Kyle Park

Make or Break Me

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In an era when the album is no longer king, Texas-based country singer/songwriter Kyle Park issued two EPs in 2010, one named for the spring and the other for the fall, and in 2011 he has compiled the nine tracks from those discs along with six new ones for his third full-length CD, Make or Break Me. Both EPs reached the Billboard country charts, suggesting that Park is more than ready to make his move on Music Row, and the new tunes mixed in with the old further that impression. Park's crack band plays tight arrangements in a variety of styles, ranging from traditional country and Western swing (the new "Leavin' Stephenville" and "I Think You're in Love" from the Fall 2010 EP) to Tom Petty-style midtempo rockers with electric guitar solos (the new "I Love Her for a Million Reasons"). Park sings in an ingratiating tenor, and his musical persona is equally pleasing, especially, it would seem, to his female listeners. That's because much of the time he is celebrating a romance that's going well or, if it isn't going well (or is even over), lamenting and wishing it was. Most of the songs are directed from the singer to the love object, and when he and his girlfriend have broken up, either because he's dumped her ("Any Day or Night") or she's dumped him ("I'm Missing You"), he readily confesses that it was all his fault and he wants her back now. Usually, drinking and carousing with his buddies are his failings, but in "What You'll Never Know," he suggests that he has darker problems he is disinclined to detail, but that are so bad that, if known, even the Devil wouldn't date him. That sounds serious, but for the most part Park doesn't dig deep or get too detailed, sticking with the kind of surface meanings that make for broadly popular music, whatever the genre.

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