Children's music sounds so simple yet conversely it can be frustratingly difficult. As They Might Be Giants opined on Marc Maron's podcast recently, there's a lot of stuff out there that's not very good. Let me therefore state that Jumpin' Jamie has managed to traverse the difficult pathway between simple and difficult. His debut CD, KOOKIE, delivers power-pop, parody, and positivity in equal measure.
Jamie uses Green Day's iconic DOOKIE as a jumping-off point, with lots of hard rock guitars behind songs like "Back to the Future" (a recap of the film), "Words," and "A Ghost in My House." Contemporary pop artists utilize different co-writers and production teams behind virtually every track on their CDs. Somehow, Jamie has employed a similar technique on KOOKIE, with five producers, including Danny Weinkauf and Marty Bellar (TMBG).
There are also a stunning 40 (!) guest stars listed on the CD, although the vast majority appear on "I Wanna Be Healthy," such as Peter Tork (The Monkees), Patricia Quinn (Rocky Horror Picture Show), and a bevy of kid's music stars I won't offend by offering a partial listing. Yes, there's a dino song as well, "The Rise and Fall of Argentinosaurus" (put that one in your spell-check).
Children's music has the ability to offer messages about adults while winking at their kids. I've seen this done countless times in my decade-plus by too many artists to mention. Jamie attempts it as well, with mixed returns. "I Wanna Be Healthy" rests at the top end of the spectrum, while "Coffee" lands with a thunk:
Why do adults drink coffee?
They watch football and they place their bets.
They do unhealthy things like smoke cigarettes.
They loves taxes and more things that are bland.
I guess some things I just don't understand.
"Coffee" comes off more as a scold that an amusing fable. As the protagonist's parents smoke and gamble, the only thing they don't mix some booze in with their caffeine. Given a choice, I would recommend "The Coffee Song" by Ralph's World. Okay, point successfully beaten into the ground.
Jamie Theurich's "day job" is as dinosaur troubadour (yes, it's a thing) at New Jersey's popular Field Station: Dinosaurs theme park. As such, he's intimately familiar with what works in front of audiences comprised of, well, who knows what, for any given performance. That's not a bad jumping-off point. And Jamie is certainly jumpin' for greener pastures with KOOKIE.
KOOKIE is available on June 1 from Jumpin' Jamie's website, Amazon, and iTunes.
Here is the video for Jamie's song, "Back to the Future":