When you first listen to Muswell Hillbillies you might be taken aback. Here is one of the greatest bands in rock putting out what seems to be a country/folk album. But give the album a second and third listen and you'll be glad you did. As with all albums, it has it's ups and downs but each song is solid and the album has a sense of continuity that sometimes eluded the Kinks. The album starts out with Ray bemoaning the 20th century ("I was born in a welfare state, ruled by bureaucracy, controlled by civil servants and people dressed in gray"), one of the greatest protest songs ever written and even though it is from the last century, it has even more relevant today. Don't miss the harder version on One for the Road. The theme is picked up again in "Here Come the People in Grey," another great number. The second song goes right into a Dixie land jazz number, Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues, a hilarious ditty about a man so paranoid he can't leave his front door.
The humor throughout the whole album is some of the Kinks best, Ray even teases himself as he sings about places he's never been to. The album also stresses Ray's favorite theme, getting back to a simpler life, while echo's are heard throughout the album (as well as many Kinks albums) nowhere is it more pronounced as in Complicated Life, just try singing the la de da chorus without smiling. Oklahoma USA reminds us that dreaming is one of life's true pleasures.
I could on but suffice it to say, there is not one weak song on this album, which makes Muswell Hillbillies, in my opinion, the best album the Kinks ever made.