22 October 2007

My Monkees Conundrum

Michael Nesmith, Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork: I just dunno what to do with you guys.

The Monkees were a fictional pop-rock group; they were, quite simply, an American rip-off of The Beatles; more precisely a TV rip-off of The Beatles as seen in their Hard Day's Night and Help! films.

But due to the massive success of the TV show, the songs and the public's expectations, the four Monkees became a real pop group. But did they?

Davy, Micky, 'Wool Hat' and Peter Tork were cast after adverts were placed in trade publications like Variety calling for "folk & roll musicians" to play "four insane boys" on a new television series.

OK, so here's my beef: The Monkees were a sham, admittedly. They were the first fabricated boy-band. They were cooked up in a cauldron, like a baby in a test tube. They were a formula; someone elses monster in a lab.

But lets play devils advocate for a moment; lets forget about who they weren't for a minute and concentrate on who wrote their songs.

Before they tried to do it themselves — a misguided notion if there ever was one, which turned out better than it might have — they had the very best songwriters in the business. Put that together with the very best production staff and the best session musicians, and arguably, you can't help but come up with a few great records... and they did. America bought it; hook, line and sinker.

And that's my beef precisely: I like "Last Train to Clarksville", "I'm a Believer" and "Daydream Believer" and I love "Pleasant Valley Sunday" but sometimes it just irks me that these songs are little more than toys; with as much raw emotion as a commercial jingle!

I hate the fucking Patridge Family and all their "songs" and are they really any different than The Monkees? No. In fact both shows were produced by Screen Gems - a subsidiary company of Sony's Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group.

So when I hear these songs, I really wanna crank them up and wrap myself in their feel-good vibes but it just feels fake and, often times, the songs turn annoying in my brain.

Is anybody else down with me on this one? Does anyone else feel the same way? Hello?! Is this thing on?!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm 100% with you on this. I have a shameful love for the Monkees; the proof is in my ipod. I try to block out Neil Diamond and the studio musicians and just dig the songs. I also like telling people how The Monkees are better than the Beatles...always a crowd pleaser.