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Ray Davies, The Kinks Choral Collection, Simon Cowell’s taint

Ray Davies, The Kinks Choral Collection, Simon Cowell’s taint (photo)

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You can’t go about asking people Kinks or Beatles and expect an accurate sample. It’s not a fair question – the entire world knows The Beatles. But The Kinks, well people might know “Lola,” and they probably know the “Picture Book” song from the HP printer commercial but they don’t even know it’s The Kinks. Record heads and the more musically inclined of course know the hits like “You Really Got Me,” and “Waterloo Sunset,” but the Kinks’ genius lies much deeper than their radio hits. Kinks fans know that and our favorite records have little to do with those popular hits.

It’s good to see Ray Davies keenly aware of this and digging down to at least a couple of the real gems for his new effort, “The Kinks Choral Collection” which features personal favorites like “Shangri-la,” “Village Green Preservation Society,” and “Big Sky.” The versions on this cannot ultimately compare to the originals but it’s a trip hearing them performed with a massive symphony choir, the Crouch End Festival Chorus.

Davies told Spinner, “One of my big rule of thumbs at the beginning was not to make it a karaoke record… I think ‘Lola’ might have ended up a bit like that. I didn’t want to show just the famous songs but a broad breath of what I’d done, like the six-song suite from the 1968 album ‘The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society.’ To the real Kinks followers, it’s uppermost in their collection of Kinks records.”

Davies also seems to think that songwriting and musical creativity is being hampered, perhaps tainted by the likes of “reality” dramatist and TV mega producer, Simon Cowell. “Now I think people write songs just because someone like Simon could enjoy them but his taste isn’t everybody’s taste. Music represented freedom to me when I started out but I was lucky — I got hit records but still remained I think to a degree, free. I think there’s a danger that musical aspirations might get trapped in a bubble of mass media acceptance.” [Spinner]

I would go further, and suggest that Cowbell and those ear-sore shows of his are tainting culture in general, not just music.

So, Kinks or Beatles?

Davies plays Town Hall in NYC, November 19 and 20 with the Dessoff Chamber Choir.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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