Park Life


1994: SBK/Food K2-29194

  1. Girls & Boys
  2. Tracy Jacks
  3. End of a Century
  4. Parklife
  5. Bank Holiday
  6. Badhead
  7. The Debt Collector
  8. Far Out
  9. To the End
  10. London Loves
  11. Trouble in the Message Centre
  12. Clover over Dover
  13. Magic America
  14. Jubilee
  15. This Is a Low
  16. Lot 105

My enduring impression of “Park Life” is that of the chorus/title being honked off-key (deliberately and skilfully) by my coworker Spencer in the Glasgow office of Wizards of the Coast whenever the song happened to play on the CD/radio. That it’s a smug little smirk of a track on its own is just redundant in that context, but it does also have so many lovely little touches throughout that I still love to listen to it.

The juicily tight guitar flourishes on “Girls & Boys” are in a similar category—easily lost in the wake of the dominant first impression but so very tasty and worthy of consideration when you can get round to them. It’s a niftily amusing song even if you can’t hear the details, richly clustered with hit-and-run lyrical nuggets summarizing modern life’s most superficial minutiae and the whole boy/girl scene and highlighting the quirky nuances of gender interplay.

“This Is a Low” is probably my favorite track on Park Life, with the two aforementioned songs arguably competing for First Place on their amusement value. But this one has a feeling of both the profoundly presented Contemporary English Life theme that pervades this album and the wide-reaching wrapup that scope asks for (it doesn’t quite meet that challenge, but it does provide a fine closing note even if it is followed by a bit of additional culturally relevant fluff). It ebbs and flows like tide at dead seaside towns, but here there’s color in the clouds and more than a little love of country to warm the scene, as well as irony.

I don’t think there’s a bad track on this album, although some are weaker than others. But talk about quibbling!