This is The Monkees' 'real' album, made up of a bunch of self-composed songs, and where almost every instrument is played by the group, under the direction of Chip Douglas.
And it's good! Once given the chance to be creative, the group craft a homey inoffensive album with a light country-rock-ish sound, such that a listener would be hard-pressed to believe it came from a 'manufactured' band.
lacks a stick-in-your-head single, The Monkees make up for that with a very pleasant album full of wonderful songs and surprisingly good instrumental performances. Peter Tork finally gets to shine on piano and guitar, and everyone gets in some great vocals.
Mann & Weil's "Shades of Grey" is a stunningly lovely song, enhanced (as they all are) by an unpretentious mostly acoustic arrangement and ethereal harmonies. Boyce & Hart's "I'll Spend My Life With You" is almost as nice, as is Douglas's "Forget That Girl", which has a memorable fade.
Nesmith contributes three fun, identical country raveups, one of which starts with She owns and operates her own sunshine factory
, a phrase that I really like for some reason. Tork and Dolenz prove themselves with the rocking "For Pete's Sake", and the fun unclassifiable "Randy Scouse Git", respectively.
The only downers are the pleasant but half-baked "Early Morning Blues and Greens" and "Mr. Webster", a boring character sketch. On the other hand, there's a Little Richard ripoff called "No Time", which is a powerful shot of adrenaline with a strong Dolenz vocal.
is enjoyable without being self-indulgent, which I imagine was hard to do in the 60's.Rated:
by Reviewer: Cosmic Ben
(blogging at Cosmic Ben [Defunct]