The Monkees

I'm a Believer and Other Hits

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From the Rhino Records budget subsidiary Flashback comes the ten-track I'm a Believer and Other Hits EP. While there is no indication on the front cover artwork, this release has several notable inclusions -- chief among them the previously unreleased ballad "Ceiling in My Room." Also included -- in a decidedly haphazard running order -- are the A- and B-sides of the 45s "I'm a Believer"/"I'm Not Your Steppin' Stone," "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You"/"The Girl I Knew Somewhere," and "Someday Man"/"Listen to the Band." Although neither "Cuddly Toy" nor "Shades of Gray" were issued as singles, they were included on the 1969 Monkees Greatest Hits package. "Heart and Soul" is the A-side of their first single for Rhino Records from their 1987 reunion flop, Pool It! This compilation has taken a lot of flak from casual fans as well as collectors. "Ceiling in My Room" -- the only unique track on the disc -- is best described as a weepy and introspective milquetoast affair sung by Davy Jones. After less than 30 seconds, it is easy to understand why this track has rightfully remained vaulted. It is wholly unequal to even the most tepid of Jones contributions to any Monkees recording. In fact, "On the Day We Fall in Love" from More of the Monkees seems aggressive by comparison. The other side of the argument is that this is indeed a bargain-priced compilation. However, more important for the insatiable Monkees enthusiast are the lesser-circulated 45 versions of the tracks issued as singles. For example, "I'm a Believer" and "I'm Not Your Steppin' Stone" contain notably different mixes. While this 1997 disc is relatively easy to locate, the same cannot be said of Daydream Believer and Other Hits, which includes the unissued side "You Can't Tie a Mustang Down" and was inexplicably discontinued shortly after its 1998 release.

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