Andrew W.K. - You're Not Alone

by James Weiskittel Rating:5 Release Date:2018-03-02
Andrew W.K. - You're Not Alone
Andrew W.K. - You're Not Alone

The perpetual ball-of-energy that is otherwise known as Andrew W.K. has had quite the journey in the years since he began his one-man crusade to ‘get the party started’.  After the initial success of his 2001 debut I Get Wet (which included a string of successful singles as well as a stint opening for the Foo Fighters), his follow-up, The Wolf, failed to further sustain his 15 minutes, and W.K. quickly faded from the pop-culture landscape.  Since then, he has struggled with identity theft and legal disputes, released a handful of independent albums, and even started a second career as a motivational speaker.

And so, while it’s been nearly two decades since “Party Hard” was tearing up MTV’s Total Request Live, Andrew W.K. seems to have found a new lease on life with his first major-label release in twelve years, You’re Not Alone.  From the album-opening overture “The Power of Partying”, to the fist-pumping battlecry that is “Music is Worth Living For”, Andrew W.K. has once again written a batch of intensely-anthemic songs that defy the listener to remain seated.  

But while You’re Not Alone does an admirable job of channeling the intensity and attitude of Andrew W.K.’s debut, the ingredients unfortunately don’t quite add up the way they did the first time around, for where his trademark mixture of heavily processed vocals and aggro-tinged-techno-pop are clearly still in place, the hooks are unfortunately few and far between.  Songs like “The Party Never Dies” and “Give Up On You” are serviceable enough at their massive, mid-tempo groove, but there is little on this album that will immediately grab your ear in the way that “I Love NYC” managed to.

In fact, many of the album’s most memorable moments occur on it’s back half, with tracks like the euphoric “Total Freedom”, and the piano-driven, album-closing title track standing out as highlights. You’re Not Alone also threatens to overstay its welcome with its bloated, fifty-two minute running time weighed down by a handful of ‘self-help’ pep-talk-interludes which, other than an initial listen for curiosity’s sake, essentially function as ‘automatic-skip’ roadblocks mucking up W.K.’s ‘all-night-rager’ playlist.

In the spirit of fairness, there are worse things to be found on records these days than motivational speeches (the world is clearly in need of some positivity), and it should be recognized that the man’s ability to work the word ‘party’ into a song title clearly knows no bounds.  The bottom line is this: You’re Not Alone is above all else, an exercise in superlatives: it is Andrew W.K. at his biggest, fastest, loudest, and longest; a record that that is simply intended to inspire motion.  And even if said motion is that of the listener moving to turn it off, I suspect that Andrew W.K. would consider his mission accomplished.

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