The Monkees’ first new album of the 21st century is finally here, and it sets the tone perfectly for the celebration of the group’s 50th anniversary.
are the 1980s gloss rock of Pool It! and the 1990s garage band
grit of Justus (both of which are very fine albums and are
grossly and unfairly underrated).
their place is a bright, sparkling, feel-good sound that recalls the
musical and cultural zeitgeist of the band’s 1960s heyday, circa
by Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne and Ivy, the record
combines newly completed tracks from the 1960s (allowing the late
Davy Jones to appear on Neil Diamond’s very 60s-ish “Love to
Love”) with new songs written by surviving Monkees members Micky
Dolenz, Peter Tork, and Michael Nesmith, as well as Schlesinger and
members of Weezer, Death Cab for Cutie, and Oasis.
though Dolenz, Tork, and Nesmith are now in their 70s, they sound as
vibrant as they did 20, 30, and 50 years ago. And they get to really
showcase their voices to great effect, especially as this time around
most of the instrumentation is handled by other musicians.
highlights include Dolenz
on the exuberant
“Gotta Give It Time,” Jones
on the aforementioned “Love to Love,” Nesmith
Know What I Know” (although the version on Nesmith's Videoranch
is far superior), Tork
Wasn't Born to Follow,” and Nesmith and Dolenz on both the
and Magdalena” (especially
the deluxe album version)
of an Accidental Hipster.”
like Good Times! very much, as well as Pool It! and
Justus. They are all equally excellent albums in their own
right, each with its unique strengths and infectious idiosyncrasies.
Times! is the ultimate 50th anniversary gift from the
remaining Monkees to each other, to Davy Jones, and to the fans.