August 18, 2008 by A.C. Rhodes
Christgau gave us a B -
Category: Question of the Week
Beatles: Hard Day’s Night thru Rubber Soul
Stones: Beggars Banquet thru Exile
Kinks: early crud rock days
In general I prefer rockers’ early years.
Beatles: Hard to choose, but I still like the later years, White Album through Let it Be.
Stones: Gotta agree with Steven, although I think the period from Goats’ Head Soup thru Black and Blue had its moments.
Kinks: I’m partial to the early 70’s with those guys, Lola through Schoolboys in Disgrace. Soap Opera is a fave of mine, unlike about 99.9% of Kinks fans. Don’t have much use for Preservation Act II, though.
Beatles: Rubber Soul & Revolver
Stones: the Decca years
Kinks: Anglocentric Ray (see my friend, dead end st, autumn almanac, wonderboy – are those the “exiled” years?)
…I think of criticism as part of the intelligent conversation a culture has with itself about itself, but I probably spend too much time thinking about the works I consider good or important rather than experiencing them. I like the Beatles Rubber Soul and Revolver, the Rolling Stones 1960s work (though I have a special fondness for the Some Girls album, which coincided with my moving to New York), and I like early Kinks. However, sometimes, I wonder if there is anything between and beyond baby boomer nostalgia for ’60s popular music and contemporary market-driven hype, which can parallel (and exploit/inspire) indie buzz.
Do most critics matter to the general public, or only to other music critics? How many new writers are able to gather an audience, or manifest cultural authority? (Does that have as much to do with one’s work, or the venue in which one’s work appears?) How much work celebrated ten years ago is still listened to and discussed today? Are we able, really, to recognize the Beatles, Stones, or Kinks of today?
In my neighborhood, we said fuck the Beatles and the Stones. The Kinks and the Who were the only British bands we allowed to invade.
My least favorite phase of the Kinks was when my uncle took me to see them in ’72. Ray was drunk, my uncle was drunk, and I was not drunk.
Harsh. Where did you grow up, in a suburban supermax?
For me, Let It Bleed, Hey Jude and for the Kinks it’s too hard to say, despite the self-placed visual, so I would just go with the era of personal awareness and go with Preservation on through Low Budget.
Thank god for freeform and college radio stations. The latter were particularly imperative during the consultant-laden ’80s.
beatles – while revolver (uk version) might be my favorite of the beatles albums as a whole, “ticket to ride” (which i might often claim as my fave beatles song) is such a stand out track on the soundtrack to HELP – and for that matter, both of their live-action movies had great soundtracks, therefore, one could say, great soundtrack albums… and MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR also had its fine points but more important, stands to remind us that the phrase “death cab for cutie” is a silly refrain for a song and an even more useless name for a band.
stones – again, another band with an eclectic and voluminous catalog. exile on main street however is easily my fave and i’m with the masses when i cite my fave stones period as the let it bleed, beggars banquet, sticky fingers period as the band’s finest hours. i didn’t start to get bored with their output until about dirty work, the recording of which i was present for and witnessed a distinct lack of BAND activity on that record.
kinks – a band that can do no wrong for my ears. while their early work delights me with memories of my family driving from our home town beach town to another beach town 3 hours away for summer vacations (“who’ll be the next in line” was a hit during that period i remember – one of my most vivid memories)… the melancholy 70s period was the soundtrack to my high school years. FACE TO FACE, however memorializes that time when the light bulb in my head declared “RAY DAVIES IS GENIUS”
none of my friends particularly cares for GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT but i kind of once in a while really really enjoy “destroyer” and you can’t top “better things” as a classic Ray Davies melody
any aspiring songwriter or band who doesn’t study any of these three exemplary bands with the best songwriters pop music has ever presented us is looking down the wrong path…
i certainly love beggars banquet-let it bleed-exile (not sticky fingers, tho’, half of which i have no use for), but I’m more consistently stunned by their progression pre-Satanic Majesties Request than I am by their progression post-SMR. “Mothers Little Helper,” “19th Nervous Breakdown,” “Have You seen Your Mother Baby,” “Ruby Tuesday,” Aftermath, Between the Buttons… it rarely gets better than that, for me. May have something to do with the fact that Through the Past Darkly was the first LP I ever remember loving as a kid.
I don’t know the arc of the Kinks career well enough, but I have a feeling it’s a similar thing: i love something else and village green LPs, but the stuff that i return to most frequently isn’t the early-early hits, but those showing early signs of “progression”: “Sunny Afternoon,” “See My Friends,” “Well Respected Man,” that sort of thing.
Incidentally, my favourite hair years for all three of these bands is ’66.
Badly worded, that. What I mean to say about the Kinks is you have Something Else and Village Green as one sort of landmark of what they progressed into, and then you have the early-early hits, all full of bile and energy. What I tend to like best is the period in-between.
As for The Beatles, I would say Rubber Soul thru the White Album is my favorite epoch. Just looking at how the music changed in those four records over the course of 3 years is astounding. I also think that for a group that is in the Hall of Fame and is incredibly influential amongst other musicians, The Band’s first two albums (for the unitiated, they would be Music from Big Pink and The Band)are woefully underappreciated. They represent my favorite part of their musical genre, although their stuff with Dylan was also very moving and grounded at the same time.
Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:
You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. ( Log Out / Change )
You are commenting using your Twitter account. ( Log Out / Change )
You are commenting using your Facebook account. ( Log Out / Change )
You are commenting using your Google+ account. ( Log Out / Change )
Connecting to %s
Notify me of new posts via email.