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Andrew W.K. – God is Partying

Andrew W.K.
God is Partying
by Mark Machlay at 09 November 2021, 6:36 AM

It’s been twenty years since the eponymous ANDREW W.K. gained prominence, dropping his debut album buoyed by the success of the single “Party Hard” but the man is still going strong, continuing to self-record his albums with his latest “God is Partying” being released last September. Raised in Michigan, Andrew Fetterly Wilkes-Krier began his musical career in the mid-90s performing in several local bands before moving to New York gaining local notoriety for his EP “Girls Own Juice” in 2000. He broke big with his debut full-length “I Get Wet” with the aforementioned single along with the less well-received “We Want Fun”. Wilkes-Krier has since undertaken a variety of both musical and non-musical ventures, appearing on television, doing radio work, motivational speaking and writing. He followed his breakthrough up with “The Wolf”, now notably recoding all the parts himself. “Close Calls with Brick Walls” came to a small release in 2006 followed by a fourth album consisting of J-Pop songs called “The Japan Covers”.

By February of 2009, Wilkes-Krier started his own record label Skyscraper Music Maker, based in London and Manhattan, taking another step towards expanding his brand. The first release from the new label was a compilation of Wilkes-Krier’s production work for artists BAD BRILLIANCE and followed that up with his fifth album “55 Cadilac”, consisting of his spontaneous piano improvisations later that same year. It would be nearly a decade before releasing new music as he branched out into other non-musical avenues and dealing with legal problems but eventually would release “You’re Not Alone” in 2018. In October 2020, he signed to Napalm Records and announced work on a new album with single “My Tower” seeing light in January 2021, then shortly after, having all references to the song removed from Wilkes-Krier’s website leaving fans to speculate that he orchestrated the supposed release as an elaborate prank. Fortunately, second single “Babylon” quelled those rumors, with the video for the song featuring Wilke-Krier in a black outfit instead of his usual white-on-white t-shirt and jeans outfit.

Though the album’s title seems positive and uplifting, I could not help but feel an air of pessimism amongst all the bombastic and forward-facing lyrics on “God is Partying”. It’s often overlooked that his early work – all the way back to his breakthrough album – may have choruses about partying and having a good time, but the verses were dark, sometimes violent, covering a very chaotic underpinning to his work. Opening track “Everybody Sins” begins with a repeated ascending motif giving this majestic, epic feeling of being lifted to heaven before being dropped into heavy, rather OZZY OSBOURNE-like raucous melodic rock. It’s not particularly complex music, ANDREW W.K. never was, but it has all the heavy layered tracking that gives the music a great sense of grandiosity. The single “Babylon” may be a slow, plodding number but drives the chaotic nature of his music home. There is sweetness and subtlety on the album as well as you are then treated to the piano and synth-driven almost 80s-sounding ballad “No One Knows”. Later he gets quiet again with accusatory “Remember Your Oath” which on paper sounds sweet but seems to point his finger so strongly at some unknown person, the cracks in the “party” façade breaks down. He balances this sweetness and chaos in even more of a duality on “And Then We Blew Apart” going from tender piano song to an all-out QUEEN inspired prog-like epic. I can’t tell if it’s an artistic maturation or a giving in to mental instability but I’m certainly interested in this turn towards his earlier styled material and chaotic energy.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Everybody Sins
2. Babalon
3. No One to Know
4. Stay True to Your Heart
5. Goddess Partying
6. I’m in Heaven
7. Remember Your Oath
8. My Tower
9. And Then We Blew Apart
10. I Made it
11. Not Anymore
12. Everybody Sins
Lineup:
Andrew W.K. – All Instruments
Record Label: Napalm Records
     


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