Attributes: Discs:1. Label: Friday Music ( FRIM ). Product Type: Compact Disc. Calling their final album Changes made sense for the Monkees. Mike Nesmith had just departed, leaving only Mickey Dolenz and Davy Jones to hold down the fort. The other big change was that after years of struggling to have their voices as songwriters and musicians heard, the remaining duo basically gave up and let the producers take over. The musical reigns were given to legendary producer Jeff Barry (who had just come from a huge success with the Archies), and he and his cronies like Bobby Bloom wrote and performed the songs. Apart from one track written by Dolenz (the goofy country-rock novelty “Midnight Train”), the Monkees were on hand to provide vocals only. While this could be seen as some kind of defeat and the end of the Monkees as an actual rock band, Changes ended up being a very good bubblegum record. Barry s production is light and frothy, the songs are hooky and fun, and both Dolenz and Jones perform admirably, given the likely, somewhat humiliating situation. There are songs that rock harder than you d expect (“99 Pounds,” “Oh My My”), very sweet ballads (the gospelly “Tell My Love” and “You re So Good to Me”), silly novelty songs (“I Love You Better”), a fun, tropical-themed love song (“Acapulco Sun”), and even a vaudeville-y Boyce & Hart number tacked on the end of the album (“I Never Thought It Peculiar”). There are even a couple songs that might make a discerning fan s homemade best-of comp, namely the achingly pretty Dolenz-sung ballad “Ticket on a Ferry Ride” and “Do You Feel It Too, ” a heartfelt love song that shows Jones at his sincere best. It may not be an incredibly inspired album, but it is a lot of fun and if they had stuck together (and with Barry), they could have had a nice little run of albums. Sadly, though, the record tanked completely and the Monkees’ name was retired soon after its release. Tim Sendra, Rovi.