Something Else by the Kinks, often referred to as just Something Else, is an album by the English rock group The Kinks, released in September 1967. It is generally considered one of the strongest in the band's catalogue, although it lacks the thematic integration of the albums that preceded and followed it. The album marks the final involvement of American producer Shel Talmy in the Kinks' 1960s studio recordings; henceforth Ray Davies would assume recording production credits. Many of the recordings feature the keyboard work of session player Nicky Hopkins, and the ethereal backing vocals of Ray Davies' wife, Rasa.
Songs on the album composed by Ray Davies followed his affinity for strongly English-inspired subject matter, including the stately, harpsichord-laden "Two Sisters", the lazy shuffle of "End of the Season", the sardonic and hilarious "David Watts", and the other standout tracks "Death of a Clown" (co-written and sung by lead guitarist Dave Davies) and "Afternoon Tea". The album is capped by the otherworldly beauty of the hit single "Waterloo Sunset", considered by many to be the career apogee of Davies' songwriting.
The songs on the album were recorded over a transitional phase of Davies' songwriting career, between the fall of 1966 and the summer of 1967. During this time the Kinks had cut back on touring and had begun recording and stockpiling songs for Davies' as-yet poorly defined "village green" project. Also, following the great commercial and personal success of the "Waterloo Sunset" single in May 1967, Davies became less focused on hits and more intent on exploring his own songwriting interests. In fact, the album title may come from Davies' appeal to the Kinks' management in the summer of 1967 that he wanted to do "something else" besides writing hit singles.
The album is unusual in the Kinks' catalogue from this period for the inclusion of three songs composed by guitarist Dave Davies, including the solo hit single "Death of a Clown". Based on the unexpected success of the song, the younger Davies began exploring a solo career. The follow-up singles did not meet with the same success and, by mid-1969, his solo ambitions would be set aside for a decade.
The album sold poorly in the United Kingdom, in part because it competed with budget-priced compilation albums of early Kinks hits from 1964-1966. Also, singles-oriented Pye Records released "Waterloo Sunset", "Death of A Clown", and other songs before the album itself, effectively dulling record buyers' enthusiasm for the LP. The lack of success also reflected the changes occurring in pop music at the time, as well as The Kinks' rapid movement towards unfashionable song themes, a trend which culminated in the subsequent album, The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society. They would score one more big UK hit single shortly after the release of Something Else with "Autumn Almanac", then would not have a big hit again until "Lola" in 1970.
Something Else also sold poorly in the United States upon release in January 1968, as did its predecessor, Face to Face. These albums had strong British themes; more importantly, the group was still the subject of a U.S. ban on live and television performances. Critical opinions at the time of the album's release were very positive (especially those of the nascent underground rock press, such as the publication Crawdaddy), and today it is ranked among the band's best albums.
All songs by Ray Davies unless otherwise noted