50 Best Albums of 2016

Beyoncé smashed the system, Chance the Rapper counted his blessings, David Bowie left a powerful goodbye and more

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The Monkees, 'Good Times!'

44. The Monkees, 'Good Times!'

On the first studio album to contain all four Monkees since 1996's Justus, the "prefab four" – now in their seventies or, in the case of Davy Jones, sadly passed – reassure baby boomers that simple guitar-pop pleasures can last a lifetime. With the production help of Fountains of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger, and new songs/homages by Rivers Cuomo, Andy Partridge and Ben Gibbard, alpha ape Micky Dolenz and associates create a conceptually intriguing artifact that rattles like a tambourine in a distressed time machine. Thanks to resurrected archival material, Dolenz belts out the title track alongside its long-dead composer, Harry Nilsson; Peter Tork sings Gerry Goffin and Carole King's plaintive "Wasn't Born to Follow" over an arrangement recorded in '69; and Tork and Dolenz add new harmonies to Davy Jones's 50-year-old take on Neil Diamond's downbeat "Love to Love." If this sounds strange, one could argue that we need the "Sixties" now more than ever. R.G.

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