I get bored almost to tear when I hear sixties rock fans dismiss the Monkees music as garbage. Their reason? Oh, they don't play their own instruments! Well, you still think it's good music right? Oh yeah, but they don't play their own instruments, so it stinks! Such a brilliant arguement, eh?
1. (Theme From) The Monkees: Their opening song is almost the definition of sixties pop music. A fun and classic way to kick off the album. 9 out of 10 stars.
2. Last Train To Clarksville: Their first number 1 was at number one for a reason. Love the riffs, even if it's reminiscent of the Beatles' Paperback Writer! 9 out of 10.
3. I Wanna Be Free: Davy's aching ballad. So sincere, you can almost think that he meant the words and wasn't just reading his musical lyrics. 8 out of 10.
4. I'm A Believer: A HUGE staple of the sixties. Still in good rotation at you local classic rock radio station. It's one of their best! 10 out of 10.
5. (I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone: A heavy song for the Monkees, Dolenz rocks out with the best of them here. 8.5 out of 10.
6. Mary, Mary: Nothing too special with this song. Interesting guitar licks, but simplistic lyrics hurt. 7.5 out of 10.
7. A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You: A Neil Diamond written gem. Davy shows why he's one of the more popular Monkees on this track. 8.5 out of 10.
8. The Girl I Knew Somewhere: The beat is complex, and so are the lyrics. It's a good song. Period. 7.5 out of 10.
9. Randy Scouse Git: What's not to like? An overlooked Monkee classic done ALL BY THEMSELVES, putting to rest the beginning argument. 9.5 out of 10.
10. Pleasant Valley Sunday: They're on a roll here! I love the guitar and the semi-psychedelic Goffin/King images. You need to hear it to believe it. 9.5 out of 10.
11. Words: A competent B-side to PVS. Pete's backing vocal is a welcome addition. 8 out of 10.
12. Daydream Believer: Not only does it have one of the most catchy choruses ever (I challenge you to get it out!), it also has some enjoyable piano. 10 out of 10.
13. Goin' Down: Jazz, Monkee style! Another overlooked gem, eclipsed by Daydream... It sounds like Micky's going to pass out with his awesome lead vocal. 9 out of 10.
14. Valleri: It takes time, but you'll like it. I still think Goin' Down eserves to be their last big hit instead of this one though. 8 out of 10.
15. DW Washburn: The Monkees take a nosedive in sales and creativity here. This could have easily been replaced by earlier Monkees hits by underrepresented Mike Nesmith. 6 out of 10.
16. It's Nice To Be With You: See above. 5 out of 10.
17. Porpoise Song (Theme To Head): So many people find this song to be one of their best later hits. Not me. I still think they're reeling from the lack of interest. Too psychedelic too late, although relaxing at times. 6.5 out of 10.
18. Listen To The Band: Again, so man people find this to be a big later hit. This time, I agree. Mike's country flavor adds soul to the then-trio of Monkees. After this, they all but diappeared for more than a decade. 9 out of 10.
19. That Was Then, This Is Now: This was The Monkees beginning their eighties comeback. You can immediately tell. It sound more dated than the sixties hits, but it's still enjoyable. 8 out of 10.
20. Heart And Soul: This song is one of the main reasons I still own this hits collection and not the new one. This is an eighties pop rock treasure. The guitars are simply irresistible (80s humor... pardon the pun.). 9 out of 10.
Overall rating: 8.5 stars. This album is good, clean fun. You don't have to skip around often, and still enjoy the sounds of the sixties.