Elizabeth Nelson, who posts on Twitter as The Paranoid Style, linked to the list prepared by Timothy Bracy and her ranking all of the Kinks albums. I don’t agree with every ranking but it’s an excellent list.
I don’t know them all. Prior to 1969, I was only familiar with the singles. After 1975, I heard some of the albums but don’t know them nearly as well. Their list does not include the fine compilations The Kink Kronicles (covering 1966-70) and The Great Lost Kinks Album (late 1960s/early 1970s outtakes). I saw the Kinks live in 1972, 1974 and 1993.
This is how I rank the albums I know
- Muswell Hillbillies
- Lola versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One
- Everybody’s in Show Biz
- Preservation Act 1
- The Kinks Present A Soap Opera
- Preservation Act 2
Muswell Hillbillies (1971)
The best Kinks album I know. It took guts to do something this English and understated after the hard rock success of Lola. Davies has a lot of affection for his characters.
Lola versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One (1970)
“Lola” may be the best Kinks song. The album is louder than its predecessors and successors. There are many fine songs – “Apeman”, “This Time Tomorrow”, “Powerman”, “Strangers” and “Denmark Street” among them.
Would any other band have single about Queen Victoria?
Everybody’s in Show Biz (1972)
“Celluloid Heroes” is one of the best Kinks songs. I like the live disc of the 2 LP set which accurately reflects their sloppy but very entertaining concerts of that era.
Preservation: Act One (1973)
The beginning of the decline. “Sitting in the Midday Sun” reminds me of their 1960s classics. I am also partial to “Cricket”. I can’t imagine that they thought anyone in the US would care.
The Kinks Present a Soap Opera (1975)
“Everybody’s a Star” is good but some songs are so slight, they could just blow away. I’m thinking of “Ducks on the Wall”, an inferior cousin of “Supersonic Rocket Ship” from Show Biz.
Preservation: Act 2 (1974)
Very small percentage of memorable songs here. I like “Scum of the Earth” and “Mirror of Love”.