Music Reviews
3:22 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Luscious Jackson Hits A Sweet Spot With New Children's Album

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 8:02 pm

After going on hiatus in 2000, the members of Luscious Jackson settled down. Bassist Jill Cunniff was the first to have kids, and those children ultimately inspired her and the band to record some kid-friendly tracks.

After an unsuccessful search for a label to release the songs in 2006, the music might have remained buried on a hard drive. But as Cunniff's bandmates had kids of their own, they thought they might have had a preschool hit. Nearly a decade later, the rest of the world can hear the album, now titled Baby DJ.

Cunniff says most of the album is unchanged from the original recording — and some of the songs, like "Yeah Yeah No No," definitely sound like they were written when the trio's kids were younger. At its best, Baby DJ is a slice of city life, featuring everything from dance parties to an annoying pest to the pleasures of coconut slush drinks on a summer day.

The band's new album for adults, Magic Hour, had its genesis in Luscious Jackson getting back together to finish Baby DJ, proving again that parenthood needn't mean the end of a creative life. It can even aid its resurgence.

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Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Following great aging rocker tradition, the group Luscious Jackson is out with its first new album in more than a decade, two new albums as a matter of fact. Following another great aging rocker tradition, the group has also released its first children's album. It's called "Baby DJ." Our family music reviewer, Stefan Shepherd, says "Baby DJ" played a big role in getting the band back together.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GABBY GLASER: (Rapping) I'm your little baby DJ.

LUSCIOUS JACKSON. BAND: (Singing) I love you.

STEFAN SHEPHERD, BYLINE: After going on hiatus in 2000, the member of Luscious Jackson settled down. Bassist Jill Cunniff was the first to have kids, and they inspired her and the band to record some kid-friendly tracks.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GLASER: (Rapping) I'm your little baby DJ, your DJ, your DJ. I'm your little baby DJ. Baby DJ, baby DJ.

BAND: (Singing) Hey, (unintelligible) come and get it now.

GLASER: (Rapping) Get it now.

BAND: (Singing) Baby DJ wants you to get down.

GLASER: (Rapping) Get down.

BAND: (Singing) with the music...

GLASER: (Rapping) Get down.

BAND: (Singing) Come and get it now.

GLASER: (Rapping) Get down.

BAND: (Singing) Baby DJ wants you to get down.

SHEPHERD: That's the track, "Baby DJ" with guitarist Gabby Glaser providing silly vocals. After unsuccessfully searching for a label to release the album in 2006, these songs might have stayed buried on a hard drive. But as Cunniff's bandmates had kids of their own, they thought they might have a preschool-aged hit.

So nearly a decade later, the rest of the world can hear the album, now titled "Baby DJ."

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BAND: (Singing) Jamie Gee never understood when knowing what you want it's not good. In the restaurant, she gets confused and she doesn't know what to do. And the waitress can't take it when she stares at the menu. Yeah, yeah, no, no, yeah, yeah, and maybe so. Yeah, yeah, no, no, yeah, yeah, and maybe so. Yeah, yeah, no, no, yeah, yeah, and maybe so. I don't know.

SHEPHERD: It kind of says most of the album is unchanged from the original recording and some of the songs like, "Yeah, Yeah, No, No," definitely sound like they were written when the trio's kids were younger. At its best, "Baby DJ" is a slice of city life featuring everything from dance parties to an annoying pest and the pleasures of coconut icies on a summer day.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BAND: (Singing) All I've got is 50 cents. It looks pretty fresh so your momma says yes. Sun is hitting the sidewalk and you're so hot that you can't even talk. Coconut Icy, is so nice.

SHEPHERD: The band's new album for adults, "Magic Hour," had its genesis in the band getting back together to finish "Baby DJ," proving again that parenthood needn't mean the end of a creative life. It can even aid its resurgence.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GLASER: Jodi Goofy(ph).

BAND: (Singing) Let's all be real silly, goofy. Why can't we be silly, goofy. Ha, ha, hee, hee, where is Stacy(ph) she is right here laughing with me. Go, go, let's see, keep laughing with me. Go, go, let's see who's laughing with me.

SIEGEL: Stefan Shepherd reviewed "Baby DJ" by the band Luscious Jackson. Stefan writes about kid's music at Zooglobble.com. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.