I know a month from now I'm going to re-read this top 20 compilation and think "why didn't I put ____ on this list?" I'm already regretting the exclusion of Celluloid Heroes, the first Kinks song I ever heard, and so exquisite a piece! Lucky for it I'm a sneak and it just got mentioned and pointed out as exquisite right here in my little intro!
1.) A WELL RESPECTED MAN 1965. This song is a wonderfully folksy, used-on-the-Juno-film-soundtrack, sing-a-long tune about a well respected man-about-town, doing the best things so conservatively. Oh yes it is...oh yes it is! I like the sense of forward movement this song evokes. I could never walk backwards and listen to this song at the same time.
2.) PARTY LINE 1966. A great example of an early, raw, Kinks song bashed out by the unmistakable sound of Dave Davies' guitar. It reminds me of Last Train To Clarksville by The Monkees, only it's much better and raunchier! I love the telephone operator intro which leads us into this boppy thrash tune sung by Dave. I want to fling my arms and legs around when I listen to it.
3.) SUNNY AFTERNOON 1966. Here is a classic Kinks song everyone knows which cannot be ignored. I love being part of the audience when Ray Davies sings this one at live concerts. The entire audience always knows every single word and we become one big shiny happy family singing together while swaying to and fro in time to the music. Ha ha ha happy.
4.) THIS IS WHERE I BELONG 1966. I love the circular quality of this song. It entrances, captivates, and spins your head around, because this is where you belong. I'd like to spin around outdoors and look at the blue sky above me while listening to this song.
5.) WATERLOO SUNSET 1967. Arguably the best song Ray Davies ever wrote. I adore it too, but I can't single it out as his best. It's the story of a man, alone in his room, gazing out his window at the beautiful sunset taking place beyond the dirty river and train station and the dizzying, noisy crowds, as he also beholds Terry and Julie happy together in love oblivious to their surroundings. The man is content to be alone in his room because as long as he gazes on Waterloo Sunset, he is in paradise. It's lovely!
6.) AUTUMN ALMANAC 1967. I've always considered Autumn Almanac to be just as wonderful as Sunny Afternoon, but for some reason it was never as popular. It's pretty special when you can sing along to lyrics like "ooooh, my poor rheumatic back" and still feel happy. I like to either march around like a preschooler or rake leaves while listening to this song.
7.) WONDERBOY 1968. Allegedly John Lennon's favourite Kinks song. It's a pleasant piece, typical Ray Davies. I want to sit at an outdoor terrasse wearing a wide brimmed sun hat and sip on a Marguarita while I sing along to this one.
8.) ANIMAL FARM 1968. Ah, now we're talking! One of the many masterpieces from The Kinks' Village Green Preservation Society album. I love the eager tone of this song. It makes me long to live just a quiet quiet life, by a dirty old shack that I call my home... Animal Farm!
9.) DAYS 1968. Now this song is definitely one of my top 5 favourite Kinks songs ever. It packs such a gentle, wistful punch. It is beautiful, respectful and sincere.
10.) PICTURE BOOK 1968. I'm not sure what my favourite track from Village Green Preservation Society actually is; it's a toss up between Picture Book and Starstruck. Picture Book is seductive. It's a finger snapping tune I have to use my shoulders to dance to as I snap away.
11.) PICTURES IN THE SAND 1968. I thought it only fitting that my blog's namesake be included on this list. This is a lovely, carefree, romantic little piece and I love it. I want it to be MY song!
12.) STARSTRUCK 1968. Starstruck is a sweet old rock and roll song that leads you to the edge of a cliff then pulls you back to safety just as you're about to fall off. It also drives me insane because the world's not so tame.
13.) BIG SKY 1968. By compiling this list, I am realizing that 1968 seems to be an important year, musically, for the Kinks (according to me). So, yeah, my favourite track from VGPS is a toss up between Picture Book, Starstruck, AND Big Sky. This is a great song-- hopeful and inspiring. It's pure beauty. It should be used in advertisements for charity organizations.
14.) ARTHUR 1969. One of the catchiest guitar riffs in the Kinks archives. This song is so underrated! I like the vocals running parallel to the guitar, dontcha know it. I would shuffle along to this song, à la Pink Panther in his animated cartoon series, any day.
15.) SHANGRI-LA 1969. Shangri-La is another favourite from the Arthur album. It gets off to a quiet, acoustic start, and builds itself into an energetic, powerful anthem that really works well. I love listening to this song right after I put on my slippers and sit by the fire.
16.) APEMAN 1970. This was my favourite song for years, and no wonder!! It's so darn likable!! Nice piano and cool sound effects + very humble and inspiring lyrics = yet another successful Kinks song. If only I could sit in the trees and eat bananas all day...
17.) GET BACK IN LINE 1970. Get Back in Line is so romantic! All he wants to do is make some money and bring me home some wine. Awwwww... as if my cup isn't already runneth-ing over. This song is outstanding and poignant and is impossible to resist.
18.) MUSWELL HILLBILLY 1971. The Kinks go country and obtain very pleasing results indeed. Great twanging. I like to sit leaning forward with my hands on my knees when I listen to this one. My heart lies in old West Virginia. Boone County to be exact...
19.) SWEET LADY GENEVIEVE 1973. This is my obscure Kinks song pick. This has always been one of my favourite of the Kinks lesser-known songs. From its lovely harmonica beginning right through to the end, the song simply soars. The song is a lament about lost love, best listened to outdoors or while driving a car.
20.) MISFITS 1977. Misfits was a great album, and the first Kinks album I ever bought. It was 1978. This title track is a very beautiful, even, thoughtful song about misfits. They're everywhere.