REVIEW BY: Jedediah Pressgrove
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/14/2009
Ray Davies, lead singer/songwriter of The Kinks, is not fond of 1965’s Kinda Kinks, the British band’s second album. In the liner notes of Castle Music’s rerelease, he says they “had to do that album in a week” and that it didn’t stay at the top of the charts because of “the good taste of our fans.”
Disaster or not, Kinda Kinks was my first Kinks album (I snatched it for about $7), the first time I gave the band a real shot. Previously I was only familiar with “You Really Got Me,” and while I recognized the historical significance of the single, I had never enjoyed listening to it. But I developed a strong interest in the band after this album. The tracks aren’t as loud as “You Really Got Me,” but some of the songwriting hints at Davies’ great potential.
Having said that, the album kinda sucks. The production is unpolished, and the songs often don’t hook you like they should. “Look For Me Baby” features soulless vocals and awkward drumming. “Got My Feet On The Ground” has the right amount of energy but comes across as rushed -- the song ends once it becomes interesting. It’s not until “Nothin’ In The World Can Stop Me Worryin’ ’Bout That Girl” that a good guitar riff is played, and the chorus is quite hummable.
The biggest hit from Kinda Kinks, “Tired of Waiting For You,” is surprisingly effective given the desperation behind the album’s recording. “It’s your life / And you can do what you want / Do what you like,” Davies calmly sings before pleading “But please don’t keep-a me waiting / Please don’t keep-a me waiting” as the band pulses into overdrive. Definitely one of The Kinks’ best moments.
“Tired Of Waiting For You,” along with “Wonder Where My Baby Is Tonight,” is sandwiched between two atrocious covers. Lead guitarist/vocalist Dave Davies -- as well as founding member and Ray’s brother -- sings “Naggin’ Woman,” a track I wish was forgettable because it’s so bad. “Dancing In The Street,” originally recorded by Martha And The Vandellas, isn’t much better. The vocals are lazy and plagued by embarrassing production.
Out of the remaining tracks, “Don’t Ever Change” is perhaps the best. Conceptually, it is a simple love song, but I sense a sinister quality in Ray’s voice, almost as if he is ordering someone rather than making a romantic wish.
Perhaps Kinda Kinks is not as terrible as Ray Davies would have you believe, but the production can be quite sloppy, the decent songs are usually too brief (e.g., “So Long”), and the faster tracks are generally annoying. Think of this as an affordable glimpse of what The Kinks would go on to do.