Kinks fans: Any good post-1972 albums?

I’ve been listening to the Kinks for more than 20 years now and recently added some of their earlier records to my collection, so that now I have all their regular albums up to “Everybody’s in Show-Biz” (except the “Percy” soundtrack). Though not each of those albums is a masterpiece like “Village Green” or “Face to Face”, I think that it’s an impressing run for first ten albums by a band.

I got into the Kinks’ music after reading an essay about them by musician/Kinks fan Heinz Rudolf Kunze, who was very critical with their post 1972 output, especially their rock opera phase from 73-76. I’m still biased against their later work because of this essay, and the reviews on didn’t do much to change that.

On the other hand, I admire the Kinks’ early music so much that I think there must be some value in their later output, and I really like the few songs of this phase that I know (“Father Christmas”, “Prince of the Punks”, “Come dancing”).

So, which (if any) later Kinks albums can you recommend?

If you like “Come Dancin’”, then I think you’ll like the "State of Confusion " CD. It is a mix of material of which “Come Dancin’” almost doesn’t fit. It is one of maybe two softer songs. To me, the CD has a common thread where the songs examine life at various ages. The songs run the gamut from the sublime to the ridiculous…but it all works very nicely, I think. It’ll make you think about your life and the stages you’ve moved through, too!

One caveat: You cannot expect their newer material to be anything like their older material. The essay you read was obviously written by an ivory-tower critic who fails to understand how a band like the Kinks put “progressive” into “progressive rock”. To me, their earliest sound was a trial and error period…when all those bands tried to emulate the Beatles. Bands like the Who, Moody Blues, etc. are guilty of this until they found their niche - their own unique sound. And, thank goodness bands like the Kinks dared to experiment to break out of that mold! Sure, the Beatles are fine, but I’m grateful for the variety!

I love the rock opera stuff, especially Soap Opera and Preservation Act 1. From the Arista period, Misfits stands with their best.

I quite like Low Budget and Sleepwalker, both from the mid-70s.

Ms Boods is the Kinks expert, though!

Actually, the essay was written Heinz Rudolf Kunze, who’s a respected and successful musician (and writer) in Germany, so he’s far from the ivory tower as a performing/recording musician himself, but OTOH he’s somewhat infamous for being the most intellectual German rock singer.

I agree with you about the trial and error period, but IMO this period ended about 1966, when they expanded their repertoire with those typical songs about British customs, sometimes satirical, sometimes nostalgic, with lots of music hall influences. Of course, this was not an end point, and they continued to rock hard sometimes, but it’s their music from “Face to Face” to “Muswell Hillbillies” I like the most of them. As I remember correctly, Kunze’s main criticism about the later Kinks was that they drifted into generic stadium rock territory, thus leaving behind their poignant British pop appeal.

Too late to edit:

Just want to make clear: after rereading my previous post, I see that the impression may arise that I don’t like the hard-rocking side of the Kinks. This is **not **the case, actually it’s far from that.

Yep - just wait for her to come along; she’ll lay it all out.

Give the People What They Want is an awesome record, IMO. Destroyer is a great song and a pseudo-sequel to Lola. Ray really wrote some fantastic songs on that one. Art Lover; A Little Bit of Abuse… these are songs only he could write. Great mix of that hard Kinks sound and wonderful snarky lyrics.

Answer to the title question: Hell yeah! All their post-1972 albums are at least good, in the the sense that I, personally, enjoy listening to them and am glad I own them. (Especially since I came to Kinks fandom late enough that I could look at some of their less successful periods with some perspective, as just a phase they were going through.) It’s true their greatest albums were pre-1972 (Face to Face through Lola…), but the whole rest of their career is well worth exploring, and even the more uneven albums contain gems. I think my favorite post-1972 Kinks albums are Schoolboys in Disgrace, Sleepwalker, State of Confusion, and Word of Mouth (with honorable mention to Live—the Road for its retrospective title track and its kickass live version of “Destroyer”), but give me a chance to re-listen and I might change my list.

See also this old thread: Kinks albums–which should I get?

Low Budget is one of their best. One for the Road is a great live album, covering not only the early stuff, but also Low Budget. Preservation Act I is not a great album, but it’s definitely a worthy one.

I think, with the exceptions of Low Budget, One for the Road, and **Destroyer, **none of their post 1972 albums, as a whole, are as good as the previous ones. However, they did have some very good songs from the post '72 era, including Low Budget, Destroyer, A Rock & Roll Fantasy, Juke box music, Misfits, Hay Fever, Catch Me Now I’m Falling, Better Things, Livin’ on a Thin Line and Ducks on the Wall.

Gotta be Misfits from 1978. Not that classic Kinks songwriting, but more in the arena stomper vein. Davies finally figured out how to write within the rock and roll structure, and on Misfits he elevates his own form. Granted, it’s not as lyrically interesting as Village or Powerman, but it still excites.

To The Bone

I’ll vote - State of Confusion and Give the People What They Want.

Still, I’d be more likely to put on Arthur or Village Green or Something Else, or make a playlist of stuff from Golden Hour albums (remember those?) than either of those.

Preservation Act 1 is a keeper if only for the excellent “Sitting in the Midday Sun” and the absolutely sublime “Sweet Lady Genevieve”. Those tracks would have stood out on any Kinks album, bar none.

Sigh, I think I have to stretch my low budget to get me some more Kinks records :).

Anyway, thanks to all for contributing, seems like the appropriate question would have been: “Any *bad *post-1972 Kinks albums?”

But that doesn’t surprise me, since they are such a high-caliber band (with a genius songwriter) that it would’ve been improbable for them to having stopped producing brilliant music after 1972. Actually, I’ve often been the victim of my own prejudices about certain albums or bands, even whole genres, which I developed a long time ago reading some critics’ opinions without having the opportunity to check for myself then. Fortunately, nowadays the resources to evaluate such prejudices are easy to access. And I can always ask you knowledgeable dopers.

Golly, thanks, Wordman and Meurglys! Also, many thanks, Wordman for the link to the thread.

A lot of good suggestions here already, plus Thudlow’s link, so rather than repeat them, I’d also suggest you might be interested in some of Ray and Dave’s recent solo stuff – it’s not the Kinks, of course, but they’ve done some rather nice things of late.

Dave’s CD Bug is probably most accessible to Kinks’ fans; if you’re more into trance and house, there is his Aschere Project that he’s been working on with his son Russell. He’s got a song called ‘Fortis Green’ on Bug that is in his own way a companion piece to ‘Come Dancing.’ (And if I can pimp myself, I have an article coming out which discusses the song, in December 2011 – mmm, academia, where I can make even the Kinks dry as dust!)

Ray’s recent solo albums including Other People’s Lives and especially Working Man’s Cafe are really strong as well.

For the completists I should add that the Kinks’ UK Cds are being re-released with load of bonus tracks; I just picked up the first three on Monday here in London, but am not sure when they’re coming out in the US. Also, you might look for Veritas, Vol 1 which is a fictional story (and cracking good so far!) by the late Peter Quaife, the Kinks’ original bassist.

Gotta dash, but have fun!

I like Word Of Mouth. I like Do It Again, Good Day, Living On A Thin Line, and Missing Persons.

Good Day is the first thing I thought of when Princess Diana died:

News of the world, tea and biscuits in bed
The headline said that Diana was dead
She didn’t talk much, but she put on a show
She always smiled even when she was low
I used to fancy her a long time ago…

I think I have another Kinks album on vinyl, but I don’t know which one it is. It has Lola on it. But my first Kinks album was Word Of Mouth. It’s from ‘my’ era.

I’ll third Give the People What They Want; there’s not a wasted cut on the album.

Demonstrating the scientifically proven fact that the best music of all time was released when you were in high school, I’m quite fond of the Arista albums, especially the run of Low Budget-One For The Road-Give The People What They Want-State of Confusion. Throw in the Father Christmas single (not originally on any album, although it has since appeared on compilation albums and as a bonus track on the CD rerelease of Misfits) and you can’t go wrong.

Low Budget was where Ray looked at the late 70s punk scene and mod revival and said “Hey, we helped invent this sound back in 1964, and we still got it.” There are rave-ups like “Pressure” and “Attitude”, crunchy arena-rock like the title cut, “A Gallon of Gas”, and “Catch Me Now I’m Falling”, and a nod to the waning days of disco with “Moving Pictures” and the disco version of “(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman”.

One For The Road is one of my favorite live albums by anybody. The rock version of “Superman” is infinitely better than the disco version.

Give The People What They Want has a lot of the snotty, snarky Davies wit. I still randomly quote “Hey Mom, there goes a piece of the President’s brain” and “Excuse me, is this your tooth?” at inappropriate times. But it’s not all sarcasm. “Better Things” is the wonderful closer, a song that you can’t be unhappy after hearing.

When I was 17, State of Confusion was just a collection of great rockers and nostalgic numbers like “Come Dancing”. When I listen to it in my 40s, which is when Ray wrote it, I hear a completely different album. Before the lyrics were cutting but seemed funny. Now I can picture the pain of the divorcees separating their “Property” and the weariness of the faded cougar in “Don’t Forget To Dance”. Dave gets to shriek his way through the balls-to-the-wall rocker “Bernadette” bitching about alimony, palimony, whatever it is [she] gets. Plus the album gets bonus points for being the first cassette tape I ever bought. And the tour was the first time I saw them live, and the last tour with Mick Avory.

Word of Mouth made tons of trips through my Walkman my sophomore year of college. Dave got his shining moment on “Living on A Thin Line”. I’d say “Too Hot” was the only subpar song on the album.

The MCA albums are a bit more hit-and-miss, and the Lost & Found compilation has most of the highlights. I would have thrown in “Aggravation” and “War Is Over” from UK Jive and tossed out “How Do I Get Close?” the obvious bid for late 80s rock-radio airplay. It’s not a good sign when the initial reaction to a new Kinks song is “What the hell? Are they *trying * to sound like Bon Jovi?”

Phobia…um…any album with the absolutely beautiful “Scattered” can’t be considered a bad album, but the rest of it is pretty forgettable. I don’t think I’ve listened to it all the way though more than once or twice.

To The Bone is a very good overview of their career done in the mid-90s “unplugged” style. The US version is a double CD, which was a big improvement over the single disk UK version, with one enormous glaring exception. For some inexplicable reason, the US version omits “Waterloo Sunset”. Why?? Who knows? It wasn’t for time reasons, as the first disk runs a mere 40 minutes or so.

I find the RCA-era (1972-77) to be pretty uneven. For me, the high point was Schoolboys In Disgrace. It is pretty solid with songs that work both as great stand alone songs as well as within the album’s concept - “The Hard Way”, “Jack the Idiot Dunce”, “I’m In Disgrace”