Other People's Lives

Four decades after his Kinks helped spearhead the British Invasion, Ray Davies has finally launched a solo career. And it was worth the wait. Familiar and startling at once, Other People’s Lives finds his wry, wistful voice—a major influence on Morrissey and every other introspective rock crooner—in peak form, while the witty compositions crackle with a young man’s passion. Plumbing themes of change, aging, and triumphant renewal, Davies rebuffs his demons on the brooding “After the Fall,” sighing, “The sun will shine again,” then stares down mortality in the snappy, soul-influenced “Run Away From Time.” Fans of his quaint melodies and sympathetic portraits of everyday people may prefer the lovely “Next Door Neighbour,” but whatever the style, there’s not a false track in the bunch. Watch out for this exciting “newcomer,” because he’s off to a terrific start.