Two years after their shockingly great 50th anniversary album, Good Times! — which gave them their highest showing on the Billboard album chart since 1968 — the Monkees have returned to the studio to cut Christmas Party, their first holiday album. Set for release October 12th, the album is produced by Fountain of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger, with new vocals by surviving Monkees Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork along with vintage recordings of the late Davy Jones.
Christmas Party features new songs written by Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo (“What Would Santa Do”) and Andy Partridge of XTC (“Unwrap You At Christmas”). Novelist Michael Chabon and Schlesinger collaborated on “House of Broken Gingerbread,” while R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey of the Minus 5 wrote the title track and play on a cover of Big Star’s “Jesus Christ.” Nesmith didn’t write any songs for the album, but he does sing lead on “The Christmas Song” and “Snowfall.” Other tracks on the album include “Wonderful Christmastime,” “Angels We Have Heard on High” and “Merry Christmas, Baby.”
“Silver Bells” and “Mele Kalikimaka” contain vocals by Jones (seemingly drawn from his 1976 LP Christmas Jones) that have been paired with newly recorded music. The rest of the songs were recorded in their entirety this year.
It’s unclear how many songs Tork sings on. The guitarist has kept a low profile this year, opting not to tour with Nesmith and Dolenz on their The Monkees Present: The Mike & Micky Show tour, and has been completely absent from the concert circuit on his own.
Nesmith and Dolenz were forced to call off their tour with four shows remaining when Nesmith suffered a severe heart ailment, but he’s fully recovered after undergoing quadruple-bypass surgery and is currently on the road with the First National Band. The Mike and Micky Show will resume in March to play the dates they had to call off earlier this year.
Christmas Party Track List
- “Unwrap You At Christmas”
- “What Would Santa Do”
- “Mele Kalikimaka”
- “House Of Broken Gingerbread”
- “The Christmas Song”
- “Christmas Party”
- “Jesus Christ”
- “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day”
- “Silver Bells”
- “Wonderful Christmastime”
- “Angels We Have Heard On High”
- “Merry Christmas, Baby”