Initially released in October, 2018, The Monkees’ first/only “official” Christmas collection is (essentially) a warm continuation of the work they’d begun with 2015’s incredible return, Good Times, except this time with a specific theme. Sadly, this year, we lost Peter Tork, but he’s here, in spirit and on the bonus tracks included with the “special” Target-edition and the November 2019 Record Store Day double 45 release of “Christmas Is My Favorite Time Of Year”. Included as part of both packages mentioned is also the now-classic performance of “Riu Chiu”, which The Monkees did on their 1967 Christmas episode.
Of the other new tracks, because of its connotations, their take on Big Star’s “Jesus Christ” is by far my favorite; whereas Alex Chilton sang with a sardonic tone in his voice, Micky Dolenz brings a sense of joy (the word “warm” may get overused here, so fair warning). “The Christmas Song” (“Chestnuts roasting on a open fire…”) is delivered with heartbreaking beauty by Michael Nesmith and a collaboration between producer Adam Schelesinger and author Michael Chabon brought “House Of Broken Gingerbread”, which the subject matter is not your standard Christmas fare but is a stunning piece of writing and execution.
Christmas albums are what they are; there’s not much that one can say or dissect. But with The Monkees’ Christmas Party, you can find just that little bit of joy and that little part of you who’s still a kid. Mike and Micky, along with departed/beloved Peter and Davy (still) have that kind of magic.
Christmas Party is currently available on all formats