Rick Springfield

Mission Magic!

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Mission Magic was an early-'70s cartoon that aired on Saturday mornings between 1973 and 1975 and featured time traveling kids and Rick Springfield (who had already had a chart hit in the U.S. with Speak to the Sky in 1972) starring as himself. It was a forgettable piece of fluff that would be forgotten entirely except for Springfield's future stardom and the album made up of songs he would perform at the end of each episode. Mission Magic was released in 1974 and disappeared without a trace but is actually a pretty magical piece of bubblegummy goodness. Unlike the usual procedures for an album like this, Springfield wrote all the songs on the Mission Magic soundtrack, and he proves quite adept at cranking out hooky, fun, and simple tunes that won't tax your brain but will leave you feeling good. In keeping with the target audience, many of the songs have positive kid-friendly messages, telling them "You Can Do It (If You Really Try)," that "Love Is the Answer," and that everyone is special in their own way so "You'd Better Think Twice" before being mean. Other songs just aim to be good-time rockers like the roof raising "We're Gonna Have a Good Time" or "It's Driving Me Crazy." Some sound like prequels to Working Class Dog ("Free and Easy"), some are just carefree and wonderful ("Just Gotta Sing"). On albums under his own name, Springfield can come off as too studied or mannered, here he's not concerned with deep thoughts or real emotions, and it frees him to concentrate on making the kind of songs that pop like bubblewrap. You can make a case for this album to be a great lost treasure of '70s pop, it's that good and that much fun.

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