Forever the Monkees

by: The Monkees

The Monkees were, of course, assembled more for their acting and comedic abilities than any musical ones, and many of their songs were simply disposable vehicles for a huge marketing machine, but the group eventually developed musical aspirations that yielded some strikingly good pop songs, including capable covers of Neil Diamond's "A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You" and Harry Nilsson's "Cuddly Toy," as well as Michael Nesmith's own "The Girl I Knew Somewhere," the pop gem "Pleasant Valley Sunday," and the pleasantly psychedelic "Porpoise Song," all of which are included in this three-disc collection (at 30 tracks total, this could have easily been a double disc, or with a little editing, a super single disc). Also here is the Monkees' first single, "Last Train to Clarksville," which in retrospect was a pretty good debut (even if they didn't play their own instruments on it). This isn't the perfect introduction to the Monkees, but it does do a decent job of spotlighting a group that was, in hindsight, no worse than -- and in many cases, better than -- what passed for cool and hip at the close of the 1960s. ~ Steve Leggett

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