The Monkees is a prefab band put together to latch on to the success of the Beatles blah blah blah blah. They made the movie Head and the pace of their kiddie TV show was quick with plenty of vaudevillian winks at the older…kids. Have you seen Head? Holy cow.
A lot of their music is great. Headquarters, where they insisted on performing as a band, is pretty amazing. Their pop music from the TV show (the first two albums performed mostly by session musicians) is still catchy. And the movie Head, have you seen it? Wow.
I even bought Justus, the last Monkees album full of cheese with a pretty negative critical reaction. Okay, it’s corny, but they poured their hearts into these love songs from middle age men who, like their other selves from their show 30 years ealier, were probably at another crossroads in their lives. The (corny) duet between Mickey and Davy is pretty amazing. Some of it is sad, and some of it is pretty life affirming, even if there’s no edge or bite to anything other than the revision of Circle Sky. Who knows. I know the reception bummed Mike Nesmith out, and he dropped out of sight for a bit as the other three Monkees would do occasional reunion tours.
After Davy’s death a few years ago, the rest of the Monkees got together with a few songwriters of some modern day bands (Weezer, Fountains Of Wayne) as well as resurrecting a few discarded sessions from the 60’s (Davy’s cover of Love To Love). The result of Good Times! is that it’s a pretty neat album. The only thing that I was hoping to hear, that I didn’t, was some of the neat melody hooks you’d find on Pleasant Valley Sunday or Last Train To Clarksville. The album has some great energy to some really good songs, and they did a great job making it seem like the new songs fit in with the tracks recorded from yesteryear.
Some of the standout tracks include: “You Bring The Summer,” “Birth Of An Accidental Hipster,” and “Whatever’s Right.” These sound like the most modern of the record, but still sound the most Monkee. Good job, gang.
Should I check it out? Yes. Stream it on Spotify.