Sound — 8
Headquarters is varied in style. One thing it doesn't have is bubblegum. There's folk rock, music hall, country rock, and even '50s style rave. There's a faint glimmer of psychedelia on the subject matter and a few tracks. Two nonsense bits, the brief instrumental warm-up "Band 6" and the bizarre mantra "Zilch" add to this. Variety is good for the album, and surprisingly it doesn't sound uneven. They play the instruments and they do a good job.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics were written by various people. Members of the band wrote some tracks, while others were handed to them by top songwriters. There's two Tommy Boyce/Bobby Hart numbers, and one Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil song. The lyrics are primarily lvoe songs, but occasional changes pop up, like the character sketch "Mr. Webster" and the fune little "No Time," which includes Bill Cosby skat, Andy Warhol reference, and running with pot from cops (it was written by the group, but credited to their engineer Hank Cicalo). Mann & Weil's "Shades of Gray" has very good lyrics.
Overall Impression — 10
Once just a TV group, The Monkees gained true creatie freedom with this album. They play the instruments on this album. Turtles bassist Chip Douglas produced the album (under the name Douglas Farthing Hatelid). The album was the chance for the group to prove themselves. With Micky Dolenz on the drums, Mike Nesmith on guitar (organ on one track), Davy Jones on percussion, and Peter on bass, keyboards, and guitar), the group were very self sufficient. Everyoddy sings, Peter the least though. "Forget That Girl" (written by Douglas) is a classic 60s song. "Shades Of Gray" is a tender love song with some cello and French horn thrown to the mix, already including a good piano intro and some steel guitar (now there's unique touch). "For Pete's Sake" is a groove, sixties Hammond organ and peace and love message, it's a classic (it was the show's end credit song on the second season). "Early Morning Blues And Greens" is a brooding tale of twilight loneliness, with some hot organ. "Randy Scouse Git" (English slang for horny idiot from Liverpool) is Micky's closing tale of their trip to England, meeting the Beatles ("the four kings of EMI") and his future wife ("the being known as wonder girl"). The only real misstep on the album is the music hall styled "I Can't Get Her Off My Mind," which at least has a silly charm. Released in June of 1967, it actually outsold Sgt. Pepper for a while. The group themselves think back on it as the most fun they ever had. Yes Virginia, the Monkees were a real band.