By 1972, The Kinks were already changing from their most recent style. After adopting a more British-focused, music hall-inspired sound on albums like 1968’s The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society and 1969’s Arthur, Ray Davies began incorporating a more ironic sensibility on 1970’s Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One while simultaneously infusing the band’s music with more Caribbean influences, specifically on the song ‘Apeman’.
As the band began recording 1972’s Everybody’s In Show-Biz, that irony had evolved into full on theatricality, with a more silly tone compared to the rough protopunk and observational proto-Britpop of their earlier sound. Ray Davies began to adopt more vaudevillian characters and personas, with the band’s music and lyrics losing some of the sharper edges that made the band so unique in the first place.
This period is now largely forgotten among the band’s history, with a number of high-grade concept albums that were critically torn to shreds. Before they all but abandoned rock music, The Kinks managed to notch one more UK chart hit, ‘Supersonic Rocket Ship’. A calypso-infused song detailing a utopian otherworldly rocket ship, the light escapist fair was still playing into the Davies brothers’ strengths of harmonies, wit, and a refined stoic Britishness clashing with looser attitudes and morals. It’s a testament that ‘Supersonic Rocket Ship’ never feels twee or naive, despite espousing some pretty dewy-eyed lyrics. Maybe those are satirical (it was getting harder and harder to tell), but the tune was strong enough to reach number 16 on the UK charts and give the band a brief retainer in the face of a downward slide in popularity.
When it came time to illustrate a utopian new land in the film Avengers: Endgame, sibling directors Anthony and Joe Russo tapped another famous pair of brothers to soundtrack the reveal of New Asgard. You see, the old Asgard was destroyed in Thor: Ragnarok, so what remained of the native Asgardians settled in Norway and made a new home. By using ‘Supersonic Rocket Ship’, a subtle nod is made to the lack of conflict present in this new place, something that contrasts Thor’s hedonistic and slovenly demeanour.
It’s a fun addition: not necessarily an easter egg, but a deliberate musical choice that gives off the perfect feeling for what New Asgard is supposed to feel like. Maybe not the Caribbean, the geographic area that the song is playing off of, but something remote and idealistic. They did arrive there on a supersonic rocket ship of their own, to be fair.