Well, we’re all still stuck inside and looking for something fantastical to get our imaginations working. Musician Will Parker has taken the lead in that direction with his new album, ImagineLand. Will (and his collaborative partner Sam Fuller) introduces a world of characters—many of whom come alive during his virtual shows (in-person shows will wait for post-pandemic conditions). These personas include “Nomadic Gnomes,” “Unicorn On a Unicycle,” and “Pizza Knights.” Ensemble performer Michelle Benton takes the lead on “Rainbow Mermaid Detective Jones,” certainly one of the most specifically-dedicated fantasy character identities.
The storyline running through ImagineLand is that the inventive world is in trouble because people are not believing in fantasy anymore. Throughout the live shows, the audience is enticed to sing and dance along, climaxing with a collaborative improvised song, stressing the importance of imagination making the world a better place. Parker’s point is precise and paramount—people, please picture pleasurable places. Now, use your imagination for something fun.
Here is the video for Will Parker’s song, “Unicorn On a Unicycle”:
Just when I thought The Pop Ups and Twinkle Time had locked down the upbeat kindie pop sound, along comes Suzanne Jamieson (produced by the Pop Ups). While her first family release focused on lullabies, Jamieson pulled a 180 and now wants kids to be completely awake and active for her sophomore collection, entitled Bounce.
As her own kids aged out of toddler and pre-K music, Jamieson sought a suitable segue before they moved into traditional pop music. Worried about inappropriate lyrical content as well as lack of positive messaging, she worked with Jason Rabinowitz and Jacob Stein (those Pop Up guys) to utilize their pop synth sound and create the 11 songs on Bounce. A child of the 1980s herself, Jamieson used her background as a certified yoga therapist and readings from texts on happiness and philosophy to develop the personality and vitality of this collection.
Much like fellow Californian Twinkle, Jamieson infuses her power pop with positivity and self-determination. There’s a party going on, but there’s also stuff to think about as well. “Lemonade” is about making the best of a potential bad situation. “Grateful,” featuring the Alphabet Rockers, asks listeners to consider the good things around them. “Luna” is a “bump in the night” song that also assures children that their emotions are just as valid as grownups, especially true in the world of a global pandemic. Your soon-to-be tweens might enjoy a dose of tailor-made, feel-good music like Suzanne Jamieson’s Bounce. (And for the parents, there’s always the other Jameson.)
Here is the video for the title track of Suzanne Jamieson’s new album, “Bounce”: