Friday, 16 March 2012
Greetings, Interweb Peoples!
Well, it's the time of the week again, time for another installment of:
If you don't know already, each Friday I post a playlist of songs on a theme. Feel free to play along if you wish. There are no rules and you can interpret the theme however you wish. (Or, do as @Rob_of_the_Sky did and completely ignore the theme )
Anyway, this week, the theme is called All From One, and I guess I have to explain it a little bit.
Rather than going with a subject matter for songs, this week I've decided to post a number of songs by one artist/band/group/etc in particular. I plan to repeat this theme with other bands/artists/groups in the near future.
For this week, inspired by @promisesunshine and the recent passing of one Davy Jones, this week's group is...
Before I begin, let me explain a few things.
Back in High School I was not a casual Monkees fan, I was a pretty serious Monkees fan, which means that I read all the liner notes and memorized a lot of the lyrics and knew the birthdays and favorite colors of the guys, even though the band had broken up by the time I was born. As such, this will not be a post filled with the classics like Daydream Believer, Pleasant Valley Sunday, and the theme song of Hey, Hey, We're the Monkees. No, this is going to be some obscure stuff that maybe you never heard before.
Now, if you're not familiar with the group, here's the background story. The Monkees were formed in order to be a television show. A bunch of Hollywood producer types got together and held auditions for musicians/actors to be in this "band," and then they hired a bunch of studio musicians to play most of the instruments on the "band's" songs. Two of The Monkees, Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork, were actually quite accomplished musicians, and in fact Nesmith wrote quite a few songs (only a handful of which ended up as Monkees songs), but Peter Tork barely appears on their first album, and Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones were mostly actors. Jones had done musical theater (most notably a performance of Oliver which landed him on The Ed Sullivan Show the same night that the Beatles premiered in America) and could sing, and was generally set up as the "heart-throb."
Anyway, eventually The Monkees became enough of an actual band that they went on tour together (their opening act at one point was Jimi Hendrix, which was undoubtedly an odd combination) and by their third album they staged a revolt and recorded it by themselves, and then went on to record a number of other albums even after their TV show was cancelled after two seasons.
(That's all info from the top of my head, by the way. If you want more in detail, go read Wikipedia).
Without further ado, let me thus present some Monkees songs. :)
As always, these are in no particular order.
1. Love is Only Sleeping
Most of the vocals on Monkees songs were divided between Micky & Davy, but Mike did get to sing a few himself, especially songs he had written himself, like this one. His songs usually have a bit of a country vibe to them, but this one has a bit of the psychedelic vibe as well, which is common in a few tunes they did. I like this song because it's an optimistic love song, and more often Mike's love songs are more depressing and dismal.
2. Saturday's Child
If I had to pick a favorite Monkee, it'd probably be Micky, because I liked his voice and I liked his playful personality and I liked that he had wild and curly hair, like me. I'm pretty sure I was born on a Saturday, so naturally I like this song. :)
3. Your Auntie Grizelda
Ah, poor Peter. Unbeknownst to most Monkees fans, Peter Tork is actually a musical prodigy, but he played the "dumb" one on the TV show, so many fans have that impression of him. He doesn't get to sing on many songs, and this song probably is not the best example of his vocal skills.
All these videos, by the way, are taken from TV episodes. It's been forever since I've seen any of them, but I'm fairly certain that in this episode, the Monkees are made to take over some sort of children's program, like Captain Kangaroo-type thing, and are quickly overwhelmed by the children. What this has to do with Your Auntie Grizelda, I'm not quite certain, but in most cases the song that played during these episodes had little to do with the content. Maybe, since it's kind of a silly song, they figured they'd put it in with the kids?
4. Star Collector
Okay, to make a confession, Davy Jones was probably my least favorite Monkee. Which is not to say I didn't like him, just that I didn't love him the way you were kind of supposed to. Most of his songs are kind of sappy love songs, and don't really appeal to me, but I like this one. It's sort of a satire on fans who really just hang out with famous people to use them, and it won't be too long before he gets her off his mind. At the end, it devolves into a Moog Synthesizer-fest, which is just bizarre enough that I like it.
Ah, and the video, yeah, I'm sure I watched this episode and I guess it had something to do with aliens, but I don't remember the plot at all, sorry.
5. Papa Gene's Blues
And so, having cycled through the band, I return to Mike Nesmith. This song is obviously more in the country vein, with the steel guitar and all that, which Mike was quite fond of. I particularly like the line, "I have no more than I did before, but now I've got all that I need, for I love you and I know you love me." Romance, there. :)
This episode, I think was about the Monkees somehow ending up in the middle of one of those hillbilly feuds (see the Hatfields and McCoys), and someone or other was in love with Davy (aren't they all?) and kidnapped him, thus escalating the feud, which explains why he's stuffed inside a bag in most of this video.
6. I'll Be Back Upon My Feet
The choice of a second Micky-sung song was a difficult one. I've already posted Randy Scouse Git, which is one of my absolute favorites. Going Down is a good showcase for his vocal skills in general, but to be honest I'm not incredibly fond of it. So I settled on this song. I like it because it's pretty optimistic and motivating, and probably could have been used in that playlist. It reminds me of another song, These Boots Are Made For Walking, which is also about boots and being on the feet and so relates somehow, right? Right?
This video also I don't know what's going on. General silliness, I suppose.
This one is cheating a bit, since it's sort of a duet between Micky & Peter, but it's an awesome song anyway. What I love about this video is how thrilled Davy is to jingle the wind chimes. Which, by the way, i think is a pretty cool effect. And the song itself is pretty cool, too, at least I think so.
I'm really horrible about saying what I like about these songs. That's what happens when you don't have a very good musical vocabulary. So I can't say things like how I love the chord progression or the key changes or the time signature. My musical education is sadly lacking. ::sigh::
8. Hold On Girl
To be honest, I don't remember hearing this song in my Monkee-fanatic days, probably because I don't think it was used in any episodes...a conclusion I reached by the fact that this song didn't really have any videos on youtube. Hmm. This album, their second, was not one that I actually owned, and I might have skipped over it just because I knew it was a Davy song...and as I mentioned, I was never fond of Davy songs.
HOWEVER. In recent weeks I have been listening to nearly every Monkees song ever created, on Spotify, and so I realized to my astonishment that I actually like the song. I like the the drum, I like the keyboard part, and I like the...tone, I suppose is the word that I can use. I want to say something about there being a lot of minor notes, but that sounds silly so I won't. Except I just did. Oh well. Also, I like the lyrics, because rather than just saying, "Oh I love you, yes," to some girl, Davy is actually trying to be helpful and comforting to a girl who needs a bit of love. Which is inspiring and nice and all that jazz.
9. Magnolia Simms
Okay, one more, because I found the original of this song on Youtube, and I wasn't able to before, so I have to share it. :)
This Mike Nesmith song was written after he came across some records from the 1920s, and he liked them so much that he decided to do his own song in a similar style. Complete with record skips and grainy noise filter. It never appeared in the show, either, probably because it was so...odd, that they didn't know what to do with it. Also odd is the random warbling falsetto he goes into at several points. O.o
I purchased the CD this song came on when I was in college and played it in my dorm room. I had heard it before and wanted to hear it again, so I immediately skipped to the track in question. When it gets to the point where the "record" "skips," my roommate was like, "What? They sold you a defective CD? Let's take it back!"
So, that's that and thus ends this week's playlist. I should throw in a question here, right? So, um
What did you think of these songs? Have you heard them before? Did you hate them? (If you did, please don't tell me.)
Okay, that's done.
AWESOME COVER SONGS.
Is that all? Yes, that's all.