The Monkees, Head, and the 60s
Published by Jawbone Press
Dec 21, 2016 Web Exclusive
Peter Mills, in addition to being an author, is also Senior Lecturer in Media and Popular Culture at Leeds Beckett University. He has used The Monkees' bizarre 1968 film Head in his teaching. It's probably no wonder then that his latest book, The Monkees, Head, and the 60s is very much the scholarly work.
The Monkees, Head, and the 60s is broken into sections chronicling The Monkees' history from different perspectives-pre-band, the television show, live performances, recorded music, post-band history, and of course, Head. Each section is meticulous in its detail, and while each facet of the Monkees phenomenon is discussed, it's Head that gets the most space herein.
Mills attacks Head from multiple angles. He discusses the genesis of the film and the soundtrack, but most of the meat is in laying out the film itself. For just shy of 100 pages, Mills picks the film apart, scene by scene. Metaphor and meaning are discussed. Symbolism is explained. As an academic work, it succeeds marvelously, but as a casual read it's a bit tedious. Throughout the book, and especially during the Head discussion, a modicum of background knowledge is assumed. One who hasn't seen the film recently, might not be able to pick apart the text with as much understanding as if, say, one was reading while watching (or after each scene).
This said, The Monkees, Head, and the 60s is as complete an examination of The Monkees phenomenon as is out there. There's no filler. There are few cute stories. Mills buckles down and examines things with a critical eye. The book is not for laypeople. It rewards study, the same sort of study that it's obvious Mills put into its writing.
Author rating: 7/10
Average reader rating: 9/10
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