If you're among the fortunate few whose acid-soaked inner child hasn't been snuffed by a billion boring days at the office, then Rachel Goodrich's twisted, jaunty tune "Light Bulb" should still fill your skull with all kinds of weird and wacky hallucinations.
"You know, I like to take a dark mindset and give it a happy soundtrack," Goodrich says.
And propelled by whimsy-laced lyrics about halos and demons hanging over her head, she conjures up a retro cartoon universe full of cute but creepy creatures, all armed with serious ukulele and kazoo skills. Listen obsessively enough, and the song starts to sound like something written alone at midnight while watching ancient episodes of Silly Symphonies.
"Well, I don't really consciously write anything. I kind of just let it flow," she says. "But as far as old cartoons go, they definitely inspire me. I like to draw and I've always been a doodler. I like old Disney and Dr. Seuss a lot."
But even if the influence is unconscious, Goodrich's new self-titled sophomore album, hitting streets this Tuesday, is often swarming with cartoonishly crazy ideas. Just take the eighth track, "G-Dino," a super-simple 38-second sliver of lo-fi hip-hop on kiddie crack.
"It was actually a joke," Goodrich laughs. "One day, I was hanging out with my sister, and I got this dinosaur shirt. We were in the car, and we started singing the song together, like, 'I'm a little gangsta dinosaur,' and my sister went, 'Bam ba-ba-ba-bam ba-bam!'
"The next day, I just put it together. And then I showed a couple of people who I was working on the record with. And they said, 'Aw, you have to use it.' And I was like, 'No way!' But they were like, 'Yes way! We're gonna use it.' "
Later, while hanging out in La La Land with bigwig Grammy-winning producer Greg Wells, Goodrich tried to keep things equally fresh and loose as she spun her vivid little visions of uke-playing demons and thuggish dinos into a pretty, polished record. "It was a lot of fun. I can't say it was too much fun, because there's no such thing," she says. "And the collaboration part of it was cool. Greg let me have my freedom. Lots of freedom.
"He got all kinds of instruments in the studio, and I couldn't really make up my mind as to what I wanted to use for what parts." So she used everything. "There are old toy pianos and the pump organ and the big mariachi bass guitar. And yeah, lots of little trinkets. I like to use walls and washing machines and stuff. And lamps, like dings from the light bulb.
"So I was just, you know, banging on random shit."
Rachel Goodrich's self-titled sophomore album will be released February 22 via her own label Yellow Bear Records.