The Kinks – Something Else: #417 of best 1,000 albums ever!

The Kinks - Something Else

So why is The Kinks’ Something Else on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

As I get older and dig further into The Kinks’ body of work, I get more impressed all the time. There’s incredible range across different albums and eras. While I don’t think it’s controversial to proclaim that the band produced its best work in the 1960s all told, there’s an impressive amount of “best albums ever”-worthy material that was produced during that timeframe alone.

I’ve mentioned a few times that I’m a sucker for when the harpsichord is deployed effectively in hip hop music. Well, I’m also a sucker for when it’s used in any kind of music, really. Example: it creates this great baroque effect on “Two Sisters,” a dreamy pop/rock number that floats along like the most pleasant of summer breezes.

Listening to the gorgeous pop that is “Waterloo Sunset,” I’m struck by how much The Kinks’ sound has  changed and evolved from the raw garage rock of “You Really Got Me” and “All Day and All of the Night.” Even then there was a real knack for pop song construction under the hood of a revved up mid-‘60s rock vibe.

“Waterloo Sunset” – and really Something Else all told – shows off pop song writing master craftsmanship. Which is all to say: it’s entirely and very pretty.

“Death of a Clown” has both a whimsical melancholy and sophistication that reminds me of some of The Beatles’ best late ‘60s material. Dave Davies offers up an interesting take on how his disillusionment with the hedonistic 1960s scene lead him to write the song, with its metaphor of a clown – and the circus the clown performs with.

Pop culture stuff that has something to do with The Kinks’ Something Else

It’s also important to note that the sound and style of Something Else as a whole is mostly out of accord with the feeling and hippie/countercultural vibes of 1967, the year of The Summer of Love and so on.

The Doors would go on to release “Five to One” in 1968, on Waiting for the Sun, and it explicitly shows disappointment or disillusionment with the hippie movement, though the song’s lyrics are often misconstrued. It starts off talking about that “they have the guns but we’ve got the numbers,” but then turns that sentiment on its head, satirizing the hippies with their “flowers in your hand,” and even more brutally: “Trade in your hours for a handful of dimes.”

I mention this because I’m sure someone way more scholarly and knowledgeable than I about the era has chronicled the resistance and reaction to the counterculture movement from the standpoint of art, music, and pop culture* .

* It also occurs to me that Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood, released in 2019, also has some interesting things to say about this dynamic.   

Some stats & info about The Kinks – Something Else

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, British Bands, British Invasion
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – #478
  • All Music’s rating – 5 out of 5 stars
  • When was Something Else released? 1967
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #417 out of 1,000

The Kinks’ Something Else on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from The Kinks’ Something Else that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

Won’t someone help me to break up this crown  –  let’s all drink to the death of a clown.

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.