When the Kinks signed with Arista Records in 1976, Ray Davies effectively abandoned the village greens of Britain for the basketball arenas of America. For the next decade, the band's theatrical concept albums took a back seat to sleek, radio-friendly slabs of mainstream rock that won the Kinks a new generation of Stateside fans, even as they alienated rock critics everywhere. While it lacked the timeless charm of the Kinks 'late-'60s work, their Arista period still produced some of Davies 'finest (and most underappreciated) songs, as evidenced by Come Dancing With the Kinks, a compilation of hits from 1977 to 1984.
Dated production values aside, "Full Moon," "Misfits," "A Rock N 'Roll Fantasy" and "Good Day" (in which Davies muses on romantic strife, nuclear holocaust and the death of actress Diana Dors) are among the most heartbreaking ballads in the Ray Davies canon. "Sleepwalker," "Destroyer" and "Do It Again" rock harder than anything the Who or the Stones released in the same era; ditto for "Father Christmas," possibly the angriest holiday song ever waxed. Throw in the glorious "Better Things," a live "Lola" and the disco goof "(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman", and you've got a collection no true Kinks fan should be without.