The thought of a new Monkees album scared me slightly. Would it ruin the legacy of their past pop brilliance? I only needed to hear the first track released ‘She Makes Me Laugh’ to know that my fear was unnecessary. Written by Rivers Cuomo and produced by Fountains Of Wayne, it sounds exactly as The Monkees should sound. Pure pop heaven. Then quickly on its tail was ‘You Bring The Summer’, another sunny delight, this time written bu Andy Partridge. Seems stars were queuing to write with one of their fave bands and all these worshippers only makes the album more interesting and varied – but have no fear, this is a Monkees album through and through, an absolute joy. Michael Nesmith brings a tinge of seriousness with the brilliant ‘I Know What I Know’ which reminds me of an epic Brian Wilson track, great praise indeed.
There are also great songs written by Death Cab For Cutie, Carole King, Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller as well as Dolenz (the great ‘Get Back’ stylings of ‘I Was There’) and Tork (‘Little Girl’). There is also a stunning track written by Neil Diamond, sung by the late, great Davy Jones, which is worth the price of admission alone with its glorious innocence.
Special mention goes to the opening track, written by one of my favourite stars of all time, Harry Nilsson, who manages to kick things off in an epic fashion before being ‘joined’ (obviously Nilsson has been dead for years, alas) by Micky Dolenz for a song that makes you want to throw your hands up in the air and scream “THE MONKEES ARE BACK!!!!!” as does the rest of this brilliant brilliant record. Good times? Fucking great times.