Adam Schlesinger, who made his name reviving power-pop as half of Fountains of Wayne, gathers together a crew of clever songwriters – including Rivers Cuomo, Ben Gibbard, Andy Partridge, Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller – to provide top-shelf material for a reunion that lives up to the album's title and its exclamation point. But though Good Times! updates the Monkees' sound, it also keeps one foot in the past: A tweaked Sixties demo allows Micky Dolenz to perform a virtual duet with the title track's composer, the late Harry Nilsson; and Davy Jones (who died in 2012) appears via a 1967 outtake. Septuagenarians have never celebrated puppy love so winningly. K.H.
Off Good Times!, the Monkees' first album in 20 years, "Me and Magdalena" is a gentle, folk-y ballad that lets Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith's tender harmonies shine. Ben Gibbard wrote the track, and the album itself features writing contributions from artists like Rivers Cuomo, Carole King, Neil Diamond, Noel Gallagher and more.
"Who could have expected a comeback this great? Mike Nesmith gets to show off all the mileage on his country-fried pipes in this superb road-weary ballad, written to order by a lifelong Monkees fan, Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard." -Rob Sheffield
Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork tell the stories behind some of their most enduring tunes
When speaking about "Me & Magdalena," Michael Nesmith shared a little news:
"As we speak, I'm driving back from Los Angeles. I just recorded a version of this song in Spanish with Micky."
This is a fantastic piece written by Rolling Stone Associate Editor Andy Greene who provides a behind the scenes look at the making of The Monkees' upcoming album, Good Times! The article ends with a discussion about Michael Nesmith's absence from the current 50th Anniversary Tour:
I get up to leave, but Nesmith stops me because he wants the fans to know one last thing: "Reassure the people they can expect to see me out there at some point."
The Monkees' first album in nearly 20 years is also their best since the Sixties – to be precise, since the Head soundtrack in 1968. (Sorry, Instant Replay diehards.) It's a labor of love – not just for the three surviving lads, but for all the Monkeemaniacs pitching in, headed by producer Adam Schlesinger (from Ivy and Fountains of Wayne), who contributes the gem "Our Own World." It nails the classic summer-jangle Monkees sound, with seriously fantastic new tunes from Rivers Cuomo, Andy Partridge and the none-more-mod squad of Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller. Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith and the mighty Peter Tork are all in top shape–their voices have aged as handsomely as they have. When they harmonize on Ben Gibbard's wistful folkie lament "Me & Magdalena," it's a miraculously gorgeous moment of time-travel mind-warp. "Little Girl" is pure uncut Torkmanship. And as a last word from the late Davy Jones, there's his version of the Neil Diamond nugget "Love to Love." Monkees freaks have waited far too long for this album. But it was worth it.
On the latest episode of Zilch the executive producer of Good Times!, Rhino's John Hughes, spoke with host Ken Mills. Here's a quick rundown of their conversation:
Be sure to click the Zilch banner above to listen to the latest episode, including a panel discussion centered around The Monkees' new single.
What's everyone think of this article?! The Monkees being lumped in with "boy bands" is a personal pet peeve of mine!
The Monkees unveil 50th Anniversary tour plans and confirm the release of a brand new album, "Good Times!"
34 city tour to begin in May / Good Times! will arrive in June;
Interview with Wayne Avers