Album Reviews

The Monkees

Good Times!

Artist:     The Monkees

Album:     Good Times!

Label:     Rhino Records

Release Date:     05/27/2016


The Monkees are the greatest band ever produced in America. In 1966 they rode their explosive “Last Train To Clarksville” debut single and eponymous premiere LP onto the pop charts and into the pop hearts, minds and collective unconscious of first-generation Monkeemaniacs. A half-century later (that’s 50 years, kids!) The Monkees –  Davy, Micky, Mike and Peter – are back and better than ever with an audacious album of old school, brand-new, borrowed and blow-your-mind, turn-back-time, killer-diller Monkees music! Made in the USA, the Monkees’ way, with a little help from a lot of friends.

Producer Adam Schlesinger (“We don’t need no stinking Chip Douglas!”) borrowed Mr. Peabody’s Way-Back machine to retrieve, resuscitate and rejuvenate five incomplete, unreleased, decades-old Monkees’ recordings and used 21st-Century technology to add just the right finishing touches to each: a right-on “Whatever’s Right” (Tommy Boyce/Bobby Hart); Peter’s pleasant, easy-riding, high-flying Byrds cover “Wasn’t Born To Follow” (Gerry Goffin/Carole King); the fervent, frenetic, terriffic nugget “Gotta Give It Time” (Jeff Barry/Joey Levine); Dolenz duets deliciously with Harry Nilsson on a scintillating, superior version of Nilsson’s opening title-track; “Love To Love” (Neil Diamond’s moody-broody Bang Years ballad) resurrects a pristine, pre-posthumous Davy Jones lead vocal!

The admirable Cap’n Adam (“Papa Schles?”) then had his first-mate Monkees drink from Fountains Of Wayne, eat the Jam, ingest XTC, sail the Rivers Cuomo, grease Weezer, grab a Death Cab For Cutie and HEAD to an Oasis where all aboard collaborated, contrived, and contributed bits and pieces of eight fantastic, fabulous, preposterous new Monkees songs! “You Bring The Summer” (Andy Partridge’s upbeat, uplifting anthem for all seasons) and “She Makes Me Laugh” (Rivers Cuomo) both combine confectionary verses, infectious, catchy choruses and beautiful harmonies that’ll make the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson smile and Mike Love jealous. Michael and Micky blend splendidly on the elemental, atmospheric “Me & Magdalena” (Ben Gibbard), a purely gorgeous, slow-flowing, free-floating reflection on love lost, recovered, undiscovered. Papa Nez and Dolenz deftly deliver “Birth of an Accidental Hipster” (Noel Gallagher/Paul Weller) too: it’s pure, FUNdamental, existential, psychedelic, schizophrenic, bi-polar pop!

This sensational, expertly-executed, meticulously-mixed, superbly-sequenced album ends on a hilarious high note as Micky sings the one-word, pitch-perfect punchline of his Schlesinger-co-written rocker “I Was There (And I’m Told I Had A Good Time).” They said this Monkee love wouldn’t last? Well happy golden anniversary everyone! See the light. Listen to the band. Sing along. Smell the vinyl. Feel the love. Share the joy. Believe the hyperbole! Good Times! is “Dyn-O-Mite!”

– Dennis McMonkeeDoNoUgh! [Dennis McDonough]

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