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Listening

The Kinks, Something Else By The Kinks

‘Waterloo Sunset’ is one of the best songs ever recorded by anyone ever. And of course that’s an overstatement. Nevertheless, it fizzles in as you’re scanning the radio stations, its number comes up on the jukebox, it swirls overhead in its Muzak-ified incarnation at the grocery store—and every time, if you know the song at all, you love it with a realness you have for no other song.

I first bought The Kinks’ 1967 foray into psychedelia, Something Else By The Kinks, during a long-ago fascination with any piece of psychedelic pop music that came out in either 1966 or 1967. I listened to a lot of things that, very intentionally I’m sure, made little-to-no sense to either musician or audience, but just sounded weird enough to be passable.

My particular copy of this album was furnished to me by a garage sale that was willing to give up the completely-scratched-beyond-listenable vinyl for twenty-five cents. When I got around to putting it on the stereo I discovered that only one track appeared unscathed enough to play the whole way through: ‘Tin Soldier Man.’ This was unfortunate, because I really didn’t care much for the song. The album closer, ‘Waterloo Sunset,’ on the other hand, had a huge gash about a third of the way in that fast-forwarded the song past the second verse every time I played it. There was also something unidentifiable stuck or glued into the final groove that turned a song that actually has a very quick fade-out into one with no possible terminus. Only adding to the psychedelia, of course. I could hear through all of that, though; and from the first time I heard ‘Waterloo Sunset,’ I could tell it would always be a favorite. It still is.

I don’t know what happened to that copy of the album. There’ve been multiple CDs out, remastered beyond belief, some with four hundred bonus tracks, extra mixes. Some probably with extra versions of ‘Tin Soldier Man,’ just in case you happen to love it. But with all of them you thankfully get ‘Waterloo Sunset,’ second verse and all, and one of the best songs ever. You also get ‘David Watts,’ which, in addition to being the lead-off track on Something Else By The Kinks, is also the name of the DJ we’ve hired for my wedding next weekend.

The check was already signed when we realized the coincidence.

biopic

Andrew Womack is a founding editor of The Morning News. He is always working on the next installment of the Albums of the Year series at TMN. More by Andrew Womack

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