Album Review: “Low Budget” — The Kinks (1979)

The Kinks’s 1979 album Low Budget remains their highest-charting US non-compilation album, and a validation of sorts for the band. It continues the mainstream AOR vein that began with Sleepwalker and Misfits, their first two Arista albums — aka the band’s so-called “Arena Rock” period. The album was a big commercial success for the band,…

Album Review: “Misfits” — The Kinks (1978)

Misfits was another commercial success for The Kinks, following the same trajectory as their previous album, but this time they even managed to score a Top 40 single (and sometime AOR-radio staple) A Rock & Roll Fantasy. Their label Arista was probably moderately pleased with the results; RCA, their previous label, must have been FUMING! I…

Album Review: “Sleepwalker” — The Kinks (1977)

Attention Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan, and Dan Fogelberg: lock up your slick mid/late ’70s production values, because The Kinks are gonna ape the hell outta them. Well by 1976, RCA had just about had it with The Kinks: six albums of diminishing returns, both commercially and critically, and several outright flops. Once the contract was…

Album Review: “The Kinks Present: Schoolboys In Disgrace” — The Kinks (1975)

So their previous album The Kinks Present: A Soap Opera represented The Kinks at their absolute lousiest. Crappy album, crappy critical reception, crappy sales. If the previous two albums — the ambitious, sometimes entertaining but ultimately unsatisfactory Preservation Act I and Preservation Act II — didn’t drive away most of their 60s fans, Soap Opera…

Album Review: “The Kinks Present A Soap Opera” — The Kinks (1975)

Well, the Preservation project failed. A noble effort, maybe, but a total freakin’ mess by any commercial, critic, or artistic standards. At least Ray got all that “theatrical presentation” stuff out of his system, right? Well, Ray’s not here right now. In his place is some whackadoo Starmaker dope who conceived and wrote the worst Kinks…