Album Review: Andrew W.K. – You’re Not Alone

The funny thing about Andrew W.K.‘s music is that it seems to operate completely independently of your volume control. It’s loud. It’s so loud that after each song, the mind is completely eviscerated – the feeling you get when you hang your head out of the window of a speeding car. There’s no greater feeling without the addition of artificial substances.

“You’re Not Alone’ – as its title suggests – is musical therapy of the most enjoyable kind with the instrumentation of a hard rock band, the resounding anthemic choruses of the coolest indie band with the philosophising of a zen master. It is, like Andrew W.K. is, everything and anything.

There are sixteen tracks including a few lines of spoken philosophy and there are undeniably a few missteps when the bombast is dialed down. There are a couple of absolutely cinematic instrumentals – ‘Beyond Oblivion’ being a prime example. Mountains of crunching guitars higher than the Himalayas, synth riffs that create greater waves than a Tsunami – the sense are overwhelmed.

Overall track after track is an enthralling slab of unabashed joy – best described as orchestral kind-hearted hard rock pop-opera. It cannot be denied that my own personal tastes in music veer towards melancholic dream pop shoegaze or post-punk indie bleakness, and this album is as far from this as you could get. But I absolutely love it.

‘Ever Again’ captures the ethos of Andrew W.K. and the entire album perfectly:

Andrew W.K.’s entire somewhat tongue-in-cheek philosophy is that partying will solve everything – but more importantly his lyrics are inclusive, embracing and welcoming: everything and everyone counts. In a society brutalised by errant leaders, resurging divisions, school shootings and overall gloom, Andrew a beacon of positivity. “The Devil’s On Your Side’ posits that you need the darkness to appreciate the light. And the answer to everything is to party. And party hard.

Is this serious philosophising? Or is this just one big joke? Neither. It is just fun, dumb rock with a heart of gold aimed straight at the heart of the disaffected, and isn’t that what rock’n’roll is meant to be?. To understand the album it is worth looking at the curious life of Andrew W.K. As I observed in an earlier piece on him, Andrew W.K. is a lot more than his music: he is a musical producer, motivational speaker, nightclub owner, radio DJ, television presenter. Above all, in any interview I have seen with him, he seems an awfully nice chap and far more intelligent and complex than his lyrics would suggest. Ultimately, however, his songs are fantastic hard rock anthems with a sense of humour.

The release ‘You’re Not Alone’ is perfectly timed in this era of doom and gloom. Andrew W.K. says in one of the vocal tracks that life is truly worth living despite the darkness that pervades life, before launching into the epic title track ‘You’re Not Alone’. Corny? Maybe, but jolly exhilarating. This album should be compulsory listening on school curriculums and in psychologist manuals.

If there is a cult-like aspect to the world of Andrew W.K., then I’m a disciple. A slightly deafened one.

You can get the album here.

You’re Not Alone Track List

1. The Power of Partying
2. Music Is Worth Living For
3. Ever Again
4. I Don’t Know Anything
5. The Feeling of Being Alive
6. Party Mindset
7. The Party Never Dies
8. Give Up On You
9. Keep On Going
10. In Your Darkest Moments
11. The Devil’s On Your Side
12. Break The Curse
13. Total Freedom
14. Beyond Oblivion
15. Confusion and Clarity
16. You’re Not Alone

Andrew W.K. will be touring the UK in April:

13-Apr-18 Cardiff Great Hall
14-Apr-18 London O2 Kentish Town Forum
15-Apr-18 Birmingham O2 Academy
18-Apr-18 Norwich Waterfront
19-Apr-18 Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
20-Apr-18 Manchester O2 Ritz
21-Apr-18 Glasgow Garage

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