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Tuesday, June 02, 2015

The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society (1968)

by the Kinks
Overall Rating =


Like Pet Sounds to Brian Wilson or… er… The Wall to Roger Waters… Village Green Preservation Society is considered a solo album of its writer's, but with his band's name and the help of their performing talents. The only difference is that this LP – originally with the abbreviated Village Green epithet, as opposed to the monolithic name above – actually was planned as a Ray Davies solo album as early as 1966 (then again, Roger Waters offered Pink Floyd either The Wall or another concept, with one to be chosen for the group and the other for solo… but then I doubt the rest of Floyd would have picked the other more dubious suggestion). Anyways, eventually it metamorphosed into a real Kinks album, but it definitely has Ray's mark all over it: basically, it's an entire LP's worth of songs of praise to the simple living of rural England and relevant childhood memories as well as the "evils" of busy city life and the limelight from being a rock musician. In other words, this album is the definitive Kinks/Ray Davies album in terms of overall message, one that would be pursued from here on out (hinted as it was in the last two or three albums).

Now, as you can tell from the high grade (the highest, even), this is a pretty fantastic album, though it's not completely flawless either, but then, most of these flaws are part of its charms. Most seem to complain that the LP is a bit monotonous, and even a look at some of the titles might give that impression as well (the title track vs. "Village Green", "Picture Book" vs. "People Take Pictures of Each Other"), but it's mostly because its simple, acoustic-based sound does not make for a truly emotionally devastating monotony, like the previously mentioned Pet Sounds, or even George Harrison's All Things Must Pass. Yet the album still manages to hit some kind of nerve centers – Ray's nostalgia is too sincere to be unimpactful – and is more than adequate in proving its point, in relaying Ray's beliefs. I suppose this is an album that gets better as the listener grows older – and even the fact that it only really acquired its noble critical reputation nearly 30 years after its release backs that up – but pick a sunny spring/summer afternoon with your family and friends and revel in its homey, happy feel.

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