Leave it to Andrew W.K. to make even being emotionally vulnerable seem like a party.
For those who have known Andrew W.K. as a character, he was a supposed party animal. He seemed like the type who would go crunk at a Keg party. From his white clothes to the crunk way he plays piano, Andrew W.K. represented the person we wish we could be more often. Then the more we knew him, we realize that partying is merely doing things with the mindset of positivity and faith. So after representing this for years, the last thing that we would expect to hear is Andrew W.K. going through struggles. I mean, he is human, but the musically beefy You’re Not Alone made it seem like the stress was nearly intense to the point of almost destroying him completely.
Then again, if you read his advice columns at any point, he has let us into his life being Andrew W.K. only to let us know it isn’t all easy keeping things balanced. He tackled questions about depression to anger issues with examples from his own life. He has revealed just enough to let us know his human side. But songs from the celebratory “Music Is Worth Living For” let us know what Andrew W.K. is really about: it is about trying hard not to let the darkness run your life or affect you on a grand scale.
“I Don’t Know Anything” may on its own be a grand revelation, but Andrew W.K. WOULD turn this into an anthem that people can just shout out loud. It is almost like hearing I Get Wet all over again. But sometimes, those who have heard the album wishes that “Party Mindset”, in which he reveals having a “party mindset all year long”, was written earlier. The song is a through-and-through explanation of his whole party movement. Andrew W.K. isn’t a party animal in the literal sense. He is a motivator, he is a guy who does exactly what he wants as a means to beautify the world and had been encouraging this for everyone since day one.
What helps this album get its point across is all the small vignettes of Andrew W.K. giving advice on feeling confused and going through darkness. Hell, “In Your Darkest Moments” is a perfect intro towards the insightful “The Devil’s On Your Side”. Hearing these things may sound…self-helpish, but how many self-help albums do you know that 1) uses personal struggles as motivation for your positivity and 2) rocks as hard as it does?
For all the bullshit that people go through, it would have been understandable if Andrew wanted to take the white shirt and pants off forever and completely expose himself as merely a man named Andrew Wilkes-Krier. It is a raw and vulnerable time filled with constant negativity and confusion for everybody. (You don’t have to listen to an average bedroom pop album to get this at all.) What makes You’re Not Alone the year’s first great Rock album (for me) is that he takes all of the negativity, learns from it and turns it into personal level up. Rock was missing that gut-punching, bomblike power. And of course the one to hand it to us would be, yet again, Andrew. W.K. himself.
Welcome back to the fold, sir.
Your 76th favorite black Aspergian musical polymath (Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, blogger, producer, poet) from Boston.