The Monkees announced today the official release of “She Makes Me Laugh,” the first single from the forthcoming “Good Times!” album. The song, which was written by Weezer’s River Cuomo, is a catchy tune in the “Pleasant Valley Sunday” vein and is delightfully retro. The song aims for somewhat the same formula as the Beach Boys’ “That’s Why God Made the Radio” but works better than that song because it’s a lot more subtle. The lyric video for the song was released Thursday on YouTube and already has over 99,000 views in one day. You can see it on this page. The new song is available for digital download from Amazon and iTunes. It’s also on Spotify, where streams count as chart placement if you’re interested in trying to get the Monkees back to the charts.
“Good Times!,” the group’s first new album in 20 years, will be released on May 27. Like the Monkees albums in the ’60s, many of the songs will be written by well-known songwriters. Included also are three songs written by members of the group. One each were written by Mike Nesmith (“I Know What I Know”) and Peter Tork (“Little Girl”), and one, “I Was There (And I’m Told I Had a Good Time),” was co-written by Micky Dolenz with album producer Adam Schlesinger.
A few of the tracks have a history with the Monkees. The new version of “Love To Love,” written by Neil Diamond, features a vintage vocal by Davy Jones. The song was originally recorded several times in 1967 and once in 1969 with Jones singing backed by several guitarists, according to Andrew Sandoval’s sessionography “The Monkees: The Day-By-Day Story of TV’s ’60s Pop Sensation.” One of them was Hugh McCracken, who played on solo songs by Beatles Paul McCartney (“Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey”) and John Lennon (“Happy Xmas”).
The title track is a former Harry Nilsson song initially planned for the Monkees that they never released. The original tape, recorded on Jan. 10, 1968, featured Nilsson on vocals and piano and Mike Nesmith on electric guitar. The new version has been finished as a duet by Nilsson and Dolenz, who was a close friend of Dolenz’s. “Working with Adam Schlesinger has been a pure delight and the opportunity to sing a duet with my old buddy, Harry Nilsson, is just beyond cool!,” Dolenz said about the track. The Boyce-Hart song “Whatever’s Right” also dates from 1966, according to Sandoval. The album also features famed Los Angeles studio musicians the Wrecking Crew, who worked with the Monkees in the ’60s.
The full album track list (with songwriters in parentheses) “Good Times” (Harry Nilsson); “You Bring The Summer” (Andy Partridge); “She Makes Me Laugh” (Rivers Cuomo); “Our Own World” (Adam Schlesinger); “Gotta Give It Time” (Jeff Barry/Joey Levine); “Me & Magdalena” (Ben Gibbard); “Whatever’s Right” (Tommy Boyce/Bobby Hart); “Love To Love” (Neil Diamond); “Little Girl” (Peter Tork); “Birth Of An Accidental Hipster” (Noel Gallagher/Paul Weller); “I Wasn’t Born To Follow” (Carole King/Gerry Goffin); “I Know What I Know” (Michael Nesmith); “I Was There (And I’m Told I Had A Good Time)” (Micky Dolenz/Adam Schlesinger). A deluxe version of the album can be pre-ordered on iTunes and Amazon.