Thursday, October 1, 2020

"Heart and Soul" by The Monkees

Song#:  3274
Date:  09/26/1987
Debut:  89
Peak:  87
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  The Monkees had been riding a second wave of Monkeemania thanks to MTV airing episodes of the band's '67-'68 TV show. They further capitalized on their resurgence and recorded a few new tracks for a compilation, which included the surprise #20 hit "That Was Then, This Is Now." With that success, it was then decided the band would get together for a new album, which would be the first under The Monkees moniker since 1970. Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, and Davy Jones would move forward with the project with the fourth Monkee, Mike Nesmith, declining to participate. Like their early recordings, most songs for the album were by outside writers and session musicians were used. The LP would be titled Pool It! and this first single was released. Unfortunately, it seemed that the MTV generation's sudden love affair with The Monkees was over with the song disappearing after a month on the chart. That result along with negative reviews caused the album to stop at #78.

ReduxReviewPool It! is definitely not a good Monkees album. The production wasn't great and the song selections were subpar. They had an opportunity to come up with something cool that would take their 60s pop into the late 80s, but most of the songs that they chose (or were chosen for them) were mediocre pop tracks that any artist could have recorded. In other words, there was little that actually made the Monkees sound like the Monkees including this power pop-lite single. It was one of the better tracks on the LP, but it wasn't something that was going to fly up the chart. It just fell flat, mainly thanks to the arrangement and production. Justus (see below) was better, but they found their groove again with 2016's Good Times!, which featured some terrific songs, both new and old, and spot-on production. They hadn't sounded that Monkee-ish since the 60s. As for 80s Monkees, you may wanna skip it.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  After the failure of Pool It!, the trio that participated in the reunion would go on to do special performances and tours, some with and some without Mike Nesmith. In 1996, all four Monkees got together to do a proper album. Titled Justus, it featured new and revived material written by the band members and was performed and produced by the quartet. Neither the album nor any of its promoted singles reached the charts. The band would then tour on occasion in various iterations. Davy Jones would pass away later in 2012. Then in 2016, the surviving members of the band decided to get together to celebrate their 50th anniversary. A new album, Good Times!, produced by Adam Schlesinger (of Fountains of Wayne), was recorded and released. It would do well reaching #14. Two years later, they would get together for the holiday album Christmas Party. A few months after its release, Peter Tork would pass away. Since then, Dolenz and Nesmith have reunited and performed via The Monkees name as "The Mike & Mikey Show."


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