Hi everyone! Miss Adventure here. I’ve stepped out of my blog for the day to bring you The Daily Adventurer’s first album review.
It’s not every day that your favorite band from the 1960s releases a new album. When I first heard that The Monkees had recorded Good Times I was beyond excited. I mean, as a lifelong fan, you would have trouble convincing me that it would be anything but awesome (we won’t talk about 1996’s Justus). I knew that my Mom, my Aunt Debi, our family friends in Oregon, and Rob Sheffield were just as excited as I was about this momentous occasion, though only one of us would have an advance copy. (Not me. I went to Target first thing this morning).
So I have now ripped through the crinkly plastic wrapping, cracked open the CD cover, looked over the little sheet of stickers that fell out (cute!), and slid the booklet from the cover. First impressions? I love the cover art. Love it. The CD itself is red. Monkees logos everywhere. And the booklet actually has lyrics! Hallelujah. And not only that, it has little messages from some of the co-writers. These co-writers are, by the way, part of the reason this particular album has been getting so much attention. But more on that later.
Okay, here it is. The moment of truth. The CD is in the player. I’m snuggled into my headphones. Take a giant step inside my mind as I listen to Good Times for the first time of what will undoubtedly be many times. I’m going to apologize in advance for how many time I use the word love. Here we go…
Track 1: Good Times
Oh my goodness, it’s 1968 all over again! I’m alone so I don’t think anyone will judge me if I start doing the Pony right now. Wow, I never realized how similar Micky Dolenz and Harry Nilsson sound. Yes, guitar solo. More Micky and Harry harmonies. They seem to be saying “We’re back! And we never left!” This is great! What’s next?
Track 2: You Bring the Summer
I think I’m in love! Oh my gosh this is so good! This could 100% be on the radio right now. I’m feeling a strange sense of pride. “When you come around, you bring the summer”. This has to be one of the best pop songs of the year, no joke. So fun and bouncy, I want to listen to it again immediately! Wait, was that Frodis at the end?
Track 3: She Makes Me Laugh
No, this can’t be two home runs in a row! Yes, yes it is. Ah, this one was co-written by Rivers Cuomo from Weezer. How much do I love that he’s a Monkees fan! This is so catchy. I’ve already memorized the chorus. How did they manage to create something that’s so perfectly sixties and so Monkees that fits so well into the current musical climate?
Track 4: Our Own World
A little Partridge Family vibe at the beginning. I can’t believe how good Micky sounds. Definitely a head bobber. Hey, Adam Schlesinger co-wrote this one. I really need to listen to more Fountains of Wayne. You can almost hear Davy in the background singing “our own little world”.
Track 5: Gotta Give It Time
Oh yah, we’ve got a harder edge now. I’m getting Mike Nesmith a la “Salesman” on this one. The melodies so far are seriously rocking my world. Gotta just give it time now, baby… fade out.
Track 6: Me & Magdalena
A sweet and simple arrangement. These Micky and Mike harmonies are divine. I don’t know who Magdalena is, but I’m picturing a sixties nymph frolicking through the flower fields of Monterey. “I don’t know if I’ve ever loved any other, half as much as I do in this light she’s under”. Beautiful. Just beautiful.
Track 7: Whatever’s Right
Yes! That tambourine just took me back. The tempo’s back up. That classic Monkees aesthetic. Oh, it’s a Boyce and Hart. No wonder! It wouldn’t be a Monkees album without Boyce and Hart.
Track 8: Love to Love
Davy! Aww, I love that they included him on this album. That makes me happy. And sad. Hmm, I think I’ve heard this one before. I have heard this! I know all the words, so unless I’m psychic this must have been released before. Fits in nicely with the rest of the tracks.
Track 9: Little Girl
Hey, it’s Peter! Sweet little tune. Peter says he wrote this for Davy as a follow up to “I Wanna Be Free” and I totally could have seen him singing this.
Track 10: Birth of an Accidental Hipster
This intro is the great. It’s funny how certain riffs say “this is who this artist is” without you even having to look. Hehe, the Monkees are singing about being hipsters. Considering Mike’s trademark wool hat would be very hipster today, this seems appropriate. That guitar solo just told me Noel Gallagher co-wrote this one.
Track 11: Wasn’t Born to Follow
This almost has a folk, Carol King feel. Oh! It was written by Carol King and Gerry Goffin. A stream of consciousness poem you can sing along to. Peter sounds fantastic. This is definitely one of my favorites.
Track 12: I Know What I Know
Mike Nesmith, sitting alone at a piano. There’s something almost cinematic about this. Pure. Some songs tell you to close your eyes when you listen to them and this is one of them. Add some string synth. Lovely. Save the Texas Prairie Poet.
Track 13: I Was There (And I’m Told I Had a Good Time)
This feels blasphemous, but there’s a little late Beatles going on here. Yes! A Micky Dolenz “yowwww!”. We’re here, and we’re gonna have a good time. Yes, Micky, yes we are. Song fades out, like an end of the night jam session, and Micky laughs, “I dropped my stick!” Best ending ever.
What a rollercoaster of emotions! As far as Monkees albums go, Good Times is one of their all-time best. A really strong, artistic collection of songs. It’s hard to believe this is a 50th anniversary album. The Monkees are, at this point, musical icons. Against all odds, they’ve inspired generations, which is why Monkees fans like Noel Gallagher, Adam Schlesinger, Rivers Cuomo, Andy Partridge, and Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard jumped at the chance to contribute. I think Ben summed it up best in his liner message: “Before the Beatles, before the Velvet Underground, and before punk and/or indie rock, the Monkees were the first band I truly loved. Their albums were always on in our home when I was a kid (especially Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.), and I learned to sing alongside them. I spent countless hours in front of the TV in the 80s, watching Monkees reruns, wishing I could climb through the screen and be in the show with them. They made being in a band seem so fun, and, goddammit, it should be! For these reasons and a million others, I can say with absolutely zero hyberbole that contributing ‘Me and Magdalena’ to this album has been the greatest honor of my career.”
Good Times is going to be huge, guys. Just wait.