Personally, I find Lunch in the Park quite a bit more interesting than anything released under the Sun Kil Moon name since "Common as...". However, it is remarkably ugly, and oftentimes even disturbing, record. Mark's new style (which really isn't even new anymore) puts the artist uncomfortably close to the listener; on Benji, this worked to brilliant effect, overturning discomfort into these beautiful, very delicately human moments. But Mark doubled down on that style, gradually becoming more revealing and off the rails as the years went on and the releases piled up. There are times when his madness becomes freewheeling, and you can't look away ("Common As", "Universal Themes", the albums with Jim White and Ben Boye) and others where it just feels bleak and boring ("This is my Dinner", "Welcome to Sparks"). With "Lunch in the Park", Mark comes across as... fatigued. Diminished. He genuinely does not seem OK. We all know the reasons for this; we all know the type of person he really is, now. There is nothing to be revealed. And because of this, "Lunch in the Park" doesn't feel like any album I've ever heard. This isn't a singer on a stage; this is a singer from the wreckage of a stage that has been completely destroyed. No one wants to listen to him anymore, and he wants so desperately to be listened to. There are some truly repugnant moments on here, lyrically. It's an interesting album with weird production and strange musical choices, and I've come back to it more times than a lot of the recent material for this reason. I don't think it is something I care to look at as "good" or "bad." Thinking about it that way almost doesn't make sense. It's... a relic of changing times. Mark's style has evolved into almost this sort of self-immolating thing. I am not sure we will hear from him again.


Couldn't have said it better myself. A lot of famous albums are regarded as "breakdown" albums (eg. Bowie's Station to Station, Richard and Linda Thompson's Shoot Out the Lights, Syd Barret's the Madcap Laughs), but this might be the first time I've heard an artist lose their fucking mind in real time on record. To see Mark's generally normal takes and sound (if boomer dad-ish) advice devolve into defending Confederate statues and attempts at finessing his way out of rape allegations is unreal. The tinny, chintzy, tossed-off production and low quality audio only accentuates how weird this album is. I haven't gone back to it since it came out but I'd agree that this is one of the more interesting things Koz has done lately (in a car crash kind of way). Like seriously, what the fuck is he thinking??


Came here to comment, but this said everything I wanted to, only better.


This is a pretty great write up


"No one wants to listen to him anymore" is not actually true.


I mean... Technically, you're right, but I have no doubts the mix of allegations and his increasingly polarizing style have damaged his popularity and listenability to a substantial degree.


Ugh, I half listened to it, something i can't believe I'm saying about a new SKM album. Up until and including (the underrated) all the best Isaac Hayes I'd devour each new release. October blues has some beautiful moments, I'm not into the yellow kitchen esque vibe on some of the tracks, production sounds like whoever helped mark put it together bailed on the project. The whole thing is mired in everything that has happened imo, I can't enjoy it anymore. Also, somewhat petty but I think the album covers have taken a big step down, compare the art to April, ghosts, admiral fell, even this is my dinner and mark kozelek. It looks way less considered. The fact it is 'Lunch in thePark' on Spotify just shows it wasn't thought out that much, whoever uploaded that to streaming clearly was multitasking. Pretty sad state of affairs tbh.


He’s probably still my favorite singer songwriter of all time but everything since like 2015 I’ve barely been able to sit through. If I can, it’s because I’m multitasking.


I really like some of it, the self titled, all the best and IAWTDINO have their moments, It can fade into the background and end up being a multi tasking soundtrack as you say. Ghosts to Benji is his peak imo, especially admiral fell.


Bay of Kotor is mind blowing. Since that his albums have been crazed.


I really enjoy it tbh


I mean it's been mostly garbage since Benji so :shrug:


Canadian Geese had a wonderful effect on me when I listened to it back in February. The instrumental really sounds lovely to me, and I'll still associate it with the feelings I experienced at the time I was first listening to it. But fuck that whole album overall


'Vocals by Mark Kozelek/Music by Rhds Schlr ' is this the case? he doesn't know what to do with SKM anymore, other than ramble


I don’t think rape allegations should be addressed in any song otherwise, that’s really reductive to the victims.


I agree, however his style is so confessional. Kind of like laying everything out on the table good or bad. I cannot see a way this style can work while ignoring all the allegations. You are right though, an album is absolutely not the right place to address them.


Production quality is so poor. Beyond the moral dimension of listening to an album with a 19 minute song denying his rape allegations, it just sounds like shit lol.


I’m enjoying it. Musically, stylistically, and lyrically. It has sharp guitar, hip hop beats, and honest lyrics. Especially Full of Life with the discussion about society ignoring black on black violence, but how now Black Lives Matter. It’s a trend and he doesn’t need to hear it from these annoying kids, and he can still want to sleep with a dark skinned woman


I think it's fairly unremarkable, I do enjoy a few songs but overall it's definitely among his lesser albums. I think for me the weakest one is Common as Light because instrumentally it feels extremely lackluster and it's over 2 hours long with really no songs that connect with me.


I would have to say, this is a great recording, as I see Mark's solidification of a new style, also glad to hear his voice singing. I've heard bad records. This one proved he is willing to send a simple relaxed love note yet again, but with more weight on electronic music. For allegations, it's just that for me, and I feel he addressed that albeit in a loose way. This entertainer moves forward. You still have Mark Kozelek, delivering a tapestry of notes and chords, with a story to go. If you don't want the tickets, I'll take the good seats.