I’m not sure how many of you know this, but Mike Park (yes, the same Mike Park of Asian Man Records, Skankin Pickle, Bruce Lee Band, etc…) last year released a new album. It’s called Smile and it features 12 family-friendly songs for children (and cool adults). It has been a go-to album for rides in the car since we got it last year. Both my daughters love Smile and can sing most/all of the songs on the album with our favorites including “I Can See The Ocean,”1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..Drums,” and “We All Live At Animal Park.” Seriously, every time the last word of “Animal Park” is sung I’m bombarded with requests like, “Daddy, play it again!”
As somewhat of an aside, I’ve been a HUGE fan of Mike Park (both his record label and his music) for 15+ years. I love his DIY spirit and (heck) I’ve even got the Dill Records CD versions of Lookit! (one of my all-time favorite albums) and a few Skankin Pickle releases. So, yeah, even though I’m an Asian Man and Mike Park fanboy I can honestly say that Smile is head and shoulders better than so much other music created specifically for children.
The songs on Smile are upbeat, amazingly catchy and held together with some (almost) ska-style instrumentation. It’s a little punky, a little ska, a little indie and 100% Mike Park. The best part of this album is that the music isn’t dumbed down for youngsters and even though the lyrics focus on things like frogs, apples and having fun much of Smile could easily be mistaken for “normal” non-kid-specific fare. Like the title of the record suggests, this is music that will simply make you (and your family) smile.
Additionally, Mike is starting a new kid/family focused record label called Fun Fun Records with upcoming releases from Kepi Ghoulie, Dan Potthast and Greg Attonito (Bouncing Souls). I can’t wait.