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Lola vs. the Powerman & the Money-Go-Round, Part One
The Kinks

Reprise 6423
Released: November 1970
Chart Peak: #35
Weeks Charted: 12

Ray DaviesAlthough "Lola" was an astounding single, the only astounding thing about this album is its relentless self-pity. The evolution of Ray Davies's singing from raunch to whine is now complete; the melodies are still there, but in this context they sound corny rather than plaintive. It's one thing to indulge your nostalgia re village greens, another to succumb to it all over a concept album about modern media. N.b.: bookeepers, song publishers, union reps, and musimoguls aren't all like rats. Key line, from "Got To Be Free": "We've got to get out of this world somehow." B-

- Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.

Bonus Reviews!

The band's 1970 concept release. The concept involved was the story of a group trying to get a No. 1 hit record. The best thing about the whole affair is the "record" they're promoting: "Lolo," one of the decade's best rock songs. The rest of it is OK, but a bit heavy in the tone of the singing and the lyrics sung. The appreciate the Kinks, one has to have a certain intimacy with their large body of recorded work. Unfortunately, because the band has not garnered a world of commercial success, their better early LPs are frequently deleted, and very little of that material has reached CD yet. It's anyone's guess if it ever will. This album is a fair sampling of one facet. The sound is about equivalent to that of a clean LP. B-

- Bill Shapiro, Rock & Roll Review: A Guide to Good Rock on CD, 1991.

Thanks to the number nine hit single "Lola" (about an encounter with a transvestite), Lola vs. the Powerman & the Money-go-round, Part One became a comeback of sorts for the Kinks. Overall, this album is a Davies-eye view of life as an artist coping with the road ("This Time Tomorrow") and the music industry, which includes blackly humorous portrayals of the musician's union ("Get Back in Line"), music publishers ("Denmark Street"), making it big ("Top of the Pops"), and greed ("Money-go-round"). This might be a whinefest from a successful pop artist, but his observations aren't that far off base. Musically, the Kinks still had their ragged delivery, but they increasingly employed more acoustic instrumentation, giving the arrangements a slightly folky quality at times. * * * *

- Rick Clark, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.

The Kinks' career, like so many others', was sidetracked by bad business dealings, succinctly summarized on Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One, which also gave the band arguably its biggest hit in the ingeniously sly "Lola." * * * * 1/2

- Roger Catlin, Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1996.

What can you say about a band led by the Davies boys, the poet laureate of rock & roll (genius Ray) and the father of heavy-metal guitar (Dave)? This concept album explores the life of a group on the brink of its first success with edgy, acerbic, yet tender and quite insightful songs about the ups and downs of stardom. Yeah, these influential Brits are at the peak of their powers here -- and "Lola" still kicks ass! * * * * *

- Zagat Survey Music Guide - 1,000 Top Albums of All Time, 2003.

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