Kinks Week: Better Things


Better Things is the upbeat, optimistic song that concludes 1981’s deeply cynical Give The People What They Want album. One could even call it the antidote to the poison pills of songs such as Killer’s Eyes (about the papal assassin wannabe) the uber creepy Art Lover, and the title track: “Hey, ma, there goes a piece of the President’s brain. ” It could be called Kinks noir, and it fit the mood in both the UK and USA.

Better Days has long been one of my favorite Kinks songs. It features Ray’s voice at its most wistful. It’s also a tune that other musicians like to record. There are a whole lotta great covers in wildly different styles. Let’s start with the Kinks studio version:

Fountains Of Wayne recorded a faithful power poppy version for a 2002 tribute album with a very long title, which I don’t feel like typing. It’s summer, y’all:

Dar Williams folked it up with an accordion on her 1997 album End of the Summer. If only it were true:

Finally, a punky version from Frank Black of the Pixies and other rock combos: