This disc is a reminder of what a great singles band the Monkees were. You could stack up these 11 songs against almost any other band's Top 11, and the Monkees would prevail. Some might even say they give the Beatles a run for their money. Songs like "I'm a Believer," "Stepping Stone," "Last Train to Clarksville," and "Daydream Believer" are timeless classics in anyone's book. There is not a weak song to be found, and on that account, The Essentials is almost a better compilation than the Monkees' Greatest Hits compilation from 1995. While that disc includes some classic songs that weren't hit singles and presents a more complete picture of the band, it also includes some of the group's later, inferior work and two tracks from the '80s reunion years. The Essentials focuses on the early years when the Monkees were a hit-producing juggernaut; the only track from their later period is the bewitching "Porpoise Song" from the Head soundtrack. If you are looking for great non-single tracks, check out the Anthology collection or better yet, the Music Box box set. If you are looking for just the hits, this disc certainly delivers.
The Essentials Review
by Tim Sendra