Ray(mond Douglas) Davies Jon Pareles - Essay

Jon Pareles

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

With the Era of Lowered Expectations upon us like a toxic thermal inversion, the Kinks are suddenly topical again. Ray Davies's pragmatic yet romantic pessimism—which he's maintained for 15 years—seems reasonable now, no longer a minority outlook. So when he names an album after the refrain "low budget," he doesn't sound petty or mundane; he sounds tough-minded, resonant, inspired. "Low Budget" (the song) lives up to its title; it's a monologue from a character who's forced to sacrifice quality for economy, a nigh-universal predicament. You don't have to be a Davies cultist or an expert on the English working class to know what he's singing about—and that shot of reality is exactly what the Kinks have needed....

(The entire section is 511 words.)