Review Summary: An album that'll surely make you smile. It features two of The Lovin' Spoonful's best songs but it also features some mediocre cover songs.
Sometimes I prefer simple, happy and light-hearted. The Lovin' Spoonful is my go-to band when I want something that's easy to listen to. While the music isn't revolutionary in any way, John Sebastian's splendid songwriting is what makes their music so special. He writes about daily problems when you're a teenager (love and parents) but also what it's like growing up. Their debut album "Do You Believe In Magic" is plagued by "meh"-cover versions of old folks songs. But there are some gems on it.
The opening track "Do You Believe In Magic" is a classic. It has that optimistic vibe to it and just makes you feel happy. With this track, John Sebastian proved that he's a very talented songwriter that can write great hits. And that's what this album lacks. There aren't enough Sebastian-written songs on it. We don't need any run-of-the-mill covers like "Blues In The Bottle", "My Gal" and "Fishin' Blues". Although, I have to admit that the covers of "Sportin' Life" and "Other Side of This Life" are pretty good. The rest of the cover tunes are relatively boring and doesn't really make the album any better. "Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?" is the second track by Sebastian. This one's also a great song. The lyrics are humorous and deals with the issues of being young and in love: "Sometimes you really dig a girl the moment you kiss her / And then you get distracted by her older sister". The last three tracks on the records are written by Sebastian (with the rest of the band on "Night Owl Blues"). I think that the girl in "Younger Girl" is a metaphor for not being able to do something because of what others might think of you. Or, maybe not. "On The Road Again" isn't as good as the other tracks by Sebastian but it's still an enjoyable piece of music. The last track, an instrumental track, is "Night Owl Blues". I love this one and it's a great way to end the album; Sebastian is fantastic on the harmonica and Zal Yanovsky's guitar work is excellent.
"Do You Believe In Magic" isn't amazing, but it's not awful either. It's also far from their best work so I would recommend their other albums if you want to get into The Lovin' Spoonful.
"Do You Believe In Magic"
"Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?"
"Night Owl Blues"