Sunday, December 21, 2008
Rekonnekting with the Kinks 1: Arthur Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire
As I mentioned in a previous post, I have made up my mind to gradually purchase all or most of the Kinks' CDs in order to rediskover my favorite group.
If they're my favorite group, how, you might ask, did I end up living without them for practically two decades?
Let's just say practical considerations (Do you remember the young and innocent pre-Amazon days?) and life got in the way.
But I'm not one to sit by the fire in my Shangri-la. I can now one-click my way over to the UK and order as many Kinks CDs as I want; I got my first shipment a few weeks back.
I'm determined to take my time and savor every moment of this unstructured rediskovery.
The first album I have listened to repeatedly has been Arthur Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire. I ended up with the Castle edition, which has all sorts of extra tracks, but I'm not going to deal with those.
And I'm not going to attempt a full review, which would be great if I did this for a living, or if this were my only blog, or if anyone other than fans who get Kinks Google alerts were going to read this post...
Instead, I thought I'd have my fun categorizing the songs according to my reactions to them after a nearly twenty-year hiatus, with comments on some of the songs.
Victoria: Between the unexpected lyrics and the infectious melody, this is not just a Kinks masterpiece; it's a rock masterpiece.
Shangri-la: This song will certainly move way up in my Kinks' Top Ten list when this whole re-listening project is over. When Ray Davies sings "But he's too scared to complain, 'cos he's conditioned that way," my heart just breaks.
OTHER GREAT TUNES:
Yes Sir, No Sir
Australia: This song is more intriguing to me since I saw Come Dancing, which picks up on the same theme.
Drivin': Along with Victoria, this is the song that my 17-year-old daughter likes the most on the album.
She's Bought a Hat Like Princess Marina: For the title if for nothing else.
SONGS I QUITE LIKE BUT MAYBE YOU HAVE TO BE A KINKS FAN TO AGREE:
Young and Innocent Days: I always visualize this song; I think it certainly would have worked better in the original Arthur "televised rock opera" concept than it does on the album.
SONGS THAT DON'T QUITE DO IT FOR ME:
Some Mother's Son: I know a lot of fans love this song. To me, it starts out well but doesn't hold its promises, and veers dangerously towards the maudlin.
Nothing to Say: I could say the same thing.
A FORGETTABLE SONG:
Mr. Churchill Says: The category is to be taken in the first degree; I had totally forgotten this song, and may well do so again.
One final comment: Arthur Or... is without a doubt my favorite Kinks' album title.