Friday, March 14, 2008

Quick Hits with the Kinks

The 1960’s were a long time ago, but the music that emerged from this era has proven to be some of the most timeless and cherished in American history. With respect to music, the decade is usually reflected upon in the context of the psychedelic explosion of 1967.

Granted psychedelic rock has indeed had an incredible impact on popular music,
its seductive allure, revolutionary nature, and association with the hippie counterculture have produced a situation in which today, as college students 40 years removed from the decade, we are sometimes predisposed to ignoring the great bands that emerged earlier, out of the British Invasion.

Coupled with this admittedly modest influence we face the reality that, aside from the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, few of these bands lasted long enough to compel our generation to explore them. Most are, now, either too obscure or too dated to attract our attention. But there was one group that, in a stroke of injustice, never really made into our hearts—the Kinks. Outside of the song “Lola” and a small handful of others, Americans, especially young people today, are surprisingly unfamiliar with the group, despite their enormous impact on music. This article will serve as a primer for those interested in their music, which would, ideally, be all of you.

Instead of boring you with biographical tidbits, as those of you who get into them enough will surely track down that info on your own (and I know a lot of us would much rather cut right to the tunes), I will present you with a selection of songs, organized loosely by “feel,” that will whet your appetite. (Please note that I’m limiting their career, as nothing included here has a release date later than 1971. The Kinks continued on through the 1990’s and still make occasional appearances even now. That said, their later stuff is all garbage and doesn’t deserve your attention.) Also, for any of you out there who may value my opinion, I’ve asterisked my personal faves.

Songs with a rebellious swagger:
“You’ve Really Got Me” | Listen

“All Day and All of the Night”* | Listen

Straight-up classic rock:

“Lola” | Listen
“Apeman”* | Listen

Quirky tunes that make you ask, “Are you sure this isn’t some indie band I don’t know about yet?”
“Denmark Street”*
“Australia” | Listen (some kid's Tennis video, with song as background)
“Yes Sir, No Sir”*
“A Well Respected Man” | Listen

Songs for contemplative moods:
“Waterloo Sunset”* | Listen
“Strangers” | Listen (from Rushmore)
“Get Back in the Line”

Happy day songs:
“Picture Book”* | Listen
“The Village Green Preservation Society” | Listen

As you’ll see, the Kinks are a quirky group; the fact that they are featured so frequently in Wes Anderson films is definitely proof of that. However, unlike a lot of indie groups today, they resist the temptation to pursue quirkiness for its own sake. Approach with an open mind, and a slightly anglophilic attitude and all should go swimmingly.



Kate said...

"A Well Respected Man" is on the Juno Soundtrack, too

Kate said...

oh, you were just referencing the the youtube vid.

hope you are having a stellar time in montana!

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