The Monkees :: Good Times

After 30 years of Monkees reunions, the group has delivered a new album that captures the rollicking nature and aesthetic of their classic ’60s recordings. As a lifelong fan, I’ve spent a whole lot of time defending my fandom of this group; it’s an oft told tale of their manufactured origins, but unlike most other examples of this phenomenon, The Monkees (project) brought together four incredibly talented, charming, and charismatic fellas whose legacy is still enjoyed fifty years later.

Repeating the successful formula of the best Monkees albums, Good Times pairs songs from a diverse pool of songwriters  alongside contributions from the group's members. It works beautifully. As an album, it manages to sound both rooted in the zeitgeist of the mid ’60’s and contemporary all at once.

Kicking off with Harry Nilsson’s excellent title track (itself demo’ed for the Monkees, and released on a relatively obscure Pre-RCA Nilsson LP and single), Micky Dolenz duets with his old friend Harry’s spirit in a way that works without seeming exploitative. Ditto the cameo appearance from the late Davy Jones; he’s heard here on a remixed outtake from ’67 ("Love To Love") that was probably his finest unreleased Monkees era track. XTC’s Andy Partridge brilliantly captures the spirit of the group in his brilliant "You Bring The Summer", in which Dolenz shows off his still-excellent vocal chops. "Gotta Give It Time" is a choice mod pop number written by bubblegum maestros Jeff Barry and Joey Levine, and "Whatever’s Right" was penned by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, who were the initial, official songwriters and producers of the group, responsible for their first hit, "Last Train To Clarksville".

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