CD Review: The Monkees

The Monkees
The Monkees: Deluxe Edition
More of the Monkees: Deluxe Edition
By David Chiu

The original prefab group, the Monkees were American TV executives’ answer to the Beatles. Although the Monkees never matched the Beatles in terms of influence, let alone musicianship (although the members of the Monkees genuinely had some musical talent other than being photogenic), they made some tuneful pop music thanks to hit songwriters such as Boyce and Hart, Goffin and King, Neil Sedaka and Neil Diamond. Collectively, the self-titled debut and More of the Monkees don’t really deviate from the pop formula, nor do they contrast each other greatly other than offering some pleasant pop: “Last Train to Clarksville,” “(Theme from) the Monkees,” “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” and their best song “I’m a Believer.” More’s “The Girl I Could Love,” one of the few songs written by a Monkee—in this case Mike Nesmith—is a strong song. These deluxe editions offer both the original stereo and mono versions of the albums and a slew of bonus material including alternate takes. Compared to the many fabricated pop groups that came after them, the Monkees were definitely one of the better ones.


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