The Monkees - Good Times!
By Patrick Moreau
It's hard to believe The Monkees are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year and they put out their best album in 20 years, maybe since 1969.
This is probably the most classic sounding Monkees CD since their heyday. Good Times! is produced by Adam Schlesinger, who is famous for being the frontman for Fountains of Wayne and writing the tittle song for the movie "That Thing You Do." To say Mr. Schlesinger is a good choice is an understatement. He would've fit perfectly in 1967. Adam is not alone here, and has some of his Indie rock friends contributing songs to the album. Bands like Weezer and Oasis have written for them, and they have also cleared out the vaults and finished some songs from the likes of Neil Diamond, Boyce & Hart, Goffin & King, Jeff Barry, and Harry Nilsson.
The Monkees of today consist of Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, and Michael Nesmith. Davy Jones passed away in 2012, but he does sing here on a vintage Neil Diamond track.
Good Times! starts off with Micky doing a duet with the late Harry Nilsson on the title track. This is just a great upbeat tune. In fact, Micky sings lead on the first five songs, including the first two singles "You Bring the Summer" and "She Makes Me Laugh." Micky also sings background and harmonizes throughout the album. HIs voice is in great shape. He even plays drums on the last song "I Was There (And I'm Told I Had a Good Time)".
It was reported that Michael Nesmith was not really on this project, but let me tell you that he is all over this album. He is contributing songs, playing guitar, and singing his heart out. In fact, Nez is singing lead on the best song on the CD, "Me & Magdalena." I would rate this song and his performance up there with The Monkees' best. Michael and Micky share the vocal on "Birth of an Accidental Hipster", a trippy song written by Oasis that would fit on The Monkees' Head soundtrack for sure.
Peter Tork can also be found singing, playing keyboards, or just killing it with the banjo here. Peter does a great job singing lead on the Gerry Goffin and Carole King "Wasn't Born to Follow", which might the best song he has sung for them.
As mentioned earlier, Davy Jones sings lead on "Love to Love", a Neil Diamond tune from back in the day. This may be the only song he sings, but it's a good one. And, with this, it feels like a Monkees album.
There is not one bad song here. This is right up there with Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones.Not bad for a 50-year old band