Take my opinion for what it’s worth, but I believe that no rock band in history touches The Kinks when it comes to enduring quality. My assessment of their work differs from most critics and thousands of fans in three respects: I don’t think much of Arthur (and boy, did I hear about it!); I think their best album is the Lola album; and I love the three albums that make up their theatrical period. I do agree with the general consensus that their Arista period lacked the depth and richness of their golden years.
But even that assessment has to be taken in context. I’d rather listen to an off-album by The Kinks than the so-called best work of many other rock bands. Ray Davies has remained an exceptionally talented and perceptive songwriter over five decades, and there are few guitarists who have produced as many memorable solos, riffs and fills as Dave Davies. Though the names changed, The Kinks always had a solid rhythm section. And during their golden years, they weren’t afraid to defy norms and expectations, producing a series of great albums that didn’t sell particularly well in their time but are now cherished treasures of rock ‘n’ roll art.
Here are links to all my Kinks reviews: