Friday, May 14, 2010

The Animals v The Kinks – Songwriters Match Up #4

This week's match up is between two more great British bands, The Kinks and The Animals. Both bands formed in the 60's. Ray Davies was the primary lyricist of The Kinks and his songs were known for their observations on English culture, humor and word play. The Animals were basically a blues band that became more and more psychedelic nature over the course of the band's career. Until the mid sixties, The Animals did not write much of their material, either covering blues hits by American artists, drawing upon folk for material such as The House of the Rising Sun, or else recording material written by Brill Building songwriters recruited by the groups producer at the time, Mickie Most. By 1965 ended, the group switched to Decca Records and producer Tom Wilson, who gave them more artistic freedom to write their own material.

Lyrics – The Kinks

Ray Davies has written some of the best Rock lyrics out there – he is particularly adept at satire and social commentary. The Animals had their share of unforgettable songs, but many of the best of them had been written by others including Don't Bring Me Down and We Gotta Get Out of This Place. 10 points for the Kinks

Composition – The Animals

This was a very close call but I'm giving this to The Animals primarily because of later works such as Sky Pilot and Spill the Wine. With these songs, The Animals proved that they were capable of progressing beyond the usual blues and folk covers and become an innovative force in the realm of psychedelic rock. 10 points for The Animals.

Influence – The Kinks

The Kinks have been called one of the most influential bands of the British Invasion. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website states that "Ray Davies is almost indisputably rock's most literate, witty and insightful songwriter." They were instrumental in the development of hard rock and heavy metal music with songs such as You Really Got Me helping to inspire and influence bands such as The Clash, The Ramones and Van Halen. Musicologist Joe Harrington noted that “the Kinks did a lot to help turn rock 'n' roll (Jerry Lee Lewis) into rock (Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, the Stooges)." 5 points for the Kinks.

Originality – The Kinks

The Kinks fusion of dance hall music, blues, folk, country, hard rock as well as Ray Davies' distinctive lyrics and songwriting are all reasons that the band has developed such a devoted cult following. 5 points for The Kinks.

Durability – The Kinks

The Kinks continued to put out occasional hits into the eighties and nineties and have a larger body of work that doesn't make the band sound as dated as The Animals. 5 points for The Kinks

Conclusion – The Kinks are this week's winner 25 to 10.

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