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Album Review

The year 1969 was a tough one for the Monkees. Their TV show was long canceled, their special 33? Revolutions Per Monkee was kind of a disaster (running up against the Academy Awards), and Peter Tork left the band. Despite all this, Instant Replay, the album they released in February of 1969, is actually quite good. Made up of a couple older songs they dug out of the vaults and newly recorded tracks done separately by each member, there are moments of pop brilliance sprinkled throughout and each of the remaining Monkees truly shines (some more brightly or oddly than the others). The old songs are perfectly Monkees-sounding; “Tear Drop City” was written by old friends Boyce & Hart and rocks like the "Last Train to Clarksville" knockoff it is, and "I Won’t Be the Same Without Her" is the kind of melancholy Goffin & King ballad Nesmith was always able to knock out of the park. Of the songs done by individual Monkees, they break down along more or less predictable lines. Nesmith’s two songs are strong country-rock ballads; “Don’t Wait for Me” gently rollicks along and “While I Cry” has one of Mike’s tenderest vocals. Micky’s two are weird and musically scattered, but impressive all the same; “Just a Game” is a tightly wound song that sounds like one of Davy’s showstoppers with its guts ripped out, while "Shorty Blackwell" is harder to describe and hearing it makes you wish Micky had really dedicated himself to music after the Monkees split. If he could have cranked out a whole album as "Broadway on acid" as this, it would have been amazing. Davy’s songs played to his strengths but showed some artistic growth too. Yeah, he was reliably sappy (“Don’t Listen to Linda”) and happily bouncy (“Me Without You"), but he also showed an impressively adult side on Goffin & King’s sophisticated ballad “Man Without a Dream” and, with the help of Neil Young (!) on guitar, rocked very hard on a very tough-sounding “You and I.” When you add up the catchy pop tunes, the weirdness, the heartfelt emotion, and the overall sound of the record, it stands with the group’s best work. Too bad it was ignored at the time and the band quickly splintered afterwards. [The bonus tracks added to Rhino's 1995 reissue make the album even more impressive. The non-album single "Someday Man" is one of Davy's best songs; he gives the Paul Williams-penned track a healthy dose of bravado and style. The rest are outtakes and alternate versions, including a spare take of Nesmith's classic psych-country "Carlisle Wheeling."]

Customer Reviews

i thought this album was pretty darn good.

I personally loved this album, it had alot of great tunes on it and i really liked the colorful cover, one of my favorites, although it is really weird why rhino decided to go with different pictures for the cd release. Best song on here are: 3, 4, 6, 8, 11, 12, 13, 16 in fact 16 is one of my favorite songs, really it is ashame it was never released on an original album.

Monkees trio succeeds with ecclectic offering

INSTANT REPLAY was released in February 1969, right before Peter Tork departed the group after his final appearance as a Monkee in the television special "33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee." Though Tork is absent, the quality of the album does not suffer. INSTANT REPLAY, however, is more of a collection of solo songs by each remaining band member, all collected together under the name 'Monkees.' Michael Nesmith steals the show with his classic "While I Cry," a bittersweet ballad with wonderful backing vocals provided by Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones. Nesmith shines again on his own "Don't Wait For Me," as well as on Carole King's "I Won't Be The Same Without Her." Micky Dolenz provides, as usual, a great vocal on the should-have-been hit single "Through the Looking Glass" as well as his own composition, "Just A Game." Micky does his best to create a hit out of "Teardrop City" (#56) but the song suffers from sounding too much like "Last Train to Clarksville." However, Micky's self-penned "Shorty Blackwell" is easily the weirdest song in the catalog of the Monkees, but listen for the lyrical references to the other members of the band in it. Even Davy Jones delivers the hard rocking "You and I" on INSTANT REPLAY, written by Jones himself about the dwindling fortunes of the Monkees. And, oh yeah, that's Neil Young guesting on lead guitar. This album is also home to probably the greatest Jones vocal on record, "A Man Without a Dream," the B-side to "Teardrop City." Don't forget the excellent bonus selections of "Someday Man" (B-Side to the "Listen to the Band" single) and of course, "St. Matthew," another Nez masterpiece.

Instant Replay

This is the 1st Monkees LP without Peter Tork, and although it has a feel of 3 seperate sections, as Mike, Mikey and Davy recorded their songs seperately, it is a solid album, excellent in fact with the bonus tracks on the CD release by RHINO. The Nesmith songs ("I Won't Be The Same Without Her, " "Don't Wait For Me," etc..) have a very country rock feel and are the best of the bunch. Davy's "You and I" features a blistering lead guitar by then unknown Neil Young. Crystal clear production and excellent playing, but by then nobody in the music buisiness took them seriously and the teeny bops had also moved on to The Patridge Family and Osmonds and Jackson 5, so this was a great album without an audience, and the beginning of the end for the Monkees.


Formed: 1965 in Hollywood, CA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '10s

"Hey hey, we are the Monkees/You know we love to please/A manufactured image/With no philosophies." In 1968, the Monkees addressed their own reputation in the song "Ditty Diego (War Chant)," which summed up the bad rap they'd received in the music press since they first emerged in the summer of 1966. The Monkees were talented singers, musicians, and songwriters who made a handful of the finest pop singles of their day (as well as a few first-rate albums) and delivered exciting, entertaining live...
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