The Monkees-Porpoise Song

As with everything related to The Monkees, the starting point for their adventure into feature length film is The Beatles.  Just as much a satire of A Hard Day’s Night as it is their own version of it, Head was a music industry send-up with new songs by the band.  The most famous, Porpoise Song, acted as the film’s theme.  Rather than doubling-down on their pop radio sound, The Monkees stretched themselves into unfamiliar territory while composing the tracks, experimenting with psychedelic sounds that mirrored the non-linear, surrealism of the movie.  The new stuff was largely considered a disappointment, baffling fans, but with time, it’s easy to respect Porpoise Song as breezy, psychedelia-lite. The nonsensical lyrics (written by Carole King) are a nod to Beatles songs like I Am The Walrus, but the organ-heavy, majestic procession of the track gives it surprising heft.  A heavily overdubbed vocal imbues it with the quality of a dark dream.  It’s no surprise then that the song would eventually pop up on the soundtrack for Cameron Crowe’s Vanilla Sky, a film all about the overlapping spaces between dreaming and reality.  For a band that always had the deck stacked against them, they used Head as an opportunity to push themselves far past anyone’s expectations.

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