George Starostin's Reviews



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Adam Harrington <> (21.04.2000)

George -- I admit you build a good case for the Monkees, but I think I've heard enough of them to conclude they're worth dismissing. Altogether.

The Monkees were way before my time, but my parents, and everybody I know in their generation, hated them, and nothing I've heard has made a good impression on me. Granted, I haven't heard these more supposedly experimental tracks you talk about with the Moogs and all, but whatever the case, there is no doubt that if they did anything good (and if the great Neil Young played on their albums and they had Hendrix opening for them, maybe they deserve just a dash of credit), the bad outweighs the good by a long shot.

When I was about 11, I used to listen to the Oldies station, and they played a LOT of the Monkees. Now, I won't say I was completely and totally barf-disgusted by everything I heard. When I hear anything, without exception, by despicable groups like ABBA and Hanson, I either leave the room, cover my ears, or tell whatever jackass has decided to play them to turn them off (I know you review ABBA, but I cannot, CANNOT stand them). But when the Oldies station played a Monkees song, I sighed and thought, "Another Monkees song. Not again."

There was absolutely nothing that made me stop, sit forward and listen. Their two big hits that were Neil Diamond covers -- "I'm a Believer" and "A Little Bit Me a Little Bit You" wouldn't sound all that much different (probably better) if Neil Diamond were singing them himself (and I'm no big fan of his either). I think "Last Train to Clarksville" is just plain boring and "Valleri" is sickening -- whoever wrote the lyrics should have burned the sheet he wrote them on, and the music, while they try hard to make it sound fashionable, is just boring. The only one that had lyrics that were the least bit interesting was "Pleasant Valley Sunday," but look closely at the music. Take the guitar intro to the Beatles' song "I Want to Tell You," speed it up, putz around with a few notes, and you have the intro to "Pleasant Valley Sunday." Whoever wrote this trash was obviously trying to copy the Beatles and a ton of other groups, and if I were the author of the great works they were trying to copy, I would have sued.

(You mention Boyce and Hart as a major songwriting team for the Monkees; they did one song themselves, "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight," which showed off the horrible style the Monkees showcased perfectly -- rote, repetitive chords, poorly-written lyrics, and arrangements with inappropriate use of brass and other superfluous intstruments. My point -- Boyce and Hart didn't help matters).

And some of the Monkees' stuff is just unbearable. Just thinking about the excremental "Daydream Believer" makes me want to throw up, and if I hear one bar of it, just one bar, I have to listen to something else to purge it from my head.

And on top of all this, the Monkees didn't play any instruments (for the most part) and they weren't all that great as singers either.

Simply put, the Monkees are not worth anyone's time. If they'd been contained in the TV series they were created for, maybe it would have been OK; I don't know because the few times I saw it (in reruns in the 80s), I was too young for it to make an impression. But to package them as a real band and release real albums is a disgrace to music in general. I don't know how they ever saw the light of day on the charts, let alone made #1, but I will never, ever, touch a Monkees album. Ever.

Kathleen Keplar <> (05.06.2000)

I hate to say it, but I feel kinda silly even  talking about these guys. Some great pop songs. Carol King and Neil Diamond even penned a few of the best ones. I remember the silly TV show well. Did my best back then to miss it. Now, thirty-something years later, I try to catch  episodes where ever they pop up. Middle age makes strange bedfellows. The show and the music are both cute in that nostalgic sort of sense we all hate to admit to. I have a warning for everyone under thirty...your day for such appreciation of trivial things  will arrive sooner or later.

About that HEAD soundtrack. I loved that opening movie theme. The 'Porpoise Song'. It was written by Carol King and was a pseudo psychedelic anthem. Very phony, but very affective. The whole album, I never owned it, I had a copy that belonged to a friend, was a sort of cheesy, deliberate attempt, to make a clean kiddy version of a Sgt. Pepper. A mini-Pepper. It was funny then and it's still funny now. But the music is still enjoyable for some annoying reason. 'Pleasant Valley Sunday' was also penned by King. That's a great song of its time. It was a clean, very right wing 'for those crazy kids'  middle class commercial approach, but those lyrics were dead center and that signature riff could almost be called classic. To this day I wonder who the hell played it.

The Pre-Fab Four were a deliberate attempt to cash in on the Hard Days Night period of the Beatles. At least the studio bigwigs didn't try to hide that fact. This 'band' was a joke to start with. At least it was actually funny. Jack Nicolson, of all people, had a lot to do with the invention of these guys. He was buddies with the producer. They came up with the screenplay for HEAD. Jack wasn't a big star back then, but he was just as 'hip' then as he is now. Wicked, wicked sense of humor.

David Jones was already a well known child actor in Britain. He was the Artful Dodger in the London run of Oliver on stage. He was also in training to become a jockey. Mickey Dolenz was a child actor here in the States, had his own TV show in the fifties called Circus Boy. His father was a minor actor in film and TV. Tork was a semi-spaced out Greenwich Village folk musician dropping in and out of the college scene. He got famous for a while for his outrageous parties and orgies once the money started coming in. Guess he wanted to act like a Rock star off camera as well as on. Then Nesmith... Dare I say it? He was the John Lennon of the bunch. The wildcard. This guy actually had some talent. He was a fair songwriter and a passable guitarist. He wrote several songs for The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, the best of which was probably 'Some of Shelly's Blues.' He was the one who raised hell and tried to get some control of this thing and wanted to make it 'real'. He was also the one who officially pulled the plug. He's a strange guy. Serious multi-media businessman. Recently sued the Public Broadcasting System here in the States, and won! His mother invented the stuff known as 'Liquid Paper' used in offices around the world for cleaning up typos. This was before the computer age, of course. My daughter has a few friends that honestly don't know what a real typewriter is. God I'm showing my age! But anyway, when she died, he become a multi-millionaire. I remember him having a very short solo career towards the end. Had a catchy song on the radio called, I think, ' Joanne and the Man'. It was  an early roots-rock sound. Disappeared pretty quick and so did he soon afterwards. The melody of that ditty has never left me for some odd reason.

Most of us older farts like to laugh about the Monkees. But when we have kids and they hear some of those songs or see some of the shows we aren't surprised at all that they like the damned stuff. It's harmless giggly tripe, but most of it is catching. They had great up and coming writers, both for the show and for the music. It was all phony as the age given on aunt so-and-so's driver's license, but at least the music was enjoyable and the show was funny most of the time in a sophomoric way. Today we can watch with the kids and see what they were doing in a whole different light. The whole Monkees thing, for most of us with brains, is an unintentional parody of those times, which for us makes the joke stretch on even longer. Funny as Hell!  I'm surprised that you even included the Monkees on this site. But as always, just seeing them here has made me grin and I just had to reply back about them.  

<> (19.08.2000)

I really don't think it matters if they are manufactured, their music is good. who cares how it came to be? the guys themselves are funny and cute. that's all that really matters.

Dan Hogg <> (18.07.2001)

After looking at your site for a few months...I had to put in my two cents about something eventually. Even though I'm anti-boy band (BSB, NSync, etc), I'm big on the Monkees...I have a lot of their albums. If I were growing up in the '60s, I probably would have hated them as much as I do today's boy-bands. But I'm 16, and 2-3 years ago, I was collecting a lotta Monkees albums. It was right after my big Beatles phase, so I thought going Monkees was a natural step. Enough about me tho...

I do admit these guys have their flaws. I never liked Davy Jones a lot, he was the most teeny-bopper one in the group. Their albums are pretty spotty, but most of the Monkees songs that I dislike are Davy tunes. And it's foolish to put these guys in the same league as the Beatles and Rolling Stones, that's just wrong.

But hey, they made some awesome stuff. And they are lots more enjoyable than any of the boy-bands out there today for several reasons. 1. They actually have personalities..where all mambers of NSync or BSB seem to be identical (you never heard about a moody, Texan Backstreet Boy, do you?) 2. Two Monkees are talented songwriters (Mike Nesmith and Micky Dolenz), and neither of them wrote many predictable "Girl I Love You" songs. 3. Yeah, the Monkees didn't play their own instruments half the time, but at least they actually HAD instruments in their songs. Whereas all boy-band songs sound completely electronic, even the voices. 4. The Monkees didn't rely on dumb dance moves. I can't stand seeing any boy-band dancing.

I can see many people calling them stuff like "a '60s version of BSB," but the Monkees sound is way more enjoyable. Also notable: my favorite Monkee is Nesmith, whose country stylings are the only things in the genre that I like.

Katie <> (27.11.2001)

I truly don't understand you people! How can you put down a wonderful band like the Monkees? Can you not full appreciate true musical talent or are you just all stupid? I don't get it; how some people can listen to rap and *Nsync or Korn or something else and thing 'wow this sounds good' when you're simply listening to people talk with musical backgrounds? They have no musical talent- they scream into a microphone. Tis not singing; and if people wanted to hear others talk with music in the background that's what you go to a friend for. How can you play a CD full of drum crashes and nonmelodic guitar strums and 'feel' it? Music like that can't reach people. The Monkees did a wonderful job at that - they were great at their generation and they still reach people today; (I am merely 15 by the way) Their songs can relate to people; they're something you can listen to and hum in the shower. If you're depressed and you want to listen to the 'music' that's played today; go ahead and put your radio on some quaint heavy metal or rock station. But if you want to be truly touched; if you want to hear a few tunes that can actually bring a smile to your face; you all know what band can do that for you.  I sympathize for those of you who cannot recognize the great music the Monkees have made for us.

<> (17.07.2002)

Wasn't going to touch this but here goes...I've seen the Monkees slammed everywhere I go and wanted to add my feelings on the subject. After seeing the film A Hard Days Night the production team of Bert Schneider and Bob Rafelson decided that a tv show documenting the lives of four wacky kids in a band would garner huge ratings. Thus, four actors were randomly chosen by the aforementioned producers and a pilot was born. Needing songs for the show, they turned to Don Kirshner and asked for some help. Kirshner in turn assembled the best songwriters (Neil Diamond, Goffin and King, Boyce and Hart), got the best studio musicians to lay down the tracks (Glen Campbell and James Burton both played guitar on Papa Gene's Blues) and got the four actors in the studio to do absolutely nothing but sing the lead vocal. One little problem developed. When the songs started to eclipse the tv show in terms of success, things backfired royally. The Monkees never were a band, weren't ever supposed to be, but the public started to believe this group was real and pressure mounted for live shows. Oops. Now, if you haven't seen the tv show, I suggest you do. It's hysterical. Kind of like the musical Marx Brothers. Unlike the Partridge Family, the Monkees actually tried to be a real band and were ridiculed mercilessly. The backlash reached a fever pitch when the press caught on that they didn't play on their recordings. Well no shit. Oh my God I'm going to have to sit down I'm so shocked. But listen, didn't the Beach Boys return from tour to find completed backing tracks already prepared by Brian? Where's the difference? The Monkees actually crafted some really entertaining songs. I think 'Shades Of Gray' is one of the best songs of the era. Mike doesn't get the credit he so richly deserves, not only for helping to pioneer country rock, but coming up with the original concept of the rock video. Mickey actually had a decent voice and Peter was a Greenwich Village folkie long before the Monkees gig. Davy was hired I'm assuming because the group needed a pretty British boy to make the pre pubescent tennyboppers wet their shorts, because he sure couldn't sing. But, he was given the right material to suit his style like 'Cuddly Toy', and 'Daydream Believer'. I've seen the Monkees on a couple of their reunion tours and they actually have been put on one of the most entertaining shows I've ever seen. Maybe they were never intended to be a band, but they get much kudos for trying. The casual fan will need nothing more than the greatest hits. Choose the one from Rhino as it is expanded with many more tracks. For those who want to be daring and try the albums, follow George's advice. He's pretty much got it right.

Steve Potocin <> (03.12.2002)

Whoa! Adam my friend, such venom directed at The Monkees? [See first review] I had to look up your bio to see what made you so upset with this band. Your belief that all good music MUST express an emtional struggle is going to cause you to miss out on lots of good music. You probably don't care, oh well. The Monkees did have some talent: Nesmith was a professional musician before The Monkees and wrote Linda Ronstadts first top ten song "Different Drummer" Dolenz was under contract to RCA, Jones was performing in musicals, and Tork was jamming with his roomate Stephen Stills. While far from being a great band, they did make some great records! Whether you like 'I Wonder What Shes Doing' or not Boyce & Hart wrote some great songs ; 'Last train' & 'Stepping Stone', nuff said. Oh , and the person who wrote that crappy "Pleasant Valley Sunday" that was Carol King, and the lifted intro? well ask Chuck Berry what he thinks about come together,mmmmm, sounds a little like "You can't Catch Me" Writers lift ideas all the time. The Monkees were not a great band , but made some of the most memorable records of the 60s.

<> (07.03.2003)

Ok I"m sick of all you freaks bad mouthing the Monkees. Let me get something straight. Number 1 they did play their own instuments just not on the first 2 albums. even if they were put together for the show, they did have musical talent. Mike and Peter were mainstream musicians, Mike wrote the song 'Different drum' for Linda Ronstadt and the Stone Poneys and also recorded it himself. Both Mike and Peter play guitar and Peter plays many other instruments besides guitar (at least 10 others). Micky played a little guitar and had his own band called Micky and the Midnighters and he learned how to play the drums and really did play them. As for Davy although he wasn't really a musician he did have a backround in musical theater and he eventually did learn to play guitar. I was 3 years old when the Monkees were introduced. Yes it was a TV show, and it was a very good one but the music was real after a certain point in time. I love the Monkees and so do thousands of other fans. And to all you idiots who have the unmittigated gaul to even compare them to fakes like the Backstreet Boys and Nsync, learn a few facts before you even try to catagorize them with them. The Backstreet Boys and Nsync will never be as good as the Monkees.

P.S the Monkees wrote many of their own songs as well as played their own Instruments. Put that in your pipes and smoke it.

<> (13.01.2004)

just like to say YES the monkees was aT.V show about a band and NO they were not ment to be taken seriosly as a real band. YES they did have studio musicians playing their first 2 albums and NO not all of them could play their given instruments.But yes Micky did learn to play the drums and yes he became very good, Mike and Peter already had musical experiance and Davy was a Star in Oliver. Saying that The Monkees always have and always will be my faveorite band (i'm 21) i loved their show and i loved thier movie and i love thier music.thier show was ment to make you laugh and yes it did the movie was ment to make you think (the dessert and coke machine seen has a very sweet message behind it im sure any one who's seen it will agree) the music is just well for lack of a better word WOW i dare you not to love "listen to the band" "what am i doing hangin 'round" "goin' down "randy scouse git" "for pete's sake" im just sorry i do not have the room to name all thier songs. Also they did infact write tons of thier own songs and play thier own instruments it was the Devil named Don Kirshner that for some reason would not give them the chance as it would take up the time when they could be making him more money. But they were around in the late 60s and are still giving people over 30 years of great songs they recorded around the same amount of songs as the beatles did in the time they were together and are still giving concerts today now who out of all of todays bands can you say will manage that. so all im going to say is you can diss The Monkees all you want to i do not really care i was, i am and i always will be a fan of The MONKEES AND I WILL HOLD MY HEAD UP AS I SAY THIS i regret i was not a teenager in the sixties (already i mentioned i am only 21 )and also i am saddend that the world will never see such greatness as them again my only comfort is their music will never die and thier songs and music thier voices and yes thier show will live in my heart till the day i die. i cant live through a day without listing or thinking of them and i know im not the only one who ever shares my views im happy to share this monkeeworld with you.

peace and love

<> (03.08.2004)

The only thing you need to do is exclude from their catalogue that nauseating piece of shit "Daydream believer" and the rest of their work entitles the Monkees to be called a good band. A pretty good one for heaven's sake. Good vocal harmonies, plenty of hooks, lots of entertainment values...this is what is all about at the end, isn'it? I don't give a damn if at the beggining they didn't played their instruments...they eventually did learned to play them. You gotta give credit to these guys for trying to establish their own identities and make actual contributions to music. And George, thanks for having the guts to review these poor fellows, and give them some credit - altough I still perceive you were hard pressed by the establishment to rank them only 2.4, in order to maintain your credibility. For example, you mention "listenability" as their most redeeming quality but then you grant them only 3 points out of 5! C'mon, they deserve a full 5 points for listenability, pulling their average to 2.8 or almost a solid 3.0. What about an update? In essence I really like the Monkees, and I don't give a damn about the Rollingstones reviewers (the same guys who predicted Moby Grape as the next great thing in Rock'n'Roll, in the same issue where they only wrote a tiny note on a new band called CS&N...).

Jennifer Dawson <> (24.08.2005)

I enjoy listening to many different genres of music and I’m a fan of many ‘60s television shows and music groups. I love all four Monkees in their show, and, being a relatively young fan (16) I have looked over their careers with an attitude not akin to that of baby boomers or even second-generation fans. So here’s the way I look at it. The Monkees was a great television show definitely up to par with all of the others of its time period. Without the music, it still would have been funny and enjoyable. Having that viewpoint, I listen to the music from time to time and enjoy it very much, because most of the songs were well written by very talented songwriters. I don’t care why the show was created and who got 95% of the money, because the four actors/musicians themselves were sincere and everyone did their part to boost the show’s quality even though they weren’t the ones getting rich off it. Why do you think they quit? The people getting rich off of them weren’t sincere and didn’t care about whether the show, or music for that matter, was any good, just whether or not kids would find it catchy. ALL four Monkees were pushing for the variety show and, on a few second season episodes, you’ll see that they were allowed guests like Frank Zappa and Tim Buckley.

I noticed that there’s a lot of Davy bashing going on and I can see it’s by people who have only heard him singing in the Monkees (and who probably have never seen the show), so I’d like to correct a few misconceptions. Before I do, let me say that everything I know about Davy I learned through reading his autobiography They Made a Monkee Out of Me, as well as many different interviews both online and in magazines, and listening to ‘Just For the Record’ Volumes 1 – 4, which feature many songs that Davy wrote after the Monkees and demos that he did in the early ‘60s. For one, I’ve come to the conclusion that, as was the case with the other cast/band members, the Monkees didn’t do too much good for Davy’s career as it ultimately left a black mark and made it harder for him to play and sing the non-teenybopper music he wrote or was given later on. This was because, by that time, nobody was taking him or the Monkees seriously and opted to hear the same old stuff featured on the show.

Also, there’s the fact that he didn’t really need that show or its music to establish a fan base because he already had one. He had achieved a small following a year or so before in 1965 with the release of his first, self-titled album. Davy was also previously famous in America to those who followed Broadway (he was one of Judy Garland’s personal favorites) and was a truly amazing performer for his age (about 16 at the time). Davy was even nominated for a Tony Award for his humorous and spirited portrayal of the Artful Dodger, which you can catch a glimpse of in one very famous Ed Sullivan Show episode that featured the Beatles. Hey, if he couldn’t sing, act, or dance, why was he up for an award like that? He was actually the first choice for the Artful Dodger in the movie Oliver! in 1968, but couldn’t do it because of Monkee commitments, namely Head (love that movie).Davy was a talented child actor who, at the age of 11, won parts in numerous radio shows over in England due to his cheerful voice. He then landed a part in the British soap opera Coronation Street as well and, after playing Michael in Peter Pan, moved over to the States with the cast of Oliver! where he later performed in Pickwick and guest starred on several TV shows including Ben Casey and The Farmer’s Daughter. Personally, I think that he was perfect for the Monkees show because of his obvious showmanship and not because of his looks (sure, he was cute, but so were a lot of other boys they could have chosen for the part), and it is a fact that he heavily influenced the show with his dry British humor and continuous adlibbing. But before you go thinking that I sing along to “I Wanna Be Free” 20 times a day, I’ll tell you that I also feel that the music the group played was just not his style. Comparing it to the other music (mostly Broadway and Bobby Darin-type stuff) that he sang before and after the Monkees, he seems to have been singing very tongue-in-cheek, probably because he didn’t take the show’s music seriously. He actually called it all ‘an act’ at the time and said that, although he couldn’t speak for the others in the show, he didn’t regard it as a real rock group to be taken seriously. And why should he have taken it seriously? In Just For the Record Volume 1 there is an interview from 1965 where he explains that he is going to do a television special based on A Hard Days Night about a group of three or four folk singers who move around the country…“and get busted!” Although it apparently wasn’t too clear to him at that point what The Monkees was going to be about, it was clear to Davy that he would be hired as an actor and not a rock star…and act in that series he did – very, very well! To this day, he still feels that the show is underrated and wishes that the variety show idea had worked out. And, yes, that is why when in concert he still sings tongue-in-cheek. You may think that in the Monkees Davy sings sweet and sappy (I’m not arguing with you there) but that’s because the character he played in the show was sweet and sappy. So the point is, when it comes to singing, Davy really does have a powerful voice, but you’re not going to find that out by listening to the Monkees. I suggest picking up an Oliver! CD or the Just For the Record CDs if you want to hear the real Davy Jones. Even going to see him for yourself if he ever returns to Broadway would be quite an experience.

And what’s all this about Davy not being able to play a single note? Just for the record, he COULD play musical instruments before the Monkees – that was one of the requirements if you wanted to be in the show! He grew up accompanying his sisters on trumpet and he could also play piano…but he never played keyboard because Peter Tork already did and there was no use for the trumpet in a rock group, which is why he was given the tambourine and maracas. It was certainly not because he was challenged in that area and, due to his involvement in the group he has since become a skilled guitarist. I also want to point out that Davy did not like a lot of the music that he was given to perform and actually refused to sing several songs including Neil Sedaka's "Love Will Keep Us Together" and the song "Knock Three Times On The Ceiling If You Want Me". He even disliked “Daydream Believer” and tried to get around having to sing it when it was first handed to him. I guess because he was young, all alone in America with no family or guidance, and bombarded with people who were always trying to rip him off and take his money (which they succeeded in doing, unfortunately) he felt trapped and eventually gave in to some of the pressure. In the end, however, he did manage to quit and go back to two of his first loves, horse racing and the theater. In the late ‘80s he actually portrayed Fagin and received rave reviews. Like Ron Moody, he’s a pretty funny guy, famous for improvising as I’ve already mentioned. Anyway, that’s my two-cents or two-pence, as the English say, about Davy. He and Mike were my favorite on the show and I am, of course, a big fan of Michael Nesmith who I believe is grossly underrated, but enough people have already acceded to that opinion so I won’t blabber on. Hey, has anyone else seen Elephant Parts? I can see the impact the Monkees had on MTV and why Nez won the first video Grammy award!

You can’t really look at the Monkees’ music without having viewed some of their television show because that’s where most of the music was first heard. Stuff like “I wanna Be Free” was hysterical in context because, whenever Davy had to make a commitment to something (there is an episode where he’s almost forced into marriage) he practically breaks into hives and starts whining the lyrics. I think that all four Monkees should be given credit for making the show as fun as it was for kids and, well, for anyone with an imagination. I don’t know why it was referred to as infamous on this site because it is critically acclaimed and won two Emmys including Best Comedy Series, beating out Gilligan’s Island, Bewitched, and The Andy Griffith Show. If you’ve never seen it or have kids who never have, try to catch it sometime when it airs. It was funny, much of the comedy groundbreaking stuff that had never before been done on TV (like breaking the fourth wall and talking to the audience)…and, of course, it was John Lennon’s favorite show ;-)

Kent Mackey <> (14.09.2005)

I grew up with this stuff (yes I'm a codger) and have a comment or two regarding your critique of The Monkees. Much of what you say about these four fellas is pretty on the mark but here's where you go off the trolley... "all the necessary ingredients were there". The Monkees were exactly what you said they were earlier in this same paragraph. They were both "artificial' and "manufactured" and that is the one thing that precludes them from being taken seriously either as an artform or as a social/musical influence. Being synthetic they were not the genuine article and were not sincere in their guise as rock stars or musicians or even real people.

What made groups like The Beatles (whom you rightly mention the corporate manufactured Monkees were supposed to emulate) something of social significance was that they were a genuine product of society at that time. The Beatles and all the other bands playing dances, community halls and nightclubs were actually kids who knew each other and had formed bands because they loved writing/playing music that they believed in. In that respect they were a genuine social product of the times. The Monkees were anything but. They were four guys who didn't know each other answering a cattle call audition for a corporate venture designed to sell as much advertising time on a television series as possible. The music was incidental and only there to entice kids to watch the show and buy whatever was being advertised that week. If the directors and producers had dressed them in green shorts with suspenders and funny hats Peter Tork would have been playing a tuba instead of a bass guitar. Not one of them would have batted an eye because to each of them it was A JOB and nothing else! They were hired to take orders... smile for the camera, recite these lines, a little more inflection in the voice please. I mean lets face it these guys were a puppet show put to music and nothing more. Later they actually began to believe some of the corporate hype themselves and demanded some artistic control which is actually pretty funny.

To consider The Monkees a real band is a little like thinking of Fox Mulder as a real cop or ketchup as a type of vegetable. They were a synthetic/plastic illusion designed to grab the teenage consumer's attention in order for the corporation to make some big bucks. It was a lie to begin with in that the four little dudes didn't write their material, play their instruments or have any genuine connection with the music in any way. The only way The Monkees could have been more phony would be if they were lipsyncing or if they actually turned out to be cartoon characters created by the studio. I think they later tried that with Josie and the Pussycats but somehow I can't imagine anyone over 12 yrs old seriously comparing them to The Beatles.

Tagbo Munonyedi <> (23.01.2006)

If the Stones [Get off of my cloud] are responsible for my earliest memory and the Beatles [Yellow Submarine] and the Scaffold [Thank U very much] responsible for the first songs I ever recorded, then the Monkees were, artistically, my first love.I was just 4 when they came into my life back in the 60s and it's been a lifelong association. For some reason, in those days my sister and I were obsessed with lifts [!] and the name "Micky" - don't ask me why - and the Monkees are the first thing I can ever recall being interested in on the telly, around 1967. It was a great show, but having seen it repeated many, many times over the last 39 years, I can't say it grabs me now. But the music.....I was 12 - 14 when I began to really take note of it and my love and appreciation of it has grown and grown. I have an all round head [!] when it comes to music and I really don't care if an artist is diverse, innovative, groundbreaking, pretentious, poppy, derivative, bandwagon jumping, serious, teenybopping, whatever.....I dig them whatever category they fall into because at the end of the day in my opinion, there isn't any such a thing as intrinsically good or bad music - there is only music we like, music we don't like and music we are indifferent to. A piece of music is a piece of music and under the banner of the Monkees came what I consider to be great music. It's great to me because I love it!

The Monkees made bucketloads of memorable songs. The fact that in the beginning they didn't write much of their material is irrelevant - nor did the Stones or a host of other revered 60s groups/artists. The fact they didn't play on much of their early material is immaterial - how many Beatles actually played on "Yesterday" ? "Love you to" ? "Eleanor Rigby" ? "Within you, without you" ? "The Inner light" ? "Goodnight" ? "Revolution 9" ? Remember, initially it was a TV show with the odd bit of music and therein hangs a tale. It was damn original to mix the cast of a show about a band with a combo of real musicians/singers [ all 4 to a greater or lesser degree ] and only 2 actors [Dolenz & Jones]. It was actually the public that reacted to the throwaway tunes in the show and neccesitated more songs and I do not think it is a bad thing if sometimes public demand is catered to. It is not a dirty concept. Just look around at life on earth. Of course it ain't always good but in this case it was because it gave some enterprising young writers the opportunity to craft some great songs and as for the Monkees themselves, they showed themselves to be pretty talented and thick skinned. The entire writing teams exhibited a tremendous flair for something many of us truly dig in our pop - melody and hooks. Yes, "daydream believer" has trite lyrics, yet, so powerful is the melody and chorus, I can still happilly sing it now ! By the way, Nesmith plays the intro on "pleasant valley sunday" [ one of their classic tracks],and in case some may feel I feel that all they did was great, the song with the first use of the synthesizer "Daily nightly" is to me so irritating ! I can't stand it. But it's valid.

I could say so much about the band and "their" songs, but I kind of agree with George - you have to give THE MUSIC a chance to stand on it's own, then put it in context of then & now....and I would say the same for any and every artist. As for me, I dig their output. LISTEN TO THE BAND!


Josh Fitzgerald <> (19.08.99)

"Here we come", the perfect first words for a debut album. It's a pretty cool album. I like "Last Train To Clarksville", "Take A Giant Step", "Sweet Young Thing" (my favorite song), and "Saturday's Child" the best. I like acually ever song on this, even "I Wanna Be Free", but just a little bit. "Gonna Buy Me A Dog" is only funny on the first listen. And "Let's Dance On" is a pretty pathetic rocker, but I like this album when I'm in the mood for something light, yet entertaining.

My rating-8

Mike Weber <> (18.08.2000)

"...can't say why {Last Train] is so special..."?

Possibly because it's the first American pop song about the Viet Nam war to get radio play? Clarkesville, Tennessee, for those who don't know, is not far from Nashville (Boyce & Hart's home town), and it's basically the front gate to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, which was the jumping-off place for a lot of guys heading out who didn't know if they "...were ever comin' home...".

<> (01.02.2001)

Actually it was Micky that had most of the lead vocals on this album. Mike was limited to "Papa Gene's Blues" and "Sweet Young Thing".

Davy Jones was cast as the teeny-bopper heart throb of the group, getting incssantly featured in such underground mags as "16" and "Tiger Beat" (ha!). Did you know that the "Oliver" company he was in was on the Ed Sullivan Show at the same time as the Beatles' debut on the same show?

Besides "Some of Shelley's Blues," Mike wrote another great R&B standard for the Butterfield Blues Band..."Mary, Mary." Of course the Monkees did it too, both versions are great.

Dan Hogg <> (21.07.2001)

For the most part, I agree with you on this album. The overall sound of the record stays the same, but it's a good one, so that works. Nesmith has two killer songs on here, which stand out. The only Davy-sung song on here I like is "This Just Doesn't Seem to be My Day" (almost has an Eastern vibe), the other two are bleahhh.

Which leaves Micky, of course, as the obvious star here. I've known the Monkees theme and "Last Train to Clarksville" for years and they're both cool. "Take a Giant Step" sounds sorta experimental, and it works. "Gonna Buy Me a Dog" is weird, I'd rather have this version than a serious version (I read that they hated this song and screwed it up on purpose). The only other flop on this record, to me, is "Let's Dance On." It's just another generic '60s "let's-dance" song, which was done much better by the Gentrys ("Keep On Dancing")

The bonus tracks are blah, the only one I enjoy is "I Don't Think You Know Me," even tho it sounds like "You Just May be the One." But this album is a good intro to the Monkees.

Pedro Andino <> (31.07.2003)

ok i love these guys better than korn or limp dickshit! but more than that i still say it is GOOD GOOD GOOD GOOD GOOD!!! you are right about 'i wanna be free' it sucks but the rest is just fine i adore the tv show i was 9 when the monkees came in 1981 and i laughed my ass off because of the hyperkinetic jokes! now that they have grown up, syndycation is a welcomed place for the show. i wiah it will be on dvd! oh yeah!

Jay Ehrlich <> (22.01.2004)

I'm 47 years old, and I've had this record since I was ten..(hey, i'm jack bruce ...i been down (with the monkees) ever since I was ten), in 1966, and Gonna buy me a dog still cracks me up, if I sing along with," I wish I had a glass of water".."why, you thirsty?"... "no, I just want to see if my neck leaks"...Ha Ha..ha hah..haha...hahahahaha... hoohah..hah... hah.. hah....... ahah...... ah.... ahh ...arhggghhmm.......Of course, 'Sweet Young Thing' is probably the HARDEST ROCK OF THE YEAR, not counting CREAM's debut album,for 4 reasons;..first, it has the meanest hard rock guitar solo of 1966, (try comparing this solo to say..ROY BUCHANAN, and you'll see Roy is way better, but Roy was one of the greatest players ever, and I never done heard of him in 1966, jethro...nor of tull, but I'll save that for comments on Ian's records when i get there)'s hands down the best solo on a monkees record...two...the fiddle, which was obviously an inspiration for me to pick up the fiddle in '79, but more importantly was smokin, especially the way it goes up on the first ..'and it's love you bring",...three, some of the coolest lyrics a teenage mind could wrap around.."people try to talk to me, their words are ugly sounds..but I resist all their attempts to try and bring me down"...and "I know that something very strange has happened to my brain..I'm either feeling very good or else I am insane"....and forth, it's a cool melody....Side two is actually perfect all the way thru, even I'll be true to you.. is fun to sing if you play it on the guitar, it has some decent changes....and This just doesn't seem to be my day..will always be etched in my mind as a song perfect for the first episode, and it's got a great bridge with viola...oops..nothing up my sleeve.....ecaep backwards......


Josh Fitzgerald <> (04.09.99)

I hate this album (what a surprise!). They sound like the 60's Backstreet Boys, and probably were! "Laugh" is one of the worst songs of all time, and "The Day We Fall In Love" can cause psychological damage. "Mary Mary" is an exception, and "Sometime In The Morning" is their best early ballad. The rest is an embarrassment!

My rating-4 3/4

Mike Weber <> (18.08.2000)

"(Moogs? these are hardly Hammond organs)"

I don't *think* they're Moogs -- too clean and organ-y. Might be a "Musitron", which Del Shannon used on the long solo on "Runaway" -- it was essentially an effects box for an electric piano...

Sarah Slackerchick <> (18.10.2000)

Peter sang "Your Auntie Grizelda," not Mike. Which could explain why it was so off-key... and why Peter wasn't allowed to sing much.

Dan Hogg <> (21.07.2001)

Ah yes....the album released behind the Monkees' backs. Dang you Don Kirshner! Well anyways, this seems more calculated that the first, but still, it has its moments. Peter actually sings on this one...the fuzzy "Your Auntie Grizelda" is a great one, despite being a rip-off of "19th Nervous Breakdown" by the stones. The only song Nesmith sings on is the forgettable "Kind of Girl I Could Love." His "Mary Mary" is much better, although it featured Micky on lead vocals.

Once again, Davy is responsible for most the stinkers again. I don't know anyone who likes "Day We Fall In Love," and I'm no different. "Laugh" and "When Love Comes Knocking" are also stupid. "Hold on Girl" is only a little better. That leaves "Look Out" as his best vocal performance on the album, and it sure is memorable.

Once again, Micky is vocally responsible for a lot of the better tracks. "She" and "Steppin' Stone" are first-rate '60s headbangers. "Sometime in the Morning" is an effective ballad, and of course, "I'm a Believer" deserves to be the Monkees' most well-known song, whether it really is or not.

Bonus tracks are ok..."Don't Listen To Linda" and "I'll Spend My Life" are better done here than the originals. "I Don't Think You Know Me" is taken in a new direction, sung by Tork (all we need is a slow-ballad version sung by Davy...then The other two are inferior alternates (despite the version "Look Out" having funny voice-overs by Tork...I guess he'd do anything to be heard on an album at that point.)

Pedro Andino <> (31.07.2003)

the follow-up to the debut was kind of rushed but it 's okay. 'the day we fall in love' is too sugary for my liking but i loved 'i'm not your stepping stone!' austin powers influences are everywhere! yeah baby! yeah! iheard that 99% of women fell in loved with austin because he is sexy with his dancing in his undies and destorying the fembots! not to be a gay asshole but i find him strangely sexy! but tha's just me talking.

Brian Donovan <> (28.08.2004)

I'm sure Davy Jones was and is a nice guy but I really disliked him because of this album. I will give him props for "Look Out Here Comes Tomorrow" at least until the awful spoken stuff starts. As for the other Davy songs, well, let's get the idea.

"Mary Mary" was one of Mike's best songs and is sort of a minor R&B standard even now. I saw Walter Becker perform it several years ago with the New York Rock 'N Soul Revue he put together with Fagen before they reformed Steely Dan. Of course a killer version was by the Butterfield Blues Band, for whom the song was originally written, I hear.

Micky once said in an interview his favorite Monkees vocal was "Some Time In The Morning" and indeed it almost sounded too mature for this teeny-bopper outfit. I also liked "Steppin Stone" a lot...I had ambitions of being a drummer in junior high and I recall playing the album at 16 and a half rpm to try and figure exactly how the drummer was doing his thing on the "Steppin Stone" solos.

My favorite tune on the album back in '67 though was Mike's "The Kind Of Girl I Could Love." I liked Mike's vocals best of the four (Micky was pretty good though). But I don't get where your Motown association comes's just a good 'ol Texas rockabilly stomper to me.

All in all it's one of those maddening LPs with great and awful tunes bumping into each other. My old vinyl copy has a lot of scratches from me lifting up the needle and putting it down again!


Josh Fitzgerald <> (04.09.99)

Ahhhhhhh. A breath of fresh air! Most of the songs are fresh and entertaining. Not groundbreaking, but simple and satisfying. They're having fun, and it definetly shows. "Forget That Girl" is (to get right down to the point) bad. But it's really the only bad song here. "Randy Scouse Git" is rather frieghtening when you think of it in terms of a Monkees song, as opposed to, say, The Rolling Stones, but it proves that the band members write the best songs in the group!

My rating-8 1/2

Dan Hogg <> (27.07.2001)

Here we go, the Monkees best album to date and my 2nd fave of theirs (their next one would be my fave). They break out and play their own instruments and aren't half bad either (except "Band 6"). In turn, every Monkee but Davy Jones penned at least one track here (even Peter Tork!)

Tork's "For Pete's Sake" didnt feature his vocals (Micky's instead), but still is a nice "lets get together" tune. Tork lost out the vocals of the moody "Early Morning Blues and Greens" to Davy, but strikes back w/a cool organ solo. Other Davy tracks include the likable "Forget That Girl" and the corny "I Can't Get Her Off My Mind."

Mike Nesmith continues to write great tunes. "You Just May Be The One" is one of my fave Nez tracks. "You Told Me" isn't as grand, but still fine. But "Sunny Girlfriend" doesn't interest me, it's a bit too generic.

Which leaves Micky Dolenz, who writes the killer "Randy Scouse Git," one of the best tunes here. "I'll Spend My Life With You" is sorta dull, and "Mr. Webster" is more interesting (reminds me of Simon and Garfunkel at times). "No Time" has generic music, weird lyrics, and awful backing vocals, but still isn't a bad track.

"Shades of Grey" is a complete group effort, it sounds, even though they didn't write it. "Band 6" is a throwaway in my ears, but "Zilch" is a fun one. The bonus tracks aren't too interesting, except the unreleased gem "All Of Your Toys."

Pedro Andino <> (31.07.2003)

so the monkees play the instuments! nice job! i remember my mom getting this album while watching dr. goldfoot and the bikini machine! my father loves elvis but hated the he surf movies but he loved the elvis comeback special! i was a monkee fan by heart and my aunt digs them, too. my brother loved zepplin but hated the monkees. though he loved the movie head, he loved the b movies. 1967 was a good year for the monkees! time for the next album

LIVE 1967

No reader comments yet.


Mark Arnold <> (06.07.2000)

I'm rather fond of this album. There is no "serious" meanful music, but this is great pop music (it like a pop Revolver) that has held up very well. You get bossa-nova, psychedelic, & country-western rock. It one of the best album to own if you're just familiar with the over play "hits" of the band. Forget the studio musicians stuff, if you only knew how many "important" bands use studio musicians. You got some very good songwriters here Gerry Goffin, Carole King, Harry Nillsson, Boyce & Hart, and Michael Nesmith. Everytime I play a this album for my friends the standard reaction is "Thats the Monkees!?" so don't expect the worst. If you like listening to music of this period Give this album a try. When it come down to it this band job was to put out "pop" songs and they executed that very well.

I give a strong 9 out of 10

Mike Weber <> (18.08.2000)

(on "Cuddly Toy"): The line that *i* was amazed they got away with -- and, incidentally, there was a performance clip of this song on the show, with all of them dressed up in striped jackets and straw hats, looking innocent and cute -- is "You're not the only cherry delight, that was left in the night and gave up without a fight..."

Nilsson was a wacko, even then.

Sarah Slackerchick <> (18.10.2000)

Davy's zodiac sign was not included in the title because he is also a Capricorn.

<> (22.02.2001)

The reason why Jones' zodiac sign wasn't used on the title of Pisces etc. was because he and Nesmith were both born on Dec. 30,. But overall I agree with your rating on this album. Thank You.

Dan Hogg <> (02.08.2001)

In my opinion, this is the best Monkees album. While Headquarters was more of a group effort, this one's more experimental, and you get to see each direction each member was heading. Unfortunately, this was the best they got.

Poor Peter Tork, all he had here was the cool throwaway "Peter Percival Patterson's Pet Pig Porky," which isn't even a "song." And Micky Dolenz doesn't appear much, except on the then-current single "Pleasant Valley Sunday"/"Words." The former is a nice Beatles ripoff, esp. the riff; the latter is a psychedelic gem w/Tork on co-vocals. Dolenz was also featured on the trippy, Nesmith-penned "Daily Nightly," w/the infamous Moog line

Davy Jones has some of his best moments here too; only the loungy "Hard to Believe" is dismissable. "She Hangs Out" is way more aggressive than the Don Kirshner-run early version, and seems to say "take that" to their ex-manager. "Cuddly Toy" is so dang cheesy, but I don't hate it for some reason. And "Star Collector" is another moog-happy psychedelic tune.

But they're all outdone by Nesmith on this album. His "Salesman" is the Monkees' "Taxman," only more lighthearted. The wistful "The Door Into Summer" and the psychedelic "Love is Only Sleeping" were written by someone else, but Nesmith handles them well. He also came up with aforementioned "Daily Nightly" and a pre-Monkees tune "Don't Call On Me" However, "What am I Doing Hanging Round" is one of his best, a straightforward electro-country song that wouldn't sound so great if sang by any modern country artist.

Bonus tracks? Only the forgotten B-side "Goin' Down," a jazzy Dolenz tune, is essential. It would have fit well in the album, between "Door Into Summer" & "Love is Only Sleeping." Everything else...alternates, although one or two are actually interesting.

<> (09.08.2002)

This is my favorite of theirs. I think the best two are the psychedelic ones, "Love Is Only Sleeping" and "Daily Nightly." I do have to say, though. that that is Dolenz sounding like Grace Slick on the latter (corrected - G.S.), and the Moog sweeps have nothing to do with 'Astronomy Domini' (a great song, but I just don't see any connection.)

<> (28.01.2003)

Hey Mister Starostin, are you having a momentary lapse of perspicacity? How can be "beyond your way" the pretty face Davy the one Capricornian Monkey chosen to have a name, not a zodiacal sign on the Pisces,etc album title?! I remember you in the same review being smart enough to recognize the rip-off character of the front cover. Why don´t you give a little look at the Sergeant Pepper BACK cover to get your answer? Elementar ,my dear Watstarostin, isn´t it? But take it easy, I'm not turning my back on you!

Pedro Andino <> (31.07.2003)

psychedelia is the word in 1967 and the monkees are in a winning streak and they are still trying to top the beatles but all good things must end on that day at a jimi hendrix concert, mike nesmith told the guys that jimi is the guy that they admire with his guitar but the problem is that when the teenyboppers booed him, jimi got pissed the monkees had tired of becoming bubblegum superstars.


Dan Hogg <> (02.08.2001)

Here's where the Monkees start going off in their own directions. It certainly is their White Album, no two Monkees participated in the same song here (except 'Daydream Believer'). Sadly, Peter Tork had several tracks during the sessions, but none made it onto the album.

Unlike the last album, Davy Jones doesn't have a good track on here. Well, except their last big hit "Valleri," which sounds kind of murky, w/the brass section and all. But their bigger hit "Daydream Believer" does absolutely nothing for me. Worst of all, he starts writing on this album, and his first efforts "Dream World" and "The Poster" are way too sappy. Even worse is "We Were Made For Each Other," even though he didn't write it. He would get better from here on out.

Micky Dolenz was silent as far as songwriting goes, but he does make up for it with the cool "I'll Be Back up on my Feet" and leftover psychedelic nugget "P.O. Box 9847." "Zor and Zam" is way too overwrought, and his Grace Slick-style enunciation is pretty grating.

Once again, it's Mike Nesmith who shines. He was getting way experimental at this point, and almost all of it works. The exception is the boring "Writing Wrongs," which reminds of me of "A Whiter Shade of Pale." Other than that, it's all good. "Auntie's Municipal Court" is the most conventional of the three, where Dolenz takes vocals. His '20s-style "Magnolia Simms" is hilarious, esp. the skipping part; and "Tapioca Tundra" rocks, has a great atmosphere.

As for bonus tracks, Tork's "Lady's Baby" really should have been on the album. Other than that, there's two more sap-fests from Jones, a useless alternate of "P.O. Box 9847," and Tork's son of "Peter Percival..." called "Alvin."

Pedro Andino <> (31.07.2003)

1968 was a hard year for america. war, disaster, hate, and death took over. but the monkees are here to save the day! but the problem is that davey jones and his songs like 'dream world' with that whole ''sweetie pie i love you'' kind of thing is about to make you feel quesy. but the more experimental songs are 'tapioca tundra', 'zor and zam', with vocals that sound too close to grace slick! and more. the monkees also have a movie but as time goes by, disaster follows.


Dan Hogg <> (27.12.2001)

Well, I only saw the movie once, and it was just as weeeeeird as I heard it was. I don't remember much of it, cuz I only saw it once and my memory doesnt serve well at these kinda things. But I do have the soundtrack, and I am more familiar with that then the movie.

For the most part, the sound clips from the movie work well with the other songs, especially those out of context ("That song was pretty white..." "...and I'll tell you somethin' else, the same thing goes for Christmas!!"). "Ditty Diego: War Chant" is another highlight. As for the songs itself, they're all good. Micky gets two vocal spots "Porpoise Song" has an awesome soothing sound, and "As We Go Along" is a nice acoustic bit. Peter has two of his best compositions: the jam "Long Title" and the Eastern "Can You Dig It" (come to think of it, Micky sang on that one too). Davy's "Daddy's Song" is a surprisingly tolerable show-style tune.

What really makes the album is possibly the BEST tune ever written by Mike Nesmith, "Circle Sky." I've heard several versions besides this one, such as the live version, the alternate on Missing Links 3, and the horrid treatment on. I don't have a personal fave of the three, they all have their quirks. Still, that song plain kicks butt.

As alternate tracks go, there are a couple of more movie clips and a somewhat intresting rehearsal of "Ditty Diego." A strange Mike-sung version of "Daddy's Song" and "Can You Dig It" w/Peter's vocals round things out. A nice soundtrack to a cult classic.

Pedro Andino <> (31.07.2003)

super! i loved the movie oh so much! despite all the trouble, the monkees had already completed the movie, sadly it flopped! despite all the fame, the mkees are dead but no matter the cost, head is a cult classic! there are many wacky scene's from the movie!

coke bottle explosions, vietnam footage, psychedelic art, girls making out with the monkees, channel surfing, odd sounds, love songs, and crazy shit that is about to pop!

'the porpoise song' is like a beautiful combination of floyd-like astral sounds and lennon-like vocals it was also on the vanilla sky movie and soundtrack! anyhow this movie will be forever a cult hit but for the monkees it will be the downfall.

Ted Goodwin <> (23.09.2003)

Actually, the Monkees themselves don't seem to have had all that much to do with how HEAD sounds. I believe it was Nicholson who did all the "noise" editing. And it wasn't the Monkees chucking their image so much as Rafelson setting out to destroy it (and them, sad to say). And nothwithstanding the whole battle over instrumentation back before HEADQUARTERS, the Monkees don't actually play very much. The songs per se (not counting Ken Thorne's cute classical bit) only come out to one average album side's worth; the rest is fun at times, although some things get recycled a bit too much (especially if you include the "Radio Spot"). By far my favorite song is "Circle Sky" -- the original album version, not the bonus track one which is what's heard in the movie (and which is the only track here really played by the Monkees). As far as other alternate versions, I prefer the original (Mickey) "Dig" but the alternate (Michael) "Daddy's". (BTW, neither version of "Daddy's" here is what's heard in the movie; in that one Davey sings the last verse slowly and a cappella for dramatic effect.) The "Radio Spot" is about the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard; now, having heard it, I at least know where the "head" chanting in "Opening Ceremony" came from -- it sure wasn't in the movie.


Mike Weber <> (18.08.2000)

Ya' know, Young was turned down at the original Monkees auditions. So he went home and suggested to his roommate that *he* might try it.

And the roommate did, and made it.

I'm not sure if he shortened his name from "Thorkelson" before or after he got the Monkees gig, though.

Sarah Slackerchick <> (18.10.2000)

In response to Mike Weber's comment that Neil Young suggested that Peter try out: that is incorrect; Steven Stills did it.

Dan Hogg <> (29.12.2001)

Hmmmm....a tad harsh, maybe. Then again, maybe not. I guess no Tork makes a difference. For one thing, Nesmith has weaker moments here. "Don't Wait For Me" is the weakest from his Nashville sessions, and "While I Cry" bores me. "I Won't Be The Same Without Her" is a pretty good outtake, in my opinion. Dolenz is featured on the weird "Through the Looking Glass" and the drowning-in-self-pity "Teardrop City." "Just a Game" is actually not a bad song to me, but I agree with you on "Shorty Blackwell." A lotta Davy Jones on here, which isn't an advantage. His only good tracks here are the rocking "You and I" and maybe "A Man Without a Dream." "Me Without You" is beyond cheesy, the other two just plain suck.

Extra tracks..."Someday Man" is pretty cool, "Smile" is surprisingly pleasant. Two points for Davy. Dolenz's "Rosemarie" was done better on Missing Links though. Nesmith has "St. Matthew" and "Carlisle Wheeling." The latter is another one of my all-time fave Nesmith songs, lyric-wise. The other two are just alternates with too many extra instruments. It's far from their best, but better than Changes, eh?

Jared Insell <> (14.03.2003)

Just thought you might find it interesting that I was one of those 'unfortunates' who purchased Instant Replay as my first Monkees album (although I had heard their greatest hits countless times before). In my opinion it's not as bad as you lead it on to be (then again that's YOUR opinion, which I respect although I may not fully agree with it, but I like reading your opinions on albums regardless, I find them very valuable). Anyways I actually really liked Instant Replay. Yeah I know it's definetly not the best (Pisces, The Monkees Present and Headquarters have it beat easily) but it surpasses most of the other releases to me. Although The Monkees were reduced to a trio of Mike, Davy & Micky, I agree that Tork's departure wouldn't have really crippled the band too much since he was barely involved in recording. I love Mike's songs on this album. 'While I Cry' is a great country ballad to me. 'Don't Wait For Me' is a good selection from the Nashville sessions. And I think 'I Won't Be The Same Without Her' is a great outtake from the first albums sessions that shouldn't have been turned down. Micky's stuff is not as good but stil listenable. 'Through The Looking Glass' is a nice opener here. His own 'Just A Game' is a pleasing and cleverly simplistic ballad to me. I agree with you though that 'Shorty Blackwell' is a self indulgent piece of crap. Dolenze tries his best to make 'Tear Drop City' a hit but it sounds to much like 'Clarksville'. Still ya gotta love that guitar opener. Jones material takes up the bulk of this album which in a sense is not great but isnt terrible either. 'You And I' is a great rock track that should have been a single. I disagree with this being the weaker version of the schmaltzy 'Don't Listen To Linda' this version was way better produced than the bouncy version on More Of The Monkees. The other ballads 'The Girl I Left Behind Me' and 'A Man Without A Dream' are listenalbe despie the sickly sweet feel. I agree 'Me Without You' is pretty ridiculous but hell it's catchy but in an annoying way. The bonus tracks here are the best of any reissue that Rhino put out. 'Someday Man' is a great tune but should have been on The Monkees Present. 'Smile' is a charming ballad by Jones. 'Carlisle Wheeling' is a fantastic Nez track. 'ST.Matthew' is ok and Dolenz' 'Rosemarie' is pretty funky but too disjointed. The last two bonus tracks are boring alternate versions but still I feel Instant Replay is a great musical grab bag from The Monkees.

Pedro Andino <> (31.07.2003)

an underrated album, a lost classic. george, let me put it this way: i was a monkee fan until the last album changes, the monkees are gone downhill ever since the head fiasco. anyhow i loved head but this album seems so underrated that the monkees by 1969 were not cool anymore. while fans still liked the monkees, girls got all grown up and they loved hot rock stars like roger daltrey, mick jagger, and keith moon! 'shorty blackwell' is like a head outtake while the rest of the songs are sweet, sugar ballads or jangle rockers. still, instant replay is like a lost classic.


Dan Hogg <> (29.12.2001)

A step up from Instant Replay, that's for sure. All 3 Monkees get their individual spotlights. Among other members, Dolenz is writing more than ever here. "Little Girl" and "Bye Bye Baby" are trivial, but improvements over "Just a Game." Not "Pillow Time," that tune didn't do much for me. But I love "Mommy and Daddy," which is too sarcastic and bitter to be considered a kiddie song. I'll take that over other "socially aware" songs like the Tempts' "Ball of Confusion" any day. Davy "If I Knew" and "French Song" are just same ol' croony teen-idol trash. "Looking For the Good Times" is another pretty good outtake from the early days. "Ladies Aid Society" is one of the biggest what-the-hell tracks of their career. If they tried to make another "Gonna Buy Me a Dog" here, it failed. Horribly.

As usual, Nesmith shines. "Listen to the Band" is a sure classic, plus someone pointed out that the song is "Nine Times Blue" with all chords reversed. It's sorta true actually, if you listen to both. "Good Clean Fun" and "Oklahoma Ballroom Dancer" are fun country-rockers, but "Never Tell a Woman Yes" strikes out for me. Only noteworthy bonus track is Nesmith's "Calico Girlfriend" this time around. As Nesmith was leaving the band, he sure made a good final impression.


Dan Hogg <> (02.08.2001)

Dang you George! Seeing how you gave Instant Replay a 6, I was expecting you to bash this album like there was no tomorrow. Well, you were kind to Dylan's Self Portrait, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised. You were right, there are almost no positive reviews of this album. Without Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith, the group turned teenybopper, more so than before. The lyrics are pretty bad, on par w/songs by any modern boy-band.

There are few songs on here that I outright enjoy. The single "Oh My My" is actually pretty funky. So is the B-side "I Love You Better," even though the lyrics are among the worst I've ever heard ("I once went with a history teacher/I really tried, but I couldn't reach her"). "99 Pounds" is a decent oldie, and interesting to hear Davy Jones "rock out." Dolenz's self-penned "Midnight Train" is lyrically inferior to the early demo version. All the rest is pretty bleah.

As for the bonus tracks, "Do it in the Name of Love" is sorta funky, but "Lady Jane" is overlong. Not a good way for the Monkees to go, but that's how it goes.

Pedro Andino <> (31.07.2003)

that my friend, is the last straw. i loved the monkees, but this album sucks! why do we need sugary bland bullshit? i could use a little led zepplin 3 instead of this disgusting waste product! i'm tired and it's getting late thank you for the reviews!

Bobby Scott <> (14.12.2005)

I only bought Changes because it was in a sale rack at an almost give away price. I had very low expectations for the album but was more than pleasantly surprised. Apart from “Oh My My” none of the tracks could be called classic but the album has a nice bubblegum soul vibe. It’s by no mean an overlooked classic but is a good showcase for the underrated vocals of Dolenz and a nice slice of production line pop.

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