, and I'm almost embarrassed that it took this long to finally get around to hearing it. This is a million times better than all the Byrds albums we've had to listen to here. We should probably talk about Ray and Dave Davies more than we do, or at least more than the press we give to the freaking Gallagher Brothers.

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Tue Feb 08 2022
5

Love The Kinks. Perfection.

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Tue Feb 22 2022
5

From the title and album cover down, you may think that this is The Kinks at their most San Francisco in 1967 and you wouldn't be blamed. You also wouldn't be blamed if you think this is The Kinks at their absolute finest. One listen to the title track and you are transported into a time when things were simple and not even that description does this album justice. The Kinks' greatest forty minutes and forty minutes well spent.

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Tue Mar 01 2022
5

FIVE STARS An all-time classic and a personal favorite of mine. As is usually the case with those five-stars albums, I won't write a full-blown review about this particular record, because others have already written wonderful stuff about it and there's not much I can add that I feel could be relevant and interesting. It's just a gem. Go and listen to it a.s.a.p. Number of albums left to review or just listen to: 963 Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory listens: 16 (including this one) Albums from the list I *might* include in mine later on: 8 Albums from the list I will *not* include in mine (as I think many others are more important): 12 Albums I might not be able to judge (some might end up on my final list but it's because I recognize how culturally important they are): 2

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Mon Mar 07 2022
5

Wantlist

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Fri Dec 03 2021
5

Favorite Kinks album, just a great album.

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Thu Apr 14 2022
5

I love this album... Ray Davies at his whimsical best. happy it was the last one I got to listen to in Australia.

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Fri Apr 15 2022
5

Love the Kinks and I believe this is their best album. Their true masterpiece.

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Sat Apr 16 2022
5

As English as the queen of englands proverbials! This is classic songwriting!

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Wed Apr 27 2022
5

Instant 5 for "The Last of the Stream-Powered Trains" - T/E should not be surprised

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Sat Apr 30 2022
5

Listened to this one twice---mono first then stereo and really liked it both times. I think I like the mono mix better but the stereo version is better quality sound. I previously avoided The Kinks b/c of only having access to deluxe/super deluxe/expanded versions; makes for annoying last.fm scrobbles and I don't like having to look up what the original album included and then have save a playlist to avoid the extra, unneeded tracks later. Anyway, I really liked People Take Pictures of Each Other and Big Sky, which has been in my head all weekend. I think I like this as much as my previous favorite Kinks, Muswell Hillbillies.

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Thu May 05 2022
5

Well, 'Starstruck' and the weird, slightly unsettling 'Monica' are two of my favourite Kinks tracks; whilst 'Picture Book' is one of my favourite pop songs, full stop. Just those three songs alone warrant five stars. But you know what? The rest is a joy too - charming, ambitious and seemingly unfettered by received notions of what rock music should treat as its subject matter. Very British, wry, observant and rather lovely.

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Sat May 07 2022
5

Just such evocative music, really speaks to Britain in a specific way no other album really does. 4.7

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Sat Jun 11 2022
5

One of my favorite concept albums. Whereas Sgt. Pepper's contrasted a drab reality with an escape into psychedelia, Village Green escapes into a nostalgia for the past - and stays more grounded in doing so. It has a more consistent and even keeled tone. Okay, it does become a bit unraveled at the end, with the oddness of "Phenomenal Cat" and the jerky but dreamlike "All Of My Friends Were There." Other than that though, this album flows like The River Thames. These songs seem to come from a very real and direct place. The product of honest self reflection. It amazes me that Ray Davies was only 24 years old at the time of recording this album. He was able to articulate the wisdom and perspective of someone well beyond his years. An underrated classic that stands the rest of time.

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Sat Jun 11 2022
5

Their sound is so freaking delicious. Love the concept thread format.

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Wed Jun 29 2022
5

Easy listening on the train ride home

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Sun Jul 03 2022
5

Such a lovely sweet little album, brings a slight sweet smile to my face. Not unlike a Bill Forsyth movie with sweet characters that are creatively and vividly captured within the grooves of this album. Some might say it's too light-weight where are those Kink rockers? Personally I don't miss them one but. Ray Davies has always written gorgeous melodies and lyrics and to my ear the arrangements for these songs are absolutely perfect. 5 stars.

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Sun Jul 03 2022
5

All time classic.

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Mon Jul 04 2022
5

love it, listen to it frequently, not a bad song on it and many top tunes including two or three of their best. wonderful album

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Mon Jul 18 2022
5

It probably does sound a little dated nowadays but this is one of my favourite albums. It's chock full of well crafted songs with plenty of variety yet it holds together really well. I love the punchy production which makes it a little less whimsical than the preceding 'Something Else' album. The lyrics tell imaginary tales from a Ray Davies fantasy land. Diverse fables and characters about childhood, old school friends, old photographs, wicked witches, the pleasures of idleness, god, prostitutes, 1984, cartoon characters, village fetes. To top it off there's some fabulous vocals and instrumental arrangements. Personal favorites include 'Do You Remember Walter', 'Picture Book', 'Phenomenal Cat' and 'Monica' but pretty much every track is a winner. The only (minor) quibble is the lack of a well know "classic" - it's a shame 'Days' was not on the UK edition.

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Fri Jul 22 2022
5

Beautifully complex classic piece of literature detailing the wants of preservationalists in the 70s great highlights all around can't think of anything wrong with it... for the first listen I'm confident in giving it a 9.9/10

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Tue Aug 02 2022
5

Title track tells you what this album is: a memory project, a sonic collage of a time and place. I think that time is both relative (it's the childhood of The Kinks' band members) and also definite (England after the Second World War). The past often feels like an innocent time of untouched pleasures but we know it's an illusion. Things are hidden from children that they can only see with adult eyes. After the War, the Empire was crumbling and a century of unrest was nowhere near over. Of course when you're experiencing childhood and innocence, you're not conscious of it. You turn it into story and song later, in memory, with the benefit of adult hindsight. The tone of a project like that is what The Kinks get right. The songs are not exactly cheerful but have jingly mostly-major-key melodies that often introduce a note of uncertainty or irresolution. The ascending scale in Picture Book over the chorus is a good example of this. Ditto the very end of Sitting by the Riverside where the keys suddenly become uncanny for just a bit and upset the romantic fantasy before the last refrain comes in. The songs are fairly simple pop ballads, almost reminiscent of nursery songs, if you read them straight. But I think most, given the combination of lyrics and melody, are knowingly ironic. This can be a jaded and bitter irony: "You're taken in by the lights, think you'll never look back..." Or more reflective: "People take pictures of each other, and the moment can last them forever, of the time when they mattered to someone..." Sometimes it becomes comically self-consoling out of necessity: "I went to that old cafe where I had been in much happier days, and all of my friends were there..." You need to really listen to hear those hidden notes. I think the comparison to The Beatles is fair and some of the songs can be a little tedious. But it's just a bit more claustrophobic and sad because it isn't committed to being a transcendent experience like Sgt. Pepper. These songs are committed to making you uncomfortable rather than giving you a good time. It makes me want to listen to them again and again to detect their deceptive nuances.

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Tue Aug 02 2022
5

Such a pleasurable album. Everything feels just right. The songs are all catchy (in a way that's not corny), the arrangement is engaging, fun and organic throughout--I particularly love the spare but well-chosen use of guitars––and the lyrics are witty and biting but never too cynical either. I love it.

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Mon Aug 15 2022
5

I feel pure joy when I listen to the kinks. They are really great at making catchy songs that are also deceptively intricate. Almost none of their songs are simple 4 chord songs like every pop song today. Their songs often change keys or have interesting chord progressions; it’s pop perfection but it’s substantial enough to keep me interested. I love their vocal harmony sound (Their following album is better than this one)

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Tue Aug 23 2022
5

It's really good, enjoyed it.

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Wed Aug 24 2022
5

Absolutely classic, if you haven’t heard this you’ve been missing out

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Thu Sep 08 2022
5

What a great album!

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Sun Sep 11 2022
5

A beautiful album from The Kinks, full of nostalgia and longing for a rural England that perhaps never quite existed. Ray could always write a gorgeous melody and Dave and the band could bring it to vibrant life.

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Tue Sep 13 2022
5

Great!

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Tue Sep 13 2022
5

More recognizable songs. Beetles-esque sound

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Thu Oct 06 2022
5

This is bloody brilliant. For me it doesn’t have any standout hits, it’s just back to back gems. Masterpiece. Listening to this only makes me wish I could’ve also rated Something Else 5* too. Great album

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Fri Oct 07 2022
5

Absolutely glorious, The Kinks are such a blast! Fave track - the title track is great, but "People Take Pictures of Each Other" is even better - long been one of my fave Kinks tunes. If we're including tracks recorded in the same session but inexplicably omitted from the album, then "Days" should get a mention too, as it's utterly halcyon, even if it has been co-opted by advertising with a vengeance....

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Tue Oct 18 2022
5

Our fourth album by The Kinks and their best one for me so far. I rated the other ones 4 stars - but this one is a cut above them in terms of songwriting and musicianship. Still super close to The Beatles, but to The Beatles at their best.

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Thu Oct 27 2022
5

I really loved The Kink’s fourth studio album from a few years before this (Face to Face), so I had high hopes for this. To my great surprise, this far exceeded my high hopes! Every song on this appeals to me. This album is quirky, musically varied, and overflows fun! I wasn’t exposed to a lot of The Kinks growing up, but I’m glad to be making up some of that lost time now. I’m becoming quite a fan of The Kinks.

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Thu Oct 27 2022
5

Clever and funny and good-hearted. The Kinks can play for me any day. And talk about rhymes: Consortium - awarded them, vernacular - Dracula, affiliates - and billiards. God save Donald Duck, vaudeville, and variety!

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Thu Oct 27 2022
5

Totally groovy! I think that I need to expand my familiarity of The Kinks. This 60s rock sounds sweet to me.

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Thu Oct 27 2022
5

I really enjoyed and appreciated this delightful album. It’s warmly nostalgic and so much fun to listen to.

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Sat Oct 29 2022
5

9/10. I do love a good concept album, though I do think the concept of this one started to wear a little thin, since you can only sing for so long about how you miss the good old days, especially if you're only going to present an idealized picture of said good old days. Still, I quite liked most of the songs, and pastoral poetry is perennially pleasant, so a high score all in all.

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Mon Oct 31 2022
5

I had never heard this album before, but it is really, really good. Strong instrumentals and harmonies, catchy toons, excellent lyrics. I was really impressed.

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Sat Nov 19 2022
5

cool

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Wed Nov 23 2022
5

Loved this!

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Wed Nov 23 2022
5

I thoroughly enjoyed this bouncy classic. Smart, pop-y bangers.

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Mon Nov 28 2022
5

Pretty much perfect. Big Sky gets me through those days when the world seems against you.

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Mon Dec 05 2022
5

Classic British music.

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Wed Dec 14 2022
5

*chef's kiss*

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Thu Dec 15 2022
5

I loved this album! So kooky and psychedelic and fun.

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Sun Dec 25 2022
5

9/10, great album

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Mon Dec 26 2022
5

Great.

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Tue Dec 27 2022
5

Classic Brit 60s rock

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Mon Dec 14 2020
4

Great concept album.

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Mon Oct 12 2020
4

9/10 this is another one of em albums where i dont have much to say about it. just a really good nostalgic time. writing this mid day instead of night like usual so im not nearly as rambly. maybe thats the secret ingredient???????/ good to finally get another older album btw

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Tue Dec 15 2020
4

6.5-7/10

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Tue Dec 22 2020
4

What an absolute delight of a pop record. I want to somehow play the songs on the violin. I want to listen again and see if I think it's a little better or a lot worse. I want a better master. I want slightly longer songs. I love the song about a cat; Reminded me of The Weakerthans.

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