This Is Where I Belong: The Songs of Ray Davies

Various Artists

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This Is Where I Belong: The Songs of Ray Davies Review

by Tom Semioli

As tribute albums go, This Is Where I Belong: The Songs of Ray Davies and the Kinks achieves pop/rock perfection. Cobbled together by NBC television's Late Night With Conan O'Brien talent coordinator Jim Pitt, this collection wisely focuses on the Kinks' cherished album chestnuts as opposed to the well-worn hits that have either been a staple on classic rock radio or much maligned by hard rock bands. Rendered by a stellar cast of Kinks disciples, the album serves as introduction to novices and as a point of rediscovery for old fans. Though the Kinks probably invented heavy metal bombast, these tracks portray Ray Davies' sensitive and introspective muse. Ron Sexsmith's reading of the title track captures the author's original feelings of isolation amid the psychedelic pageantry of swingin' '60s London, while cuts such as "Better Things" by Fountains of Wayne and Matthew Sweet's interpretation of "Big Sky" sound as fresh and vital as the day they were written. As expected, the apex is a live duet between Ray Davies and Blur/Gorillaz vocalist Damon Albarn on "Waterloo Sunset," lifted from a 1996 performance on the British TV show The White Room. By the second verse, you can't tell the pop star from the legend and vice versa. This Is Where I Belong is a timeless homage to an ageless band.

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