by Yonah Paley
I have a confession to make. The Kinks are my favorite band ever, by a long-shot. They have always been able to tap into the roots of humanity: emotions, feelings, dreams, personal struggles, and class. Lead singer/songwriter Ray Davies is an astute storyteller, because he knows how to paint a perfect mental picture. The actions and motivations of his characters are not overly simplistic; they are affected by the world, and others around them. He is a consistent champion of the working class, the financially insecure, and the abandoned. In many ways, Davies is the ultimate introvert. He rarely writes about his own feelings; instead, he projects empathy and philosophy into the lives of others. I wholeheartedly agree with Pete Townshend of the Who, who said, “...Ray Davies should one day be Poet Laureate.”
Ray’s brother, Dave, is another indispensable member of the band. His writing credits may be fewer than that of Ray’s, but they are still phenomenal. Dave Davies’ guitar work is as good as it is groundbreaking. He brings an extroverted, hard edge to the Kinks, and makes them a “rock” band. Additionally, the brothers’ opposite personalities, often a point of contention between the two, helps keep their egos in check.
What is about to follow is the greatest five-album streak in contemporary musical history (six albums, if you discount Percy and skip straight to Muswell Hillbillies). In deference to the greatness of these albums, there will be no "Favorite tracks" listed. There are simply too many of them.
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