For the Love of Music
Considering Mike Park is founder of national punk tour Plea for Peace, you’d expect a preachy, overt predilection for themes of peace, anti-racism, etc. Even though those themes do exist on his first solo record, For the Love of Music, they aren’t overly dramatic.
Like much of today’s art, sentimentality can stifle progression and simply destroy any emotional connection. Park, however, is able to delve away from that sappiness. He tackles racism (“From Korea”) and ideals of peace (“On That Stage” and “Counting Sheep”), and he does it with maturity.
On “Counting Sheep,” he explores the separation of parents and children: “And I want for this moment to rise / I’m sorry for being the prize / I’m older, but I can’t stay here with you… Dear Mom.” Later, on “Challenging Me,” he tackles wealth and suffering: “This fortune brought to you / is it worth the pain, the suffering? / would you gather work sparingly without the stress or is there such a thing.”
He does all this lyrical challenging while offering a truly solid acoustical backbone. Occasionally, he arranges violin (“Thankful All The Same”) with skill and professionalism. “Train Maps” reminds of the eclecticism of REM’s “Losing My Religion,” and “Southbound 280” has a six-string country-western vibe.
Park delivers a solid solo debut that exhibits remarkable range and solid arrangements while tackling pressing social concerns.