First Hit #1: August 27, 1988
It’s a George Michael song that isn’t about uncomfortable sexual power dynamics, so that’s good. Instead, we’ve got the systemic torture of a metaphor, which isn’t creepy at least. By the end of the song I had no idea what the monkey was supposed to represent. At some points, I thought it might be an actual monkey, just because that wouldn’t be less stupid than any alternatives.
Monkey feels like filler material to be honest. Michael can go raw, personal, and uncomfortable, and has on some other singles, but this is just a bit of a goof with lyrics that simply have to be at least partially improvised. That’s fine, and something like this is probably essential to keeping the recording of Faith from turning into a death spiral of depression, considering how far into his own head Michael was willing to go. But still, it’s a really stupid song, and while it’s a hit I have to question if anyone would care if another name was on the box.