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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

If You Can Believe Your Eyes & Ears

The Mamas & The Papas

1966

If You Can Believe Your Eyes & Ears
Album Summary

If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears is the debut album by the Mamas and the Papas (written as The Mama's and the Papa's [sic]), released in 1966. The stereo mix of the album is included in its entirety on All the Leaves are Brown (2001), a two-CD retrospective compilation of the band's first four albums and various singles, as well as on The Mamas & the Papas Complete Anthology (2004), a four-CD box-set collection released in the UK. The mono mix of the album was remastered and reissued on vinyl by Sundazed Records in 2010, and on CD the following year. It is the band's only album to reach number one on the Billboard 200. In 2003, If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears was ranked number 127 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, with its rank rising to number 112 in the 2012 revision.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.41

Votes

13243

Genres

  • Pop
  • Rock
  • Folk
  • Psychedelic Rock

Reviews

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Sat May 01 2021
3

Most 60's groups had three choices: copy the beatles, copy the beach boys, or sexually abuse minors. These guys changed the game and did all three- Four stars!

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Fri Apr 09 2021
4

Great music, awful band/album name. This is their debut, and it features their two most enduring hits. Both "Monday, Monday" and "California Dreamin" are certified bangers. "California Dreamin" will always remind me of Chungking Express. Aside from these two songs, I enjoyed the rest but not much stood out to me. Their whole bit is the layered vocal harmonies, and that alone isn't enough to carry an album. But there's a nice variety to the songs, and I like how the lead vocalist would change for different songs. I would definitely put this over one or both of the Kinks albums we've heard from the same era, but not too much higher honestly. On a positive note, they sound like Scooby-Doo music to me. Favorite tracks: California Dreamin, Monday Monday, Somebody Groovy, You Baby. Album art: A funny picture to be sure. It almost seems like it would be a cheesy comedy album. I don't know much about the band's composition, but I appreciate that the men and women are sharing the spotlight. 4/5

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Sat Sep 04 2021
4

“If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears” by The Mamas and the Papas (1966) Any album that contains three megahits (‘Monday, Monday”, “Go Where You Wanna Go”, and “California Dreamin’”) is worth a serious listen. And after 55 years, “Monday, Monday” and “California Dreamin’” still hold their own as superlatively listenable songs, evoking reverie and wistfulness in the hearts those who listen to them, even if they’ve never heard them before. Stepping back and reviewing the entire album, it is clear why this is the case. The four members of this singing quartet had backgrounds in the folk vocal ensemble revival of the early 1960s (Journeymen, Mugwumps, Big 3), which singer/songwriter John Phillips harnessed into a powerful blend. It goes way beyond “Hootenanny” and “Shindig!” His arrangements were inspired. Some of the flaws are indicative of the age—unfortunate static in the right channel on the intro to “Monday, Monday”; too much separation in the stereo mix; gimmicky and dated syncopation; limited instrumental colorings; the improper use of the apostrophe on the cover text (okay, that’s a bit picky). But there are no songs on this record that are truly ‘clunkers’. John Phillips has superb arranging skills. Harmony. Harmony. Harmony. A number of folk purists might have been disappointed to hear jazz chords in the vocals, but these are probably the same people who turned against Bob Dylan when he went electric at the July 1965 Newport Folk Festival. In fact, The Mamas and the Papas were propelling popular music in the direction it was destined to go, and commercial folk was dying. The forward-looking eclecticism of this record is part of its genius. Vocal performances on the album are legendary. The unison pairings (J. Phillips/Doherty and Elliot/M. Phillips) are very tight, and the slightly rapid vibrato of all four singers, while too sparingly utilized, is remarkably synchronized. Denny Doherty has fine voice, singing lead on both “Monday, Monday” and “California Dreamin’”. But here he lacks a soulful embrace of the meaning of what he was singing. He famously said of “Monday, Monday” that “it was a dumb fuckin’ song about a day of the week.” Boy, did he miss the point. Michelle Phillips brings a sweet (albeit not powerful) soprano to the blend. But the star vocalist in this quartet is, of course, Cass Elliot. At home as a contralto, she has great range and power that place her as one of the greatest female vocalists in pop/rock history. I suspect that the stereo mix on the album was deliberately intended to be dramatically different from the mono mix of the 45 rpm single and AM radio airplay. In any case, a serious listener today needs to studiously ignore the exaggerated separation. It’s altogether a fine work of art, standing as a monument to the soul of the sixties. 4/5

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Wed Mar 09 2022
4

Cass was in love with Denny. But Denny was in love with Michelle. And Michelle was married to John. As for John… well you can look him up yourself but he was a seriously troubled individual… Yet despite - or because of? - these tensions (I Saw Her Again was written after the discovery of Denny and Michelle’s affair) the quartet made some exquisite sounding records many of which feature here. Despite the gorgeous four part harmonies and seeming uplifting music, the lyrics often hint at something darker - California Dreamin’ sounds like summer but is really a man in a freezing church thinking of leaving his partner - adding layers of depth and nuance. At times the group fall back on perfectly serviceable if a little underwhelming covers of recent soul and pop hits but really hit their stride with their own punchy compositions - Monday, Monday, Go Where You Wanna Go and Straight Shooter are perfect sixties tracks. Their career was astonishingly brief, recording and performing together for just four years, but left a catalogue of era defining music. As for whether they made a classic album during that time - probably not and this isn’t one - but it’s pretty damn good. Sit back and feel the vibe.

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Wed Sep 23 2020
1

Too LA faux hippie for my SF tastes. The only boring act at Monterey, but kudos for putting it together. Is this going to be 1001 white people? Just checking.

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Fri Jul 07 2023
3

Even if every song on the album sucked, except for California dreamin, it’d still be a 3 because that song slaps so hard. Good album. Would listen again.

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Sun Aug 29 2021
5

Plays like a greatest hits. There’s not a bad track.

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Tue Jul 04 2023
3

Two songs for eternity, a handful of covers and some likeable period pieces. S, would you agree this is a “skip to the greatest hits” band?

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Mon May 23 2022
2

Sing-songy, lite folk/pop, I guess this was the safe bet for office parties in the 60s if you weren't cool enough for Hendrix.

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Sat Feb 25 2023
2

This is way more anodyne than I thought it would be based on my prior knowledge of California Dreamin' and even Monday, Monday. I Call Your Name sounds like an ad for toothpaste. Spanish Harlem gets rid of whatever minimal amount of edge or soul Ben E. King's version had, and leaves us with something that sounds like Up with People or a recording of a glee club from Mayberry.

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Sat Dec 02 2023
5

bruh i’m feeling the counterculture

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Sat Jan 16 2021
4

Seemed a little conservative at the start for a mid-late 60s album. Got some beach boys vibes to it. Love how a lot of the songs have harmonies based on vocals.

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Tue Aug 03 2021
4

Another album that for me at first was difficult to rate on merit vs nostalgia. My parents had this album from the time I was born so putting it on was a bit of a personal time machine :) - but also the songs at first play (in decades) have such an overly sweet and dated sound to them that I found myself a little bored. However I did play it again last night through headphones and more-fully appreciated how awesome those vocal harmonies are. Since the mix was probably done on an old 4 track for most songs the 3 or 4 part harmonies are exclusively in the left-channel which makes them blend so perfectly I often can't even figure out how they create those parts. Also when you start listening to the lyrics they're nowhere near as "sweet" as maybe they wanted you to think :D - these guys may have had as much interpersonal drama as Fleetwood Mac did nearly a decade later. The two all-time music classics of "Monday Monday" and "California Dreamin" are so ubiquitous (commercials, tv shows, etc) and justifiably so but "Go Where You Wanna Go" and "Straight Shooter" are every bit as catchy. Gotta give this its proper due even if it's not something I'd ordinarily listen to - these are perfectly constructed pop songs absolutely "of the time" but with melodies (and harmonies) this good it's a keeper. 8/10 4 stars

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Wed Dec 01 2021
4

Vous l'avez probablement noté dans un coin de votre feuille ou de votre document Word mais j'étais bel et bien en train de ratisser les feuilles mortes du jardin de ma famille d'accueil lorsque j'écoutais cet album. Vous savez aussi que Robert a fixé à aujourd'hui la date limite à laquelle je dois écrire la totalité de mes critiques d'albums générés et ainsi rattraper le retard que j'avais accumulé. En cas de non respect de ce délai, il était prévu que Norbert Episode me rende visite (vous avez fait sa connaissance dans mes reviews de Black Sabbath, d'Animal Collective et de Kiss). Et justement, alors que je ratissais les feuilles du jardin, il m'arrivait d'apercevoir les phares d'une voiture roder autour de la maison. Je brandissais de temps en temps mon enceinte JBL pour signaler que j'allais être à jour d'une minute à l'autre. Au bout de quelques heures, les phares en question arrêtèrent de passer et me voilà désormais parfaitement à la page et disposé à recevoir le prochain album.

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Thu Mar 28 2024
4

Another new one, and a pleasant listen overall. The harmonies were great, and it had that perfect mid-60s folk-tinged rock sound that I was hoping to hear. It's like if Jefferson Airplane and Peter, Paul and Mary got together to make an album without trying to sound too much like one or the other.

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Mon Nov 15 2021
3

The big hits are great, some good tunes and some stinkers. I l aways listen to the greatest hits and I see why.

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Mon Oct 04 2021
2

This album is the worst thing Papa John Phillips ever did

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Mon Oct 10 2022
2

*insert gif of Villanelle going “BORING” here*

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Fri Feb 03 2023
2

The toilet, how scandalous! Singles still bang! Straight Shooter sounds familiar to me but I don't think I've ever heard it, I think this song is about drugs or woman! Got a Feelin is NOT a cover of the BEP song! I call your name is a little country...not much rock and roll. Lifeless cover of Do You Wanna Dance, or it's the original? Go where you whatever this is too repetitive. Spanish Harlem, banger of a song, trash version! Somebody Groovy... fucking seriously, groovy...Hey Girl, come fuck with me not that asshole, mans going for it! You Baby, another pimp anthem, this dude is trying!

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Tue Feb 28 2023
2

Highly produced folk for the masses, showing the musicality of the movement without all of that thought provoking lyrical burden. Listen to Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, and Woody Guthrie if you really want to hear the folk music you need to hear before you die.

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Thu Oct 01 2020
5

9/10 when my dad still lived in virginia w/ me, whenevr he had the radio on during car rides it was almost always a station playin 60s or 70s music. (usually 60s i think? also at one point a beatles channel was made and u kno he ate that shit up.) so basically whenever i hear radio-friendly 60s music i get kinda warm n fuzzy inside. this album is already gorgeous and filled with amazing melodies so when u add on the fact that a few songs from this got played on that 60s station its kinda like. oh damn.

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Fri Sep 18 2020
5

I really loved this album. "California Dreamin" was one of my favorites, of course, and "Monday, Monday".

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Mon Jan 18 2021
5

I love the mamas and the papas and this album I hadn't listened to by itself and it had some greats on it, but even the songs I hadn't heard were great. Just some great upbeat songs

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Mon Mar 22 2021
5

Love. Listening to them always brings visions of a carefree summer in late 60s southern California.

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

Really enjoyed. Perfect classic kinda of music I look for. Would love to have physical.

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Tue Jan 19 2021
5

So many good songs! Good for summer listening.

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Wed Jan 27 2021
5

i only know california dreamin but after listening, this is my favorite album so far.

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Thu Apr 15 2021
5

Great album, fab songs, beautiful harmonies

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Sun May 09 2021
5

Awesome, very chill songs, nothing too heavy, really a good omage to the time periods music.

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Thu Aug 26 2021
5

Sounds of its time but still resonates today. Every once in a while I hear California Dreamin' used in a show or movie and it always hits super hard. Their harmonies are really powerful. Excellent album.

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Wed Nov 17 2021
5

Saved Prior: None Not Saved: 12. Hey Girl 11. Got A Feelin' 10. I Call Your Name Saved Off Rip: 9. Spanish Harlem 8. You Baby 7. Do You Wanna Dance 6. Somebody Groovy 5. The "In" Crowd 4. Straight Shooter 3. Monday, Monday 2. California Dreamin' 1. Go Where You Wanna Go Overall Notes: Awful band name, immaculate compositions. Not one out and out clunker on the album, inject these harmonies into my bloodstream.

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Sat Dec 18 2021
5

Pues muy bueno. Con Monday, Monday, California Dreamin' and Spanish Harlem. Además de otras canciones que he añadido a mis favoritas. Un 5 en toda regla.

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Sat Dec 18 2021
5

Rock sesentero. Dos megahits absolutos. Un 5, claro.

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Wed Jan 12 2022
5

Rock sesentero. Dos megahits absolutos. Un 5, claro.

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Wed Jan 19 2022
5

Loved it from the beginning to the end!

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Fri Jan 28 2022
5

FUCKING BANGERS, love the mama and the papas

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Thu Feb 10 2022
5

Classic album with some great songs. True 5 star talent.

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Wed Mar 02 2022
5

Ik vind dit geweldige muziek! Leuke melodietjes, goede zang, relaxt, gewoonweg genieten!! Dit album zit vol met grote hits, maar ook een paar minder bekende nummers. Mijn favoriet is en blijft "California Dreamin'". *****

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Fri Apr 01 2022
5

Don’t really have much to say other than it’s just a super solid album. Every song suits a particular mood and they all stick out as unique and recognisable. Plus it has California dreamin on which is one of my favourite songs of all time so it’s hard not to give it 5 stars

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Wed Apr 13 2022
5

Classic album. Non-stop timeless songs. I would say: best debut album ever and should be in any in top 10 of any best of list.

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Fri Apr 15 2022
5

Wonderful, lovely harmonies, soul spirit music.

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Wed Jun 01 2022
5

Mamas AND papas? In this economy??

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Fri Jun 03 2022
5

love this one. reminds me of the younger me in love with going to the city as a province girl + the musicals i dream of

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Tue Jun 07 2022
5

I knew a lot of these songs, but this isn't a greatest hits collection. Talk about a great debut album! I'm pretty sure I've listened to this album before somewhere along the way, but didn't realize it was the debut. The Mama's and the Papa's music has such a nice effect on my psyche. There's something sweet and yet wistful in those songs that never fail to draw me in. Really special!

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Tue Jun 07 2022
5

With delectable harmonies and a groovy 60s sound, this one really got to me. I knew I loved California Dreamin' and Monday, Monday. But I had 6 or 7 other favorites by my third listen. The vocals on The "In" Crowd give me chills on chills on chills. Excellent!

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Tue Jun 07 2022
5

I was familiar with so many of these tracks from a “best of” album that I have listened to many many times. For the rest of the tracks, I very much enjoyed then too! I dig the harmonies and how their vocal tones blend.

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Tue Jun 07 2022
5

This was a really great listen for the day. All four times. It was kind of surprising to me that I had never heard all of this album. What a joy it was! I loved their original songs like "Go Where You Wanna Go" and "Somebody Groovy," and I really loved their versions of "The 'In' Crowd" and "Spanish Harlem." There is no other song like "California Dreamin'" and it was perfect to have "Monday, Monday" as the first thing I listened to on a Monday morning. Their splendid harmonies gave good vibrations to the whole day.

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Wed Jun 29 2022
5

This is genius. I love these guys so much.

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Wed Jun 29 2022
5

I really love this album. Mama Cass had some pipes on her. Go Where You Want to Go is such a great song and shows off Cass.

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Fri Jul 08 2022
5

The mamas and the papas were one of my dad's favorite bands. I got to listen to this stuff in my teens. Coming back to it now is nostalgic. There sound is smoothe melody with meaning. Good stuff

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Sun Jul 17 2022
5

I was a little hesitant at first, but frankly, great vocal performances, Californian flair, and counterculture folk was all I needed.

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Sun Jul 31 2022
5

sweet album. didn't sound like a guy who would have sex with his daughter.

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Tue Aug 09 2022
5

Yes, yes and thrice yes. This is a good album, and my life is better for having listened to it. Yours will be too.

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Sat Aug 27 2022
5

I've long been a fan of the The Mamas and the Papas. My parents were fans so I grew up listening to them, and eventually became a fan in my own right. That said, I've only ever owned a greatest hits album, so a few of these songs were new to me. I was familiar with other bands' versions of "You Baby" and "Do You Wanna Dance," so it was fun to hear their take on them. It’s actually mind-blowing to me that this was their debut album. They weren’t new to making music, but it’s still crazy that they were this good from the start.

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Wed Aug 31 2022
5

A corner stone of American music history. 5/5.

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Tue Sep 20 2022
5

Some of the best vocal harmonies I've ever heard.

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Sun Nov 06 2022
5

such great chill vibes. just want to lay in the sun listening to this one 💚

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Sat Dec 10 2022
5

This album is so good it makes me want to surreptitiously break into a policeman's house so that I can clean his fish tank, replace his soaps and towels, and slowly buy him larger and larger stuffed animals at a pace that he never quite notices.

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Wed Jan 11 2023
5

So many songs we know and love, all on one album.

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Mon Jan 16 2023
5

This is a good example of a disc that serves as time capsule. Released in 1966 it had folkish songs, beautiful harmonies and lyrics that frequently had an underlying melancholy. But it also incorporated rock, pop and soul. The well-known singles (California Dreaming and Monday, Monday) have achieved classic status, but the rest of the album almost is at the same standard. The production is impeccable, and the studio musicians are almost all from The Wrecking Crew, which says all one needs to know.

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Tue Jan 24 2023
5

Each track evolves into it's own character while maintaining a dark and solemn theme throughout the album. It's haunting, it's beautiful, it's lonesome, it's wholesome.

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Thu Mar 02 2023
5

Very cool. Outside of my normal music taste but I could appreciate the quality of the music and the good vibes.

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Fri Jan 13 2023
5

The entire industry failed Mama Cass. She should have been as respected on par with Aretha. This is a perfect album. Go Where You Wanna is my current favorite.

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Sat Mar 25 2023
5

When men & women can be truly harmonizing, it's magic! Even in the naivest format here. But what's the matter anymore when masculinity & feminity can be together peacefully? Fav track: California Dreamin'

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Thu Apr 06 2023
5

Excellent! Good pop songs, skillfully played arrangements, nice harmony vocals.

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Wed Apr 12 2023
5

Great album, loved the ambientations

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Sun Apr 23 2023
5

Easy listening masterclass. Indicative of that groovy, swinging 60’s vibe with some dark undertones.

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Mon Apr 24 2023
5

California Dreaming - my song.

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Thu Apr 27 2023
5

Well, I loved two tracks going 😄 n and four coming out. Besides the obvious, Spanish Harlem and Straight Shooter are great. Oh, and the bleak cover of Do You Wanna Dance! Really good album. Feel like the last couple of days (this and Donovan) are making a strong case for the 60s being the best decade.

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Sun May 07 2023
5

Самое нежная музыка, которую можно было создать. Группу люблю, альбом люблю. Мондэээй мондэээй каляфорня дримин и тд база. 9/10.

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Mon May 29 2023
5

This album gives me autumn vibes :) Love it, so sweet, such good vibes.

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Mon Jun 19 2023
5

I was really digging this. it was giving me early Beach Boys but with Girls too.

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Tue Jun 27 2023
5

Pues muy bueno. Con Monday, Monday, California Dreamin' and Spanish Harlem. Además de otras canciones que he añadido a mis favoritas. Un 5 en toda regla.

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Wed Jul 05 2023
5

Simple pop songs, reminiscent of early Beatles, drenched in gorgeous harmonies and orchestration. This record juxtaposes sad lyrics with joyous melodies and arrangements, which is one my favourite music things. So good that I can overlook the gratuitous toilet and appalling grammar on the album cover. Rating: 4.5/5 Playlist track: California Dreaming Date listened: 04/07/23

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Fri Jul 14 2023
5

Lovely harmonies and nostalgic/wistful feeling

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Fri Jul 14 2023
5

Awesome sound - felt like a tarantino film. Will definitely be listening again

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Thu Jul 20 2023
5

Flying Colors. Essential Pop-Rock Album.

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Sun Aug 06 2023
5

Along with paul revere and the red raiders, I was introduced to the mamas and the papas through Quentin Tarantino and OUATIH and whenever I listened to the movie soundtrack, I always liked their stuff the best (that and neil diamond). This album was a fun deeper dive into their work as well as a chance to relisten to my old favorites straight shooter and California dreamin (before TikTok). The album as a whole is so quintessentially sixties but has also aged like a fine wine. It was a great listen with start to finish with no duds I can remember and some new hits like do you wanna dance.

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Sat Aug 12 2023
5

OH MY GOD CALIFORNIA DREAMIN' IS FROM THESE GUYS???? i did not know this. the graduate is a great film... anyway. .this was actually shockingly good. i guess i have an internal bias against any music from before the 70s but i expected this to be super boring, but it wasn't. folksy but not annoyingly so, and a lot of nice tunes - monday, monday, california dreamin', got a feelin', you baby, and most of the other songs were pleasant as well. first half was better than the second but both were great. not too long either - in fact i could've done with it being longer.

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Fri Aug 18 2023
5

California Dreaming. I was really drawn to the vocal harmonies on this album. Also Jens Lekman looks to have sample from Do You Wanna Dance.

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