Park – It Won’t Snow Where You’re Going
Release Date: November 11, 2003
Record Label: Lobster Records
When a band includes a disclaimer in their lyrics booklet explaining that musical themes of suicide should not be acted upon by the listener, they must really mean business. I hear the phrase “summer album” thrown around often in connection to upbeat and poppy albums. In contrast, Park’s It Won’t Snow Where You’re Going is the kind of album needed for warmth through the coldest of winters. Though there is little to nothing that can be described as cheerful in vocalist/guitarist Ladd Mitchell’s lyrics, there’s something encouraging in screaming ‘Let’s give up / Let’s give in’ during times of personal strife.
Though his lyrics are one of the main draws to Park, Mitchell’s vocals are nothing extraordinary. There’s something humbling about this, though. It makes him an everyman, someone whose troubles are easy to relate to. With that being said, at certain moments on the album his voice does shine brighter than usual. There’s an unmistakable build up on the track “Pomona for Empusa,” and for a few moments before the chorus Mitchell conveys his current frustration excellently with the single lyric, ‘Jesus Christ, what was I thinking?’ This short pause is made even better with limited accompaniment by guitarist Justin Valenti, who dwindles towards lower notes on the fretboard as a representation of Mitchell’s sinking state.
Transitions between songs can sometimes be awkward and poorly executed. It Won’t Snow Where You’re Going manages to produce one transition that’s downright fantastic. At the close of “Pomona for Empusa” drummer Miles Logan jumps from the left speaker to the right (an effect that can only be fully appreciated while wearing headphones) before bleeding into “Conversations with Emily,” an immensely impressive song.
The transition is made better due to how different the two tracks are. “Pomona for Empusa” is loud and angry, while “Conversations with Emily” is soothing, and spectacular because of it. Emily is Mitchell’s confidant; he spills his heart to her over a love lost as she attempts to comfort him. Mitchell speaks the part of Emily as well, which surprisingly adds to the storytelling effect. He speaks softly his anguish, expressing his emotions slowly for poetic effect: ‘The only thing that can fill this gap / Is the one who doesn't want me back.’ Ever the supportive friend, and perhaps shunned love interest, Emily consoles Mitchell by acting as the voice of reason: ‘I wish you were here to hold me / And scream Damn it Ladd, I need you back / Emily rolls over in bed / And says, You don't want that.' Bassist Gabe Looker does a wonderful job setting the tone, and as with every song on the album, he presents creative bass work that isn’t boring. “Conversations with Emily” is part open letter, part short story, and a song that everyone must listen to.
Hell hath no fury like Ladd Mitchell scorned, as evident on every track from It Won’t Snow Where You’re Going. Ever the conflicted lover, Mitchell wishes death on the woman he loves, wishes death for himself, and is quick to apologize for every one of his shortcomings. He lays himself at the feet of his dear sweet impaler, and when she denies him, he lashes out and yells, ‘Well god damn you for breathing,’ though he is instantly apologetic, repeatedly reciting the words ‘I love you.’
Park goes out on top with “Codex Avellum,” the final track of the album. Thought the lyrics are limited, the element of screaming background vocals accompanying Mitchell’s solemn words adds some raw emotion that is missing on previous tracks. It Won’t Snow Where You’re Going seems to have all the ingredients of a superb album, but lack of diversity hurts it as a whole. It’s a shame that the songs aren’t more unique from one another musically. Essentially, if you hear one song, you’ve heard them all. A huge exception to the rule is “Conversations with Emily,” which proves that with more branching out It Won’t Snow Where You’re Going could have been something better. Before this review is over, it is mandatory to post the last lyrics to the best song on the album. Slowing things down even further and cutting out the bass to place more of an emphasis on Emily’s final words, her conversation with Mitchell comes to a close.
So here’s my advice to you
This should have turned out different
But it didn't, so get over it
But don't you find it reassuring
That one consolation growing
My darling boy
It won't snow where she is going
i've never heard of park at all, but the first paragraph of the review alone makes me want to check them out.
Then I've done my job.
Like singyoutocoma said, you can d/l It Won't Snow Where You're Going at Park's purevolume page. Download it and burn a few copies for some friends. At the very least give "Conversations with Emily" a listen.
my brother bought this cd years ago. and from my first impression, i would say that lyrics shouldn't get 9/10 if all of the songs have identical lyrical subject.
i also feel that every park "fan" only came out of the woodwork when they broke up.
really good review though.
Good point, let me clear that up. I have no problem giving a high score for great lyrics if there's a theme that runs central throughout the album. What bothers me is the music, which is what I was referring to with "lack of diversity." As you can see, the lowest numerical score was in Creativity, which to me stands fairly close to Diversity.
And I'm not sure about fake Park fans... the people I've seen on this site seem like a loyal bunch. I won this album from an unpopular website about four years ago (no one else signed up for the contest), and have been listening to it for a while. I wouldn't call myself a big Park fan though, since I haven't heard any of their other material. I'm actually looking forward to how fans of the band take the review. Most people who have posted so far don't seem to know who the hell Park is, hah.
Thanks for reading and commenting - cool to finally see you with a large avatar.