Not that Park can't or doesn't hit his emotional marks: For the Love of Music is an extraordinarily intimate record, filled with personal ruminations on racism ("From Korea"), Raymond Carver-esque sketches of life in the rock underground (the cello-tinted "Supposed to Be There Too") and, of course, declarations of love. Trouble is, he borrows the wrong page from the emo songwriter's handbook: the one that teaches budding authors to transmute their private diary entries verbatim into songs.
When Park croons "Extend my hand and I hope you will, too/My culture bleeds but I'm shaking it on through" during "On That Stage," the direct maudlin sentiment collides with obtuse lyricism in a way even fans of early Ani DiFranco would find awkward.
But if Park has trouble reining in his prosaic instincts, he shows an undeniable knack for driving, sing-along melodies. Most promisingly, "Just Like This" rides along on a poppy, mod-friendly beat that augurs well for his future as a songwriter -- if he can learn to sufficiently expand his lyrical scope.