The Monkees: Good Times

14 Jun

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The Monkees have enlisted a couple of big-name fans to help them craft Good Times, their first album in 20 years, and their first since the death of bandmate Davy Jones.

And to be honest, it sounds like they never went away. They aren’t trying to top the charts or sound particularly contemporary, they just sound like The Monkees,only re-energised and managing to capture the magic of their sixties heyday without sounding like an echo of their past glories.

‘Good Times’ gets the party started with a posthumous duet between Mickey Dolenz and a demo of Harry Nilsson from 1967. From there, ‘You Bring the Summer’, ‘She Makes Me Laugh’ and ‘Our Own World’ continue the good vibes. You would never know these were new compositions — they feel like they fell out of wormhole from the sixties.

Though the record is peppered with polished versions of outtakes and demos from the Monkees’ past, it is a testament to how uniformly strong the material is that contributions from the likes of Rivers Cuomo, Noel Gallagher and Peter Weller manage to feel of a piece with the outtakes from the old days. This dive into the archives also allows the group to provide one final contribution from Davy Jones (‘Love To Love’).

The album feels like the distillation of the sound and vibe of Summer ’66. Catchy melodies and simple, memorable lyrics are here in abundance, and while not all the songs are great, together they add up to one of the most unpretentious and just plain fun albums of the year.

 

By Tim George

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