Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Kinks: Muswell Hillbillies [RCA Victor, 1971]
Because the Kinks Klaque hyped this as a great album when a simple perusal of the lyrics revealed more of the same olde alienation, I overreacted violently, but in an unsentimental retrospect I can hear it, and I do mean hear. Most of its charms are in the casual-to-messy eclecticism with which it revives time-honored effects from the music hall and the mod era and even the mountains, and in the dotty good humor of Ray Davies's singing, which makes you think that maybe--just maybe--he doesn't take the "Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues" of the "20th Century Man" at face value. But combine those two titles circa 2001 and you're in the court of the Crimson King. B+