This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
Paul McCartney and John Lennon wrote songs for the masses. Ditto Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The Kinks’ Ray Davies, by contrast, has always been a songwriters’ songwriter.
Sure, he’s had tons of hits — but at the end of the day, many of his best songs have been archly beautiful works that often seem too intelligent and idiosyncratic for the pop chart. Nearly 20 of those buried treasures are dug up and repolished on Give the People What We Want, a unique tribute CD featuring a host of Seattle indie-rock artists like Mudhoney, Mark Lanegan, Murder City Devils, Fastbacks and more. You won’t find chunky rockers like You Really Got Me; instead the Young Fresh Fellows tear through Gotta Get the First Plane Home. There’s none of the jangly pop of Tired of Waiting For You, there’s Heather Duby’s sweetly tender The Way Love Used to Be. Instead of gender-benders like Lola, you get Baby Gramps cranking out a grumbling, bluesy Sunny Afternoon. And there’s plenty more where that came from, with nary a dud in the bunch. Even though it ignores his biggest hits — or perhaps, because it does so — Give the People is the ultimate tribute to one of U.K. pop’s most well-respected (if eternally underappreciated) men.