Sometimes all you want is a lazy afternoon reading with your kid or playing Legos with them while rain gently falls outside.
This is not the album for those times.
Ultramagnetic Universal Love Revolution, the second album from Los Angeles' Mista Cookie Jar (and his backing band, the Chocolate Chips), is bright and shiny -- as chaotic a melange of sights, sounds, and smells as the boardwalk pier featured on the album's cover photo -- and intended to make you dance.
Just listen to the first track, "Inner Child Rock," and you'll have a pretty good idea whether the album is for you. Mista Cookie Jar (AKA C.J. Pizarro) sings out his rapid fire lyrics while his daughter, 9-year-old Ava Flava, and Miss Mikyla chime in with background lyrics (their oft-repeated "We HEART you" is lodged in my brain for the next year at least), offset by the occasional "Let's get, let's get, let's get wild" bridge. I find it nearly irresistible, but I admit that others might find it over the top.
There are some slightly less wild tracks -- in the liner notes for "Lover Not a Fighter," Pizarro said he "aimed to pilfer some of that Jackson 5 bubble gum-soul-funk-magic" and it's a worthy re-appropriation of the sound. "Happy Place" is a sun-drenched groove that should be played loudly as the neighborhood kids jump around in the front yard slip-n-slide. (If you or your kid want to double-down on the sonic craziness of "Inner Child Rock," I'd suggest tracks like "Lucas!" or "Best Day Ever EVER.")
Lyrically... well, I think a sample from "Crystal Cave" illustrates where the lyrics sometimes go: "Inside ur heart there is a crystal cave / where the witches and the wizards invent their games. / They sew a string of sing-alongs / and tie them to the wings of swans / connectin' hearts to stars to cookie jars /in daisy-chain-trains!" We are a long way away from songs about how to tie your shoe here, but it really fits in with the sound.
The album is most appropriate for kids ages 5 through 9. You can listen to extended samples from the 43-minute album here.
As is the case with many good albums, Ultramagnetic Universal Love Revolution won't please everyone, and in fact some folks might downright dislike it. But I think there are more than a handful of families who are going to absolutely adore the beats and rhymes and very palpable sense of love that pervades these dance tunes. Me, I'm more in that second camp (and hope that everybody at least checks it out). Recommended.