This is something else. No that was the album The Kinks released the year before. On the same day The Beatles released their eponymous album, The Kinks released their greatest and more adventurous, more cohesive and arguably better album “Are The Village Green Preservation Society”.
This explains a lot why this band who hit the States around the same time as their way more popular moptop peers didn’t get noticed by America for their great albums also, for this album is stylistically different and miles ahead of their brilliant and proto-metal killer singles of the early 60’s (you know ’em). Which is probably why it didn’t sell that much and is totally ignored by formulaic, repetitive classic rock stations. Hell, I didn’t hear this album until 1992 and it still gets heavy rotation (or whatever you call playing it on windows media). It’s also the most British album I have ever heard.
Luckily for genius composer Ray Davies, his brother Dave, Mick Avory, and Peter Quaife, record labels let the bands follow their instincts and were able to take risks to make albums like this. The baroque arrangements of the songs gave the feel of high society as the lyrics sardonically mocked it. Ray took no mercy on other songs regarding celebrity worship and voyeurism but took mercy with the underclass in characters he like Johnny Thunder (whose name was adopted by the New York Dolls legendary, incendiary lead guitarist) and people named Walter and Monica. But the true theme of the album is the narrators and characters consternation concerning the rise of industry that is encroaching on and their worries about being disenfranchised and displaced from their Village Green. Which makes this album an early harbinger and dire prophecy of the presence and effects of gentrification that has ossified in this century.
I cannot stress that this album should be in everyone’s collection, even those that don’t care for rock music. To really get into this classic, listen to this after Pet Sounds and Sgt. Peppers which this album is the sonic equivalent of and it’s inclusion in that pantheon will make more sense.
Get it and put it on the staylist.