"To create their 50th-anniversary LP Good Times!, the Monkees turned creative control over to lifelong fans of the group, like producer Adam Schlesinger and songwriters like Rivers Cuomo, Paul Weller, and Noel Gallagher. The result is, improbably enough, the greatest album of the 2010s by a Sixties band, highlighted by the achingly gorgeous love ballad 'Me & Magdalena,' by Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard. The voices of Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz blend together as perfectly as they did in the Sixties. And now with decades of wisdom and tough loss underneath their glossy exterior (beloved members Peter Tork and Davy Jones are no longer with us), they somehow mean more than ever." —Andy Greene
UPDATE 12/24/2019: Rolling Stone contributing editor Rob Sheffield placed "Me & Magdalena" on his personal "Best Songs of the 2010s" list:
"The Monkees had a beautiful resurgence with Good Times — their first record written and produced by actual Monkees fans, which must be why it was their best since the Sixties. 'Me and Magdalena' is a country-roads ballad, written for them by Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard: Mike Nesmith flexes his weathered Texas twang, in Magnetic South mode, while Micky Dolenz hits the high harmonies. They sound like they’ve waited years for this moment — and they’re not the only ones."
The drowsy melancholy of "Me & Magdalena," Ben Gibbard's contribution to a new album by the Monkees, featuring the particular beauty of Mike Nesmith and Micky Dolenz, their tenor voices weathered but still vital, harmonizing.
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
Last night, The Monkees and their band performed at the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan, Illinois. Peter turned in a nice rendition of "Me & Magdalena." Here is the evening's set list:
Listen to the Band
Last Train to Clarksville
That Was Then, This Is Now
Your Auntie Grizelda
She Makes Me Laugh
A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You
The Girl I Knew Somewhere
You Bring the Summer
Shades of Gray
Me & Magdelena
Papa Gene's Blues
Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)
Randy Scouse Git
For Pete's Sake
Sometime in the Morning
Higher and Higher
Let's Dance On
Long Title: Do I Have to Do This All Over Again
What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round?
Pleasant Valley Sunday
I'm a Believer
As promised, Micky, Peter, and the band were joined by Death Cab For Cutie's Ben Gibbard during last night's show at the Moore Theatre in Seattle, Washington. They performed "Me & Magdalena," Ben's stellar contribution to The Monkees' latest album, Good Times!
Ben hung around to take lead vocals on "Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)" - which can also be seen in the video above - and returned for "Pleasant Valley Sunday" and "I'm a Believer" in the encore:
UPDATE: The Monkees Tour Twitter account posted the following footage of The Monkees rehearsing "Me & Magdalena" with Ben Gibbard:
Last night The Monkees performed another show at Chinook Winds Casino Resort in Lincoln, Oregon. At Friday's concert, Peter and Micky debuted their version of "Me & Magdalena," and it returned to the set during Saturday evening's show. The song had previously been performed live with Michael Nesmith, who sang the lead vocal on the Good Times! studio version, at concerts in Arizona and California last week.
In the footage below, it seems Micky announces to the crowd that Ben Gibbard (guitarist and lead singer of Death Cab For Cutie), who wrote the song, will perform it with The Monkees at tonight's show in Seattle, Washington.
Is it the album version as featured on The Monkees' new LP, Good Times! as heard below . . .
. . . Or, the fast version, a bonus track on iTunes and HDTracks?
"Me & Magdalena" is the third single from The Monkees' new album, Good Times! The song was written for the group by Ben Gibbard (lead vocalist and guitarist of Death Cab For Cutie). Check out Death Cab's official website where the following image appears front and center:
A fan on YouTube created this video featuring footage from the second season episode "Monkees in Paris" paired with the fast version of "Me & Magdalena," a bonus track from The Monkees' brand new album Good Times!