Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"More of the Monkees" by The Monkees (1967)

View the Premise & Ground Rules for Revisiting Vinyl.

Filed between: Eddie Money and The Moody Blues.

Fun Fact: You can tell this record was manufactured before 1970 by its thickness.

My Overall Rating of the Tracks Separately: HIGHLY Recommended.  Of course, the rating doesn't matter when you have nostalgia.

CONTEXT ALERT!  My mom LOVES The Monkees.  I just assumed they were an integral part of everyone's life when I was growing up, like they were for me, so I have some long-standing predispositions here.  When I was ten, MTV and Nickelodeon ran a contest where the winner got to meet The Monkees.  Mom filled out and submitted a thousand note card entries before she realized that it was a kids-only contest.  Then she submitted 500 more entries in my name.  I didn't win the grand prize (the little girl who did just sat there and wouldn't talk to anybody - not even Micky), but I won first prize - every Monkees LP ever on vinyl.  Thinking back, those were my first real vinyl records - not counting releases by Disney or The Chipmunks.  But those records were destroyed in a flood and now I work on replacing them all - even "Pool It!"  So, like I said, long-standing predispositions.

That being said, I'm going to go over most of the tracks on this LP one by one.

When the first weird guitar notes of She lit up my turntable, I was ten again - dancing around the living room and singing into an imaginary microphone just like my mom.  I am proud to say that I remembered every word this go around.

And the same was true with Mary, Mary.  I knew what song was playing from the opening maracas and backbeat.  Musically, you know you've got cred when Run DMC samples your song.

I HATED Your Auntie Grizelda when I was a kid, and I completely understand why.  Now, I'll put it up against about a fourth of the Beatles' catalogue. Off-and-on tune vocals, weird mouth noises for a solo and distorted guitar - that perfectly describes why I hated it then and I love it now.

(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone is angry and punky and awesome.  It's one of my absolute favorite Monkees' songs.  I want to get whiskey drunk and sing this song at a karaoke bar... and I don't sing karaoke.  If you like Gloria by Shadows of Knight, you should love this song.

I knew Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) was a Neil Diamond song before I even looked it up.  It's a timeless pop song.  You find yourself singing along by the end, even if you've never heard it before.

The Kind of Girl I Could Love is just as poppy, and it gets auto alt cred because Mike sings it.

The Day We Fall in Love is a terrible riff on Donovan's Atlantis.  It's obious filler/teenybopper bait.

Sometime in the Morning is another great pop track - a Beach Boys/Beatles fusion.  It's also proof that Micky owns this LP.

Laugh is just kind of there.

I'm a Believer.  Let me say it again, I'm a Believer.  It's Micky checking in once more to close the record.  "Mmm...Whoa!... Aw."  If you don't love this version of this song, then you're either a communist or a lying, self-righteous hipster poser (I would choose the communist).  "Say I'm a believer, yeah yeah yeah yeah, I'm a believer!"

So, is it an album?  No.  Not at all.  It's a collection of great songs, but they're designed to be packaged as singles and it shows.  I love these songs, but they don't have anything to do with each other collectively.  They don't even pretend to try.

Up next, "Private Eyes" by Hall & Oates.

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