Hey hey we're listening to the Monkees

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Brother Spoon
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Re: Hey hey we're listening to the Monkees

Postby Brother Spoon » 28 Mar 2012, 17:49

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Side 1
1."Salesman" (Craig Smith)
2."She Hangs Out" (Jeff Barry)
3."The Door into Summer" (Chip Douglas, Bill Martin)
4."Love Is Only Sleeping" (Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil)
5."Cuddly Toy" (Harry Nilsson)
6."Words" (Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart)

This is a surprise, turns out this side is a tough nut to crack.
I was waiting for that 'great' album, but you've got to be careful what you wish for. There's a definite shift here, I hear it, they're serious about making a great album and it shows. No more interludes and zany humor, no embarrasing moments, all these songs were chosen with care obviously, crafted to near perfection. It's their songwriter album.
And yet, I'm missing something that I haven't been able to locate over the several times I've listened. That special charming unique thing they have, the fun. Maybe it's just more subtle (there are bits, the 'sssssalesmen' backings for instance) and I'll find it eventually, I don't know. Right now, the two songs I'm really into are 'Love is only sleeping' and 'Words' - those are terrific. The first three songs are all good, there's nothing wrong with them, but they don't seem to excite me ('She hangs out' comes closest.)

'Cuddly toy': Not a knock on Nilsson who wrote/released many fine songs, but those first couple albums of his are problematic. Musically just too precious, lyrically - yes, I get it, there's a double meaning, and so on, but what's the point? Newman was better at writing a mean song like this. I don't want to tear this song down but I have problems with it.

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Re: Hey hey we're listening to the Monkees

Postby Brother Spoon » 28 Mar 2012, 17:51

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Side 1
1."Salesman" (Craig Smith)
2."She Hangs Out" (Jeff Barry)
3."The Door into Summer" (Chip Douglas, Bill Martin)
4."Love Is Only Sleeping" (Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil)
5."Cuddly Toy" (Harry Nilsson)
6."Words" (Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart)

This is a surprise, turns out this side is a tough nut to crack.
I was waiting for that 'great' album, but you've got to be careful what you wish for. There's a definite shift here, I hear it, they're serious about making a great album and it shows. No more interludes and zany humor, no embarrasing moments, all these songs were chosen with care obviously, crafted to near perfection. It's their songwriter album.
And yet, I'm missing something that I haven't been able to locate over the several times I've listened. That special charming unique thing they have, the fun. Maybe it's just more subtle (there are bits, the 'sssssalesmen' backings for instance) and I'll find it eventually, I don't know. Right now, the two songs I'm really into are 'Love is only sleeping' and 'Words' - those are terrific. The first three songs are all good, there's nothing wrong with them, but they don't seem to excite me ('She hangs out' comes closest.)

'Cuddly toy': Not a knock on Nilsson who wrote/released many fine songs, but those first couple albums of his are problematic. Musically just too precious, lyrically - yes, I get it, there's a double meaning, and so on, but what's the point? Newman was better at writing a mean song like this. I don't want to tear this song down but I have problems with it.

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Re: Hey hey we're listening to the Monkees

Postby pcqgod » 28 Mar 2012, 17:53

"Sunny girlfriend" is one of the highlights on side 2 of that album, for me. I'd agree that side 2 is rather a drop-off in quality from the A side.
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Brother Spoon
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Re: Hey hey we're listening to the Monkees

Postby Brother Spoon » 29 Mar 2012, 17:15

Side 2
1."Hard to Believe" (David Jones, Kim Capli, Eddie Brick, Charlie Rockett)
2."What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round?" (Michael Martin Murphey, Owen Castleman)
3."Peter Percival Patterson's Pet Pig Porky" (Peter Tork)
4."Pleasant Valley Sunday" (Gerry Goffin, Carole King)
5."Daily Nightly" (Michael Nesmith)
6."Don't Call on Me" (Michael Nesmith, John London)
7."Star Collector" (Gerry Goffin, Carole King)

Boy, I was a little premature missing that weirdness and zany humor. :D
It's a record of 2 halves. And this side 2 has my favorite stretch of the album 'Pleasant valley sunday / Daily nightly / Don't call on me'. Pleasant valley sunday is magical. Daily nightly: at first I thought the weird sounds didn't fit the song, but I grew into it. Doesns't he sing it a bit like Grace Slick? I think so.
Star collector has a cool freak out ending - I don't know if the song can stand up to this kind of treatment, but it's fun.
The popping sketch is pretty annoying though.

All in all, this record is more accomplished than what came before but I got a little less enjoyment from it compared to 'More of' and 'Headquarters', which so far seems the high point.

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Re: Hey hey we're listening to the Monkees

Postby troggy » 29 Mar 2012, 17:18

"No Time" is a fine song.

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Re: Hey hey we're listening to the Monkees

Postby Zilth Pilchards » 29 Mar 2012, 18:43

Headquarters is the strongest of those four albums you've reviewed,Pisces is the next I'm most keen on.

I also really dig "Don't Call On Me".

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Re: Hey hey we're listening to the Monkees

Postby Loki » 30 Mar 2012, 05:36

The video of "Daily Nightly" was the first TV appearance of the Moog synthesizer. Or something like that.

Stop me if I sound like YJ. :)

Aw what the hell

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whodathunkit wrote: Somewhere it's always 1972.

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Re: Hey hey we're listening to the Monkees

Postby Charlie O. » 30 Mar 2012, 05:50

Pisces is my personal favorite. It hits its peak for me relatively early with "The Door Into Summer"/"Love Is Only Sleeping" - but the whole album is gratifyingly solid.
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Brother Spoon
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Re: Hey hey we're listening to the Monkees

Postby Brother Spoon » 30 Mar 2012, 11:39

People love the 4th album, I've noticed. That's why I'm kinda surprised it didn't do more for me, but that's how it goes. Maybe next time.

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Side 1
1."Dream World" (David Jones/Steve Pitts)
2."Auntie’s Municipal Court" (Michael Nesmith/Keith Allison)
3."We Were Made for Each Other" (Carole Bayer/George Fischoff)
4."Tapioca Tundra" (Michael Nesmith)
5."Daydream Believer" (John Stewart)
6."Writing Wrongs" (Michael Nesmith)

This on the other hand, I really really enjoy. Starts off with my least favorite track but also a song that sums up what follows, it's dreamy, trippy stuff, and 'Dream world' is still too much like the real world to convince. But after that...
The 3 Nesmith tracks make the mood: they sort of hum along, and then veer off the beaten path. These Monkees are getting weirder. 'Writing wrongs' is probably my favorite, but only cause it's the longest, and I could listen to this stuff for a while - it stretches time. Is it me or are these record sides getting pretty long?
In between 1 fine pop song and 1 extraordinary pop song, I dig both of them, and they fit right in.

At this point, I hardly recognize the Monkees from a couple of records ago. And I wonder what record buyers made of this album.
I so hope side 2 is more of the same.

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Brother Spoon
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Re: Hey hey we're listening to the Monkees

Postby Brother Spoon » 31 Mar 2012, 09:31

Side 2
1."I'll Be Back Up On My Feet" (Sandy Linzer/Denny Randell)
2."The Poster" (David Jones/Steve Pitts)
3."P.O. Box 9847" (Tommy Boyce/Bobby Hart)
4."Magnolia Simms" (Michael Nesmith/Charles Rockett)
5."Valleri" (Tommy Boyce/Bobby Hart)
6."Zor and Zam" (Bill Chadwick/John Chadwick)

This and 'Headquarters' could well turn out my favorites in the end.
Goes on right where side one left off with weirdness like 'PO Box 9847' and 'Magnolia simms', but has a strong pop feel too (I'll be back up on my feet' and especially 'Valleri', finally a mutation of the Satisfation riff that goes somewhere unexpected). It's more scattershot than side 1, there's no strong overall mood, but it must be fun to listen to the whole record in one sitting.

'Zor and Zam' and 'The poster', well, every record needs its problem areas. They're easy to overlook. 'Zor and Zam' has...something appealing somewhere - if only for its headscratchiness.

What a weird record - this must've turned some heads. Were Boyce and Hart still involved, going along with the new regime (PO Box 9847), or were the Monkees twisting their 'normal' pop songs beyond recognition, just for the hell of it?

Off to 'Head'. Just the record though, don't think I'll be going as far as actually watching the movie. :D

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Re: Hey hey we're listening to the Monkees

Postby Moleskin » 31 Mar 2012, 09:40

The.movie's a blast! A sign of its times, sure, but entertaining and puzzling, and it doesn't go on about it.
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Re: Hey hey we're listening to the Monkees

Postby Charlie O. » 01 Apr 2012, 01:42

comrade moleskin wrote:The.movie's a blast!

Truly!
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Re: Hey hey we're listening to the Monkees

Postby Bungo the Mungo » 01 Apr 2012, 01:49

Brother Spoon wrote:People love the 4th album, I've noticed. That's why I'm kinda surprised it didn't do more for me, but that's how it goes. Maybe next time.

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Side 1
1."Dream World" (David Jones/Steve Pitts)
2."Auntie’s Municipal Court" (Michael Nesmith/Keith Allison)
3."We Were Made for Each Other" (Carole Bayer/George Fischoff)
4."Tapioca Tundra" (Michael Nesmith)
5."Daydream Believer" (John Stewart)
6."Writing Wrongs" (Michael Nesmith)

This on the other hand, I really really enjoy. Starts off with my least favorite track but also a song that sums up what follows, it's dreamy, trippy stuff, and 'Dream world' is still too much like the real world to convince.


Oh man, 'Dream World' is one of my very favourite Monkees' tracks! I'm surprised you don't like it.

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Re: Hey hey we're listening to the Monkees

Postby Brother Spoon » 01 Apr 2012, 07:49

I like the fact that people stand up for just about every song I've been less than complimentary about. People care about this band. Who knows, in a couple of years I might do the same.

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Side One
1. "Opening Ceremony" (film dialogue) 1:20
2. "Porpoise Song (Theme from "Head")" Gerry Goffin, Carole King 2:56
3. "Ditty Diego – War Chant" Jack Nicholson, Bob Rafelson 1:25
4. "Circle Sky" (studio version) Michael Nesmith 2:31
5. "Supplicio" (film dialogue) 0:48
6. "Can You Dig It" Peter Tork 3:23
7. "Gravy" (film dialogue; voice of Davy Jones) 0:06

This is the only Monkees album I already sort of knew, and liked.
But hearing how they got from the start to here puts a different spin on it. I've been reading that thread about 'Head' the movie, and the hyper condensed aspect of their career is striking. I can see people getting evangelical about a band that took 'em on a trip like this in just a couple of years. That is, if they were still following by this point.

It's completely out there. But in the best way.
I love the music/dialogue split on the album, maybe a couple more actual songs would've been nice, but really, I'm not complaining. The 3 songs here are pretty outstanding. 'Porpoise song' is majestic in a way no previous Monkees song managed. 'Can you dig it' moves like a spider trying to go sideways, ridiculously good. 'Circle sky' is almost as good, and never lets up.

Great stuff.

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Re: Hey hey we're listening to the Monkees

Postby Brother Spoon » 02 Apr 2012, 17:36

Side Two
1. "Superstitious" (film dialogue from The Black Cat; voice of Bela Lugosi) 0:07
2. "As We Go Along" Carole King, Toni Stern 3:51
3. "Dandruff?" (film dialogue) 0:39
4. "Daddy's Song" Harry Nilsson 2:30
5. "Poll" (film dialogue; voices of Frank Zappa and Victor Mature) 1:13
6. "Long Title: Do I Have to Do This All Over Again" Peter Tork 2:39
7. "Swami – Plus Strings, Etc." (arranged by Ken Thorne) Gerry Goffin, Carole King 5:21

Yes, it's a good one. 'Do I have to do this all over again' is maybe my favorite song on the album.
'As we go along' is lovely, there's this ever rising solo at the end, just before the fade out, that makes it for me. And the Nilsson song is at least better than his previous effort on 'Pisces...', though I'm still not much of a fan of his late 60s baroque writing style. Still, the Monkees do a fine job on it.

The only weak point is the final track, but then, somewhere in the universe there has to be a song called 'Swami plus strings'. For that title it's worth existing. I usually turn it off before the end though. Wikipedia informs us it's a Goffin-King song, now that's unlikely. :lol:

That's almost it for me, I've got the Rhino Greatest Hits set scheduled for tomorrow. I enjoyed it.

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Re: Hey hey we're listening to the Monkees

Postby Quaco » 02 Apr 2012, 19:12

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Brother Spoon wrote:'I wanna be free' just works, for me. A beautiful song (somewhat dodgy lyrics, but who hasn't felt like that at some point), played straight, sung great and with a lovely arrangement. It's not high art, but I go along with it.

This is a nice way of encapsulating the Davy Jones approach. He was obviously the last "cool" member, being a square entertainer type, but his contributions are crucial to the way these records can move us in an innocent way. More and more, I'm finding his super-straight the stuff I like best about the band!

Brother Spoon wrote:I've been reading the AllMusic review of this album, 'one of the great debut albums of all time'. I'm puzzled. It must be some other self-titled Monkees debut album than the one I'm listening to, cause this one is ok.

I have to say, I've really enjoyed reading your writing in this thread. You're calling it like you see it, and it's highly amusing. I never warmed to the first album much either. (I didn't own it for a long time -- sometimes that can be a big part of it.)
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Re: Hey hey we're listening to the Monkees

Postby Charlie O. » 02 Apr 2012, 19:15

Brother Spoon wrote:'As we go along' is lovely, there's this ever rising solo at the end, just before the fade out, that makes it for me.

Courtesy of Neil Young! (Stills handles the lead guitar on "Long Title...")
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Re: Hey hey we're listening to the Monkees

Postby Quaco » 02 Apr 2012, 19:17

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Brother Spoon wrote:Things have improved on all fronts: better songs, more distinctive arrangements, better singing. The first three songs are some kind of homerun. ... Compared to AllMusic's überfan I'm still a skeptic. He feels even 'Grizelda' is a masterpiece! I don't hear any masterpieces yet, but what a fun record.

"She" in particular is a great one which grows more powerful every day. I don't know why. It's just a very simple song with a slightly druggy feeling to it, almost like a "Rain" sort of feeling.

I liked "Auntie Grizelda" when I was 10 'cause it sounded like The Munsters theme. I'm not sure what the über-fan is talking about. It's no masterpiece. It is a good vehicle for Peter Tork's voice though. Like Ringo, certain songs work for him and certain ones sound like somebody just broke wind. This kind of awkward, wacky song works pretty good.
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Re: Hey hey we're listening to the Monkees

Postby Quaco » 02 Apr 2012, 19:36

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Brother Spoon wrote:Highlights: 'You told me' the verse of which reminds me of a Beatles song which I'm sure someone can tell me the name of. ... 'Shades of gray', great ballad, and again the arrangement is so amazing, they knew what they were doing.

"If I Needed Someone" maybe? It definitely has that kind of familiar feeling, like you've heard it before. "Shades of Gray" sounds like 16-year-old students seriously singing about the world outside, with a somber almost moralizing tone and a yearning for better days in the past that they weren't more than two years past ... but somehow it works. I find it a bit mysterious why this song shouldn't offend me aesthetically, but I love it. Another good use of Tork's voice ... he's perfect for that one line. It sounds like a school play. The way it all comes together is just part of the mystery of The Monkees.

Brother Spoon wrote:Side 2
1."For Pete's Sake" (2:10) (Joey Richards/Peter Tork)
2."Mr. Webster" (2:02) (Tommy Boyce/Bobby Hart)
3."Sunny Girlfriend" (2:31) (Michael Nesmith)
4."Zilch" (1:05) (Micky Dolenz/Davy Jones/Michael Nesmith/Peter Tork)
5."No Time" (2:09) (Hank Cicalo)
6."Early Morning Blues and Greens" (2:35) (Diane Hildebrand/Jack Keller)
7."Randy Scouse Git" (aka "Alternate Title") (2:35) (Micky Dolenz)

For my money, this is a pretty good side. "No Time" is nothing brilliant, but it jams along. I think everything here is good. Indeed, the first two go very well together. "Mr. Webster" is a perfect second song. "Zilch" is indeed twice as long as it needed to be, but like The Beach Boys, The Monkees in "nutty mode" is just a bunch of kids goofing around around a mic, and you get what you get. It's still only a minute long .. and yet ... it's one of those '60s avant-garde touchstones (like "Number nine, number nine...") that despite it being a random throwaway, is still instantly remembered by people.
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Re: Hey hey we're listening to the Monkees

Postby Quaco » 02 Apr 2012, 19:37

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Brother Spoon wrote:Right now, the two songs I'm really into are 'Love is only sleeping' and 'Words' - those are terrific. The first three songs are all good, there's nothing wrong with them, but they don't seem to excite me ('She hangs out' comes closest.)

I think "Salesman" gets better over time. I didn't like it initially, but I just warmed to the rhythm of it. "Love Is Only Sleeping" is indeed fantastic! One of their best songs, for me. Great riff, great sound, good lyrics, neat rhythmic things that are tricky but totally work.

Brother Spoon wrote:And this side 2 has my favorite stretch of the album 'Pleasant valley sunday / Daily nightly / Don't call on me'. Pleasant valley sunday is magical. Daily nightly: at first I thought the weird sounds didn't fit the song, but I grew into it. Doesns't he sing it a bit like Grace Slick? I think so.

That is a great run, especially "Don't Call on Me", which is a true gem of a song. The other song on which Micky really sounds like Grace Slick is "Zor and Zam" (from The Birds, The Bees...). It really is uncanny!

Zilth Pilchards wrote:I also really dig "Don't Call On Me".

Right on man!
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