Friday, November 11, 2011

Mike Park- Smile

If you've ever read any of our reviews, or have just even heard of our website, there's a good chance that you're familiar with the name Mike Park. Basically anyone familiar with any variety of punk or ska music is very aware of the importance Mike Park has in the scene. He's fronted so many excellent bands (Skankin' Pickle, The Chinkees, Bruce Lee Band) and he runs the best record label ever to be run out of a garage. Wait, scratch that- the best record label in the WORLD:  Asian Man Records. Asian Man Records is the label responsible for your addiction to bands like Alkaline Trio, Big D & the Kids Table, Lemuria, Hard Girls, Kepi Ghoulie, Lawrence arms, The Broadways, Shinobu, Slapstick, and way more. So, by saying that Asian Man Records is responsible for this, we're automatically saying that Mike Park is ultimately held responsible. Mike Park also does solo stuff, which never ceases to amaze me. This record is something truly awesome, though- Smile is a children's music work. And I am still proud to say that I've been listening to it for an hour straight. It's that good.
The record is an amazing combination of pure fun, education, and talented music. I can't stand so much of kids music because of the pure inanity of it all- it's boring, repetitive, and obnoxious. HOWEVER. As to be expected, that's not what Mike Park does with it. The music is great. It's something that could easily be passed off as any other kind of music with different lyrics. The sax solo in "I Love Playing My Saxophone" is so great, it makes me really happy. But above all- the lyrics are perfect for kids. It's a great balance of teaching good habits to kids and just letting them have fun with it. Songs like "I Can See The Ocean" and "We All Live In Animal Park" are prime wiggle-and-giggle opportunities. There's also stuff like "Apples are my Favorite" and "When The Light Turns Red You Stop", that clearly has an agenda. Although all the songs typically mention good habits for kids, there are still songs focused mainly on this. And yet the educational songs are still super fun.
I'm far too old to be enjoying this record so much! It's just Mike Park's magic, I guess. I'm going to be pulling out this record for my nieces and nephews, possible future spawns, and maybe even just for fun sometimes... But don't tell anyone! ;) "Wigily Wigily Worm" is my new jam, you guys. You don't even understand. I want to walk down the aisle to that song. 
"Paint With Me" also pulls a few heartstrings.

Overall, if you ever said to yourself "I bet Mike Park can't make a good album with a target audience of children," you were wrong. So wrong. 

Great record for parents! And well, not-parents too. I can say from personal experience that you don't need to be a little kid to get into this.

-Bear (With a little help from Idle

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