ALBUM DETAILS FOR “REMEMBER”:
Artist: Micky Dolenz
Album Title: Remember
Release Date: September 25, 2012 on Robo Records
Producer: David Harris
Lead/Background Vocals: Micky Dolenz
Studio Photography: Christopher Voelker at VoelkerStudio.com
Live Photo of Micky: Emily Dolenz at EmilyDolenz.com
It’s been two years since Micky Dolenz released an album; a tribute to Carole King featuring his performances of all her songs. This time around with “Remember“, we get a potpourri of genres and styles but all while maintaining Dolenz’s signature style. Mixing the old with the new, this album comes together in the studio brilliantly. David Harris produced the album and the arrangements were done by both Harris and Dolenz, making “Remember” an insightful taste of what you would hear at a Micky Dolenz live concert. It’s simply and purely, Dolenz.
Good Morning, Good Morning (Lennon/McCartney)
This is a slightly tamer version of The Beatles song, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Dolenz releases his inner crooner on this track and he takes the song in a whole new direction. Micky is a brave man for continuing to cover songs by artists like Carole King and The Beatles because they are songs that people already have burned into their brains and have enjoyed as one way for many years. Micky breaks tradition and adds his distinctive flair as he does with everything and it works. It’s not The Beatles, but it’s something just as special.
An Old Fashioned Love Song (Paul Williams)
Micky describes this as a “Song That I Should Have Done But Didn’t.” It eventually went to Three Dog Night but Dolenz has done it now and made it completely his own. We get to hear Micky bust out his scatting skills in full glory on this track and it really showcases just how far his voice has evolved over the years. It combines bluegrass and Cat Calloway but maintains a modern edge that only Dolenz can create.
Diary (David Gates)
Back in the late 1960s, Micky passed on this David Gates song not wanting to do a ballad and to be honest, I’m glad he didn’t do it back then. I suspect it would have been over-the-top cheesy but then again, I’m just not a huge ballad fan. I grew up in an era of The Beastie Boys, Rage Against the Machine and Nirvana. I could never get into the slow, long drawn out ballads of yesteryear. Micky’s version of “Diary” on this album changed my opinion of the old ballad and incorporates some real heavy rock flair, similar to Coldplay. It starts slow but Dolenz breaks the song wide open and belts out one of the greatest rock anthems I’ve heard in years. When he sings, “As I go through my life, I will give to her my wife, oh sweet things I can find,” I literally get chills!
Many Years (David Harris)
This is a fun little ditty, one that makes you think that Micky is singing it right to you. The song was written by David Harris who also produced “Remember” and it is a sweet song that takes itself into Queen territory. This is one of the more contemporary sounding tracks on the album with subtle hints of indie rock though never straying far from its love song roots. And the best part? The song ends with the drum riff from the beginning of The Monkees show.
Sometime In The Morning (Carole King/Gerry Goffin)
This song was performed by The Monkees on the album “More of The Monkees” (released January 1967). People who loved the original will be satisfied with Dolenz’s latest version. It’s a beautiful song and this version has me convinced that even though the song was written decades before I was born, I feel as if Micky is singing it directly to me. His voice has evolved and matured but unlike his contemporaries, Dolenz’s voice has only gotten better with age.
Quiet Desperation (Micky Dolenz)
This is my favorite song on the album. I have a way of listening to new albums, especially when I know I’ll be reviewing them. First I listen to the songs that I am dying to hear. Then I start listening to the album from start to finish, really paying attention to the melody, instruments, lyrics and quality. Once I’ve done this a few times, I finally open the album notes to see the songwriters and studio musicians. When I first heard this song, it reminded me heavily of Nine Times Blue. It has a similar melody and strong country twang. I always thought Micky was a good country crooner but got overshadowed by Michael Nesmith during their Monkees days. In recent years, Dolenz has really embraced his inner hillbilly and as with everything else, he does it well!
Randy Scouse Git (Micky Dolenz)
This is the first song Micky Dolenz wrote for The Monkees to perform and it was always one of my favorites. He wrote the song while visiting the UK in 1967 and it is about his time with The Beatles and meeting his first wife, Samantha Juste. This version takes the original and throws it on its head. Gone is the carefree hippie loved up Monkees song and now we have an older Dolenz giving it a hardened rock and roll edge. This is what two divorces does to a song, I suppose.
Johnny B. Goode (Chuck Berry)
Is it blasphemous to say I prefer Micky Dolenz’s version of Johnny B. Goode more than Chuck Berry’s? Dolenz brings the song into 2012 without losing its authenticity. It’s quicker than the original and I’d be interested to hear it with a jungle or electronica backing beat. I could see this song being remixed and played at dance clubs!
Sugar, Sugar (Jeff Barry, Andy Kim)
Urban legend says this song was originally written for The Monkees before Michael Nesmith decided to wage war against using any songs that didn’t bear their names on the writing credits. Instead it went to The Archies and became a massive success. It could easily have been done (and done well) by The Monkees in the 1960s but then we probably wouldn’t have gotten Dolenz’s version in 2012. While keeping the lightheartedness of the original, Micky also turns the song into something slightly sexual.
Do Not Ask For Love (Michael James Murphy)
Here we have another Monkees song that was a very psychedelic pop trip back in the 60s on 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee and also appeared on the album Missing Links 2. The song is a choir director’s dream. It begs for choral arrangement and harmonizing, which Dolenz has always excelled at. In this version, Micky keeps the eeriness of the original but really showcases the vocal excellence the song was intended to have.
I’m A Believer (Neil Diamond)
Oh, the classic I’m A Believer. As Dolenz loves to say, “I performed this song long before Shrek did!” I’ve heard Micky perform this song at every show I’ve had the pleasure of seeing. In recent years, he has done it more like this version on “Remember” than the original. Dolenz once again brings some country twang to a pop standard while maintaining its upbeat sing-a-long quality. It’s just as good as the original and fans will appreciate the funky new take on the song.
Remember (Harry Nilsson)
Micky Dolenz and Harry Nilsson were dear friends up until Nilsson’s death in 1994. Here Dolenz pays tribute to his friend and it’s a perfect end to an album that has taken its listeners on a journey through time. It’s a really full sounding song and the arrangement is again reminiscent of a Coldplay song. Harris perfectly crafts the song to finish the album and it’s the type of track that Micky has always done well with. The song gets a little corny as it breaks into a long guitar solo but then comes back together and ultimately feels like a power love ballad.
Overall, I would give this album a 9/10. Part of me still dreams that Micky will take even more chances with his choices in recording. I’d love to hear a dance album or a folk album with all original songs by Micky. “Remember” is by far Micky’s best solo work to date and I highly recommend it to both fans and critics. It’s a work of art!