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4.6 out of 5 stars
48
4.6 out of 5 stars


TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 26 February 2017
The opening track Victoria is a joyous song, one of the albums great highlights, the big hit single that immediately grabs your attention. This album had a different genesis, originally written as a soundtrack to a proposed Granada TV programme, that was then never made, but having worked on the project Ray Davies decided to put out the album anyway. It is a classily produced album, richly textured songs that sometimes have 2 or 3 different sections, and often embellished by brass backing to give it a distinctive atmosphere.
The subtitle of the album is "the decline and fall of the British Empire" . It is partly based on Ray's own family experience, where his sister Rosie and her husband Arthur, a decorated fighter pilot who became disillusioned with life in Britain and decided to emigrate to sunny Australia with his family. Apart from the splendid start with Victoria, other strong songs that are highlights are Australia and Shangri-La. The other songs are all interesting and worthwhile , with no real weak tracks. Inevitably being cast adrift from the original intended TV programme, it did suffer in comparison to other "rock operas" around the same time, like the Who's Tommy, and the critics at the time were a bit bemused by its ideas, and it was only a modest success.
With the benefit of hindsight this was ahead of its time, an important step up in the development of Ray Davies as a songwriter and larger more political and social commentator. The final original album track Arthur, reflects on how titular character was born just a plain and simple man, who tried hard to do his best, but was dealt a rough hand in life, with things never working out quite how he had wanted them to, and other lesser characters coming out better. There are 10 bonus tracks added onto the original album, making this a good value for money collection, with half a dozen additional songs including the hit single Plastic .Man, and some alternative takes of tracks on the main album
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on 22 March 2017
Good album. I know the Kinks (most of the x-members rate this as the best thing they have done. My view is that 'Working Mans Cafe' is better. Just an opinion
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on 19 March 2017
Excellent service + excellent album
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on 19 July 2017
Shame the film was never made
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on 9 September 2017
A good album.
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on 7 September 2017
Love the kinks great
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on 12 April 2006
In a quiet period for Kinks' singles compared to 64-67, this album is something of a surprise. The Kinks compound their concept album 'The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society' with this summary of what it means to be English.

The album has a distinctive sound with drums to the fore and most songs comprise of several distinct parts with shifting rhythms. For example, there's 'Australia' which begins up-tempo and part tongue-in-cheek and ends as a slower paced jam with superb guitar soloing and a full brass section, with the final burst of wobble board seeming to indicate the completion of this journey.

Then there's 'She's bought a hat like Princess Marina'. This one begins slow and shifts gear twice, ending as a fast paced skit that sounds like Chas and Dave doing skiffle.

Behind all the fun though, this album makes some serious points, from the anti-war sentiment of 'Some Mother's Son' to 'Brainwashed', which is as true today of the British public as it was in the 60s - people may have a little more money these days but the same disatisfaction still festers. All in all, this album blows apart the ethos of materialism and leaves us with an old man assessing the worth of his life, via the happy youthful exuberance of 'Driving' to the melacholic 'Young and Innocent Days'.

The final song is 'Arthur', where the band repeatedly concludes "Arthur, we love you, and want to help you, somebody loves you, don't you know it". All in all, 'life is what it is and there's nothing we can do to change it'.

This is a truly great album for Kinks fans wanting to look a bit deeper and I would imagine that the glut of bonus tracks adds little to this already perfect symphony.
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on 24 December 2008
The debate over which is The Kinks' best album will never be won, because there are no less than six serious contenders; 'Arthur' being one of them. The remastering of this album is top-notch-- cue immediately to 'Brainwashed' and you'll see what I mean. That low end has been boosted back to its rightful place. The earlier CD issues of this album were tinny in the extreme, really mucking up the more involved tracks like 'Australia', and making the search for the original vinyl all the more crucial. Along with the Black Sabbath and Rolling Stones remasters, The Kinks reissues represent a strong argument against those (like Andrew Loog Oldham) who think it's just a money-making gimmick. The REAL argument is why the powers-that-be didn't get it right in the FIRST place.
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on 16 May 2015
This was a gift for a friend, but he says its great.
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on 10 July 2015
Arrived safe fully as described.
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