Good bands, fast popularity, teenybopper marketing Part I (More of The Monkees)

This is the first installment of a planned four-part series on “What happens when good bands become very popular very quickly, and are also heavily pimped to teenyboppers.” Part I is a review of More of The Monkees (expanded from my old Angelfire review from 2002), Part II will review Seven and the Ragged Tiger, Part III will discuss Herman’s Hermits’ albums, and Part IV will discuss the shameless Capital repackagings of The Beatles’ albums through 1966. If you don’t share my taste in music, please don’t waste your time and energy writing some long rant in the comments. It was bad enough when the two Arbots did that on my only post to have comments closed.

Original review, edited:

4 stars

Now keep in mind that I am a fan, and have been so for like three-quarters of my life so far. If I weren’t such a huge and longtime devoted fan, I probably wouldn’t blink at assigning 3 or 3.5 stars to this mediocre collection of songs. I like the music, but recognise that it’s just not their greatest album and that the songs aren’t memorable or classics.

This album suffers from the fact that it’s all mostly teenypop, the kind of songs I would change stations on as fast as humanly possible if I heard them from any other group. While I enjoy these songs very much as a fan, I still have enough perspective and critical thinking skills to see it as what it is, a bunch of songs that just aren’t up to snuff with the rest of their songs. Even their début album is a lot better than this!

The album contains:

Three incredibly schmaltzy songs sung by Davy—“Hold on Girl,” “The Day We Fall in Love,” and “When Loves Comes Knocking (At Your Door).” The lattermost is the best of the bunch.

Three classics—“I’m a Believer,” “She,” and “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone.”

Two Mike numbers—“Mary, Mary” and “The Kind of Girl I Could Love.”

A throwaway, “Laugh.”

Two great, underrated songs—“Sometime in the Morning” and “Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow).”

A fun song sung by Peter, “Your Auntie Grizelda.”

Most are ultimately filler. Now granted, I find them enjoyable filler, but someone who hasn’t been a fan as long as I have probably isn’t going to see it like that. By 1966 standards, it’s not terrible, but given that The Monkees made far greater albums than this throwaway, I wouldn’t recommend a new fan to start out with this one.

Expanded comments:

This is like the ultimate epitome of what happens when a good band gets super-popular super-fast, and has also suffered from being heavily pimped to teenyboppers. It doesn’t matter how good you are; once you’ve gotten the stigma of having millions of screaming teen girls as fans, critics don’t take you seriously. It can take a long time, if ever, for that taboo to fade away and people to discover there’s actual musical substance behind the former hype.

The Monkees themselves didn’t even know about this album till they saw it in stores. They had no idea these songs they’d recorded had been thrown onto an album which was rushed into stores to keep the legions of new fans happy. They didn’t even know that photograph had been intended as an album cover. The powers that be saw The Monkees as product, guys to make money for them. They didn’t respect The Monkees as artists or a real band. The band hated the cover image and the liner notes, which didn’t even mention their names first.

The band also weren’t happy with the songs included. Mike in particular was very unhappy about them. He was the one who fought hardest from day one for them to have more creative control, including writing more songs and playing more instruments. Thankfully, their intense lobbying efforts eventually succeeded, and their other albums were a lot better.

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7 thoughts on “Good bands, fast popularity, teenybopper marketing Part I (More of The Monkees)

  1. The Monkees remind me of childhood. I remember seeing them on various syndicated shows. I liked some of their songs, and I can see how too much fame too fast can affect a band’s image. Even with teenybopper bands of my time, some members aren’t taken seriously, or it takes years for them to mold a new image.

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  2. Pingback: Frank Sinatra: The Teen Idol Years | Welcome to My Magick Theatre

  3. Pingback: The Monkees at 50, Part I (Monkeemania begins) | Welcome to My Magick Theatre

  4. Pingback: The Monkees at 50, Part II (Discography) | Welcome to My Magick Theatre

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