Park – Building a Better ______

April 25th, 2010 by WLOY Staff

Listening to music rather extensively, it’s natural to develop some bad habits. Personally, I have a habit of holding certain bands to higher standards, especially based on past releases or albums I’ve heard. This became pretty obvious to me with some recent releases. Daisy, by Brand New, was always lingering in the shadow of The Devil And God…, Ursa Major was hard for me to separate from Third Eye Blind’s self-titled. Is this healthy? I’m not sure, but it’s struck me once again with Park, pop-punk extraordinaires.

Let me clarify, Park was a rare, lucky find for me. I can’t take credit for it; it was a recommendation, but I immediately fell in love with the sharp vocals, dark lyrics, and impeccable riffs on It Won’t Snow Where You’re Going. Eventually, I felt content enough with Park to move onto the rest of their discography. Building A Better ______ , their curiously titled 2006 release, was next on my list. Would it have the same effect on me as It Won’t Snow? Well, let’s find out…

In many ways, Building A Better ______ is not a whole lot different for Park. Many of the songs here could easily fit onto a previous record, with my previously mentioned adjectives that work so well I’m bound to repeat them- sharp vocals, dark lyrics, and impeccable riffs. It’s also structured very similarly. It’s got the slow, sappy love song, “Angeles and Errors.” It has that early, catchy standout with biting lyrics, “Mississippi Burning,” that begins with, “More nightmares/Someone wake me when they’re through/Stop my lover’s ghost from trying to protrude (You’re burning, you’re burning) It’s chaotic, but I’ve got it/You’re letter scratched across my throat/Like some painter’s ink, spilled the canvas soiling parts of me.” Ladd Mitchell and his vocals get a little intense sometimes, and this is portrayed well on the aforementioned song the follower, “Who Is Aliandra.”

All in all, Park’s sound remains relatively constant, not just throughout Building, but arguably throughout most of their career. They still remain masters of strong structure, twisting and turning your generic punk-pop anthem into something entirely different. Closer “Hide and Seek” displays their penchant for this aptly, and I left the album with a good taste in my mouth and wanting just a little bit more.

The biggest draw to Park is the pop-punk sound without the shallow clichés. The instrumentation is incredibly proficient, all the way from the fast-paced “Chica Chica” (which has an amazing chorus, by the way) all the way to slow-burners like “La Amoreoux.” The dark, intense lyrics are a big turn-on, but the typical pop-punk fan may shy away from these. My biggest complaint would have to be the lack of catchy single-worthy masterpieces that were oh-so-evident on It Won’t Snow… “Mississippi Burning” serves the purpose adequately, but a few more of these would have made this listener much more content. So, is this as good as It Won’t Snow? No, I don’t think so, but it isn’t bad by any means. A great addition to Park’s catalogue, Building A Better ______ is a great place to go after you’ve digested Park’s magnum opus.

Recommended Songs:

Mississippi Burning

Who Is Aliandra

Chica Chica

Hide and Seek

Overall Grade: 86% B

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