Please note, territorial restrictions may apply to this product.
As a member of the first-ever manufactured group, Michael Nesmith needs little introduction. Aside from his ground-breaking projects in the field of music video and film production, he has enjoyed a solo career since he left the Monkees that has encompassed many styles of music, but has always been supported by his wonderful songwriting.
This release gathers up some of the best of Nesmith’s work for his own company, Pacific Arts. It includes different versions of the hit “Rio”, and “Carioca” and “Magic”, as well as eight songs only previously available on the long-deleted 1989 compilation “The Newer Stuff”. Five of these eight songs were intended for the nevermade musical “Videoranch”, whilst another two appeared in the “Televison Parts” TV programme. The remainder of the songs have been compiled from Nesmith’s Pacific Arts albums “Radio Engine”, “The Prison”, “Tropical Campfires” and “Live At The Britt Festival”.
The five promo videos on the bonus DVD appeared on Nesmith’s Grammy™ Award-winning TV show “Elephant Parts”, although the film for “Rio” was originally made to promote the UK single release. This is the first time they have been commercially released in Europe.
The booklet features previously unpublished photos from Nesmith’s own collection, as well as extensive and revealing brand new annotation by Nez himself, the first time that he has written at length about this material.
|| ||Rio (Alternate Mix)|
|| ||More Than We Imagine|
|| ||Carioca (Alternate Mix)|
|| ||Magic (Extended Coda)|
|| ||Life, The Unsuspecting Captive|
|| ||Yellow Butterfly|
|| ||Laugh Kills Lonesome|
|| ||I Am Not That|
|| ||...For The Island|
|| ||Papa Gene's|
|| ||Different Drum|
|| ||Total Control|
|| ||I'll Remember You|
|| ||Formosa Diner|
|| ||Tahiti Condo|
|| ||Eldorado To The Moon|
|| ||Chow Mein And Bowling|
|| ||Magic (Bonus DVD)|
|| ||Tonite (Bonus DVD)|
|| ||Cruisin' (Bonus DVD)|
|| ||Light (Bonus DVD)|
|| ||Rio (Bonus DVD)|
www.retromusicreview.com, September 08
During his stint in the Monkees, Michael Nesmith spent a lot of time fighting the good fight for creative control. After leaving the manufactured pop group, he proceeded to demonstrate just how creative he could be, once he had control. Forming his own media company, Pacific Arts, in the 1970s, he released albums, produced films and television, pioneered the concept of music video as an art form, and even sold a pilot to Time Warner that was the basis for the development of MTV. The Edsel label’s new Nesmith CD/DVD compilation, Pacific Arts, features some of the company’s finest output.
The DVD alone is worth the price. All five clips are from Nesmith’s Grammy-winning long form video Elephant Parts. Although the technical aspects of these clips are at times primitive, almost quaint, the visual style is incredibly arresting. Nesmith paints some unforgettable pictures, mixing the surreal and the sublime, the telling and the utterly silly. “Cruisin’” is awash in bright California sunshine, but behind the toothy smiles and the roller skating disco girls, there is a dark, sardonic wit. The retro doo wop pastiche “Magic” is a delightful blend of ‘50s soda shop kitsch and classic cinema references. “Tonite” is a hand-wringing indictment of his years as a Monkee, when he was “living inside of a little glass room, living inside of the tube.” The imagery and the lyrics on this one get progressively freaky and not a little disturbing. The imagery accompanying “Light,” on the other hand, is appropriately beautiful. The visuals sway with the music, building to a marvelous crescendo. The first video Nesmith ever made, “Rio,” also boasts the most hilarious gag in the set, as Nesmith struggles desperately to retrieve his lost shoe on the dance floor.
The CD is an excellent review of Nesmith’s work during the 1970s and ‘80s. Tracks 12 through 17 comprise the basis for Videoranch, a movie musical that was conceived by Nesmith in the ‘80s, but sadly, was never made. Inspired by the bizarre Gene Autry western/sci-fi serial, The Phantom Empire, Videoranch stands as yet another example of Nesmith’s strikingly original artistic vision. The songs are wonderfully weird. “Total Control” is a catchy, smiling declaration of megalomania, as Nesmith gleefully outlines his desire to rule the world with an iron fist. “Formosa Diner” is utterly melodramatic, laden with heavy guitar and foreboding lyrics about wonton and eggrolls. “Tahiti Condo” is a goofy, growling salute to glorious excess, celebrating the joy of owning “five million Tahiti condo(s)” and “six trillion Jacuzzi pools.”
Tracks from the albums Tropical Campfires (1992), The Newer Stuff (1989), From A Radio Engine To A Photon Wing (1977), and The Prison (1974) round out the collection. “Life, The Unsuspecting Captive,” from the high concept book and record set The Prison, is particularly fascinating. Like much of Nesmith’s work, it is operating on a philosophical level that is far beyond most pop music. Musically stunning, lyrically challenging, it speaks again to the great things that can be achieved when a true artist is allowed absolute control of his art.