The Monkees’ ‘Greatest Hits’ Offers Guilty Pleasures

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ImageThe Monkees, who may have gone further with less talent than any pop artist or group since Fabian, generally left songwriting, production, and even instrumental chores in more capable hands. All the assistance notwithstanding, moreover, they still managed to come up with such vapidities as “I Wanna Be Free” (a musical Hallmark card), “I’m a Believer” (one of the most dispassionate love tunes of all time), and “Pleasant Valley Sunday” (which may be the dumbest protest song ever written). When I’m home alone, nevertheless, I sometimes sneak a listen to this CD, which includes those tunes plus “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You,” “Last Train to Clarksville” and 15 other selections. Blame the power of a hook, the Monkees’ indefinable charm, my penchant for nostalgia, and, possibly, brain damage.

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