Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Kinks: The Kink Kronikles [Reprise, 1972]
Self-konfessed kultist John Mendelsohn has kreated an inkomparable kompilation. Great hits are few--the Kinks have made U.S. top forty only twice since their first best-of, with "Lola" and "Sunny Afternoon." But great songs abound, assembled with a konnoisseur's kraft (all right, I'll stop) from available (and deleted) LPs, uncollected singles (told you I'd stop), and the vaults. Mendelsohn has little use for Ray Davies the would-be satirist ("Well-Respected Man," etc.), apologizing even for such marginally "boorish" efforts as "King Kong" and "Mr. Pleasant." So we get twenty-eight tracks that concentrate on Davies the lyric realist, the poet of pathos and aspiration, at his tuneful, readymade best. Definitely the world's most charming (and untidy) ripoff artist. And he wrote "Waterloo Sunset," the most beautiful song in the English language. A