ARTIST: The Four Seasons
TITLE: The Genuine Imitation Life Gazette
YEAR RELEASED: 1969
CHART ACTION: #85
SINGLES: Idaho (#75), Something’s on Her Mind (#98)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: No way in heck.
LINEUP: Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito, Joe Long.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Trying to stay hip and cool, Bob Gaudio enlists songwriter Jake Holmes and comes up with a cuckoo crazy psychedelic-ish album that is a million miles away from “Sherry”.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Some older fans of the Four Seasons were no doubt confuzzled by the release of this album, especially with the first cut called “American Crucifixion”, a suite with a very ornate production and few vocal hooks. There were three songs total that lasted over six minutes. Such was this album, a doozy of an experiment.
Frankly, the Four Seasons were becoming old and stale, and since 1965, they had only four songs break the Top 10, and their 1968 output was greeted with meager sales and airplay. They needed to do SOMETHING, and well, why not this? All the kids were doing it, along with their erstwhile ‘rivals’, the Beatles (well Vee-Jay records hoped they’d become a rival).
As a sunshine pop / psychedelic album, it’s not bad. It fits in with some of the productions from the more baroque end of sunshine pop. As a Four Seasons album, this is not the one you’re looking for. Forget that Frankie Valli’s singing (you really can’t tell anyway on may tracks) and think of it as some one-shot late 60’s Curt Boettcher studio group.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Gaudio saw Jake Holmes performing, and heard his record that included “Genuine Imitation Life”, and decided to work with him.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.
GRADE: B-: It’s weird. It’s flaky. It’s intriguing. For sunshine pop fans and also for those who like to hear when artists tread off the beaten path.