reviewed by Shahab Zargari | Monday, December 26th, 2011

SmileFact: Mike Park has two kids, born in 2006 and 2008. I have two kids, born in 2004 and 2007.

Fact: Mike Park was the driving force behind Skankin’ Pickle.

Fact: In the late ’90s, the first time I ever encountered the lady who would one day be my wife and become the mother of my children, I dubbed her from afar as “That Girl With the Skankin’ Pickle Patch on Her Backpack.”

Fact: On first listen, I loved the first three tracks, as well as sixth track on the album, and felt that the rest of the CD was a bit forced. I also rolled my eyes when I heard Operation Ivy’s “Alright, get out the way!” from “One of These Days” re-sung here as “Alright, let’s get out of bed!”

Fact: Regardless of what Dad thought, my girls wanted nothing more than to listen to the new Smile album over and over and over again. Over and over.

Fact: I now friggin’ love this album, and will listen to it as many times as my girls want to.

Opinion: Fuck all of those Nickelodeon and Disney boy/girl bands. Fuck Barney. Fuck Dora. Shit, fuck Sponge Bob soundtracks even. This is the album that will keep parents sane and humming along while the kids are entertained and happy. I think the level of academic themes in They Might Be Giants’ three-album kids series for Disney outranks the themes on Mike Park’s album for children, but I see nothing wrong with adding all of the aforementioned CDs to one fantastic collection of kick-ass albums that won’t drive the parents crazy.

Fact: “Apples are My Favorite” and “1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8…drums” are our family’s all-time faves.

Smile by Mike Park is highly recommended for parents with kids of all ages.

(Asian Man Records, PO Box 35585, Monte Sereno, CA 95030)

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