Instant Replay - Colgems 1969
The group's popularity in general was also waning at this point, and there would be no more top 20 hit-singles. Since their two fine 1967 albums, they had not really worked as a band on their recordings. It was more or less 4 solo artists working on the same overall concept. This is very clearly the case on this album. A very mixed bag of family pop, country and a few leftovers from earlier sessions given new overdubs ( strings etc. ).
Though the general impression may be one of a group falling apart, there are some fine moments on the album. Especially Mike Nesmith shines. He was obviously the greatest musical capacity in the group. His musical direction had always tended towards country, and even more on this album. His songs are not spoiled by too heavy production like many other tracks.
The sparsely instrumentated "While I Cry" is very moving, and Nesmith's version of the Goffin/King song "I Won't Be the Same Without Her" is pure pleasure; almost Byrds-like. His two country-flavoured bonus-tracks "Carlisle Wheeling" and "St Matthew" are great additions that both would have helped the original album, had they been included.
Mickey Dolenz, usually considered the lead-vocalist, is in front on two leftovers from the 1966 sessions. "Through the Looking Glass" could have been a fine track, but the new overdubbed version lacks the charm of the early recordings. The bonus-track version of the song is probably the track that sounds the most like early Monkees. "Tear Drop City" is another early Boyce/Hart production, sounding very much like a "Last Train to Clarkesville" rip-off. Somehow the song never really works, still one of the better Dolenz tracks. The rest of his songs are either too much family-pop or too heavily produced.
Even worse are most Davy Jones tracks. Best is probably is the sing-along pop-tune with a very Beatles-inspired production. His own "You and I" could probably have been a good song, but suffers from too heavy production. The rest are at best forgettable. Among the bonus tracks the single "Someday Man" is passable.