Muswell Hillbillies is an album by the English rock group The Kinks, released in November 1971. The album is named after the Muswell Hill area of North London, where band leader Ray Davies and guitarist Dave Davies grew up and the band formed in the early 1960s.
The album centred on themes of poverty and working-class life, as well as the destruction and subdivision of old Victorian neighbourhoods—a practice that had become commonplace in North London during the 1970s.
The album is a wide-ranging collection of Ray Davies compositions which focus on the tensions and frustrations of modern life. In the opening song, the singer declares: "I'm a 20th century man, but I don't want to be here." The album introduces us to the lives of a number of working class figures, and the stresses they must contend with. As one critic notes: "Various characters get militantly angry, delve into escapism, or simply go mad. It is important to note that no matter what, even in the album’s closing track, where the titular characters are being relocated to "identical little boxes", there isn’t a hint of complacency or resignation; they instead pledge defiance by refusing to change." Musical styles range...