— -- Here it is! The Monkees' first studio album in 20 years was released today.
"Good Times!" celebrates the band's 50th anniversary and features new contributions from surviving members Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork. It also includes tunes written especially for the project by a variety of respected modern-rock artists.
Nesmith told ABC News that he was pleasantly surprised with "Good Times!"
"I thought it came out great, and the songs that people have been writing for it I thought were great," noted Nesmith.
"It just came together like an ordinary record, but because it was our 50th [anniversary], we knew it was gonna be kind of a touchstone, so everybody had high hopes for it," he continued. "And then when it came out like it did, it was like, 'Holy smokes, this actually…sounds good!' And so, we were thrilled."
The album includes tunes written by Weezer's Rivers Cuomo, Oasis' Noel Gallagher, The Jam's Paul Weller, XTC's Andy Partridge and Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard. Nesmith said he especially liked Gibbard's contribution, "Me and Magdelana," as well as a track that Weller and Gallagher co-wrote, "Birth of an Accidental Hipster."
On "Me and Magdelana," Nesmith trades lead vocals with Dolenz. He said that working with his old band mate on the parts for that song, and other tracks, was one of the things he most enjoyed about making the album.
"It was very easy 'cause we worked together for so long," he pointed out, adding that "having the different writers gave us so many more things to say and so many more opportunities at a good time. Ha! No pun intended."
"Good Times!" certainly shares many elements with The Monkees' classic 1960s material, including infectious melodies and jangly guitars.
Still, Nesmith feels that the new album is more than a trip down memory lane.
"The thing that I think works so good about the new record is that it really is in the moment," he insisted. "It's happening right now. These are real people, right now, singing it in this real time."