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Album Review: ANDREW W.K. God Is Partying

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God Is Partying is a tale of two Andrews. One is the Andrew W.K. who loves to party hard. The other is Andrew W.K. the artist. He is the real mastermind behind the image of the boyish clown in a white tee shirt and goofy grin. A multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter who has expanded his palette for two decades, while he remains faithful to the eternal party. Andrew W.K.'s latest album is a power struggle between these two Andrews. The clash of personalities in God Is Partying mires its overall tone. There's definitely a higher artistic message behind these rock n roll songs, but I'm not entirely sure what it is. And I'm certain Andrew W.K. could care less.

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I hoped this album would deliver a rambunctious kick in the ass. It's called God Is Partying. How could it not be a rowdy affair? It might not be a particularly heavy album by metal head standards, but at least entertain me! The album title might give the impression of rock n' roll excess, but this one seems to be a contemplation of loss, regeneration, destruction and heartbreak, all painted in epic, and sometimes cryptic brushstrokes.

A big success factor here is Andrew W.K.'s voice. His clean vocals polish this record and impart the emotional weight. Musically, he leans on synthesizers for everything from classical brass tones, to seventies MOOG vibes and heavy electronic angst.

The opening "Everybody Sins" is a mid tempo banger, set to a similar drum pattern as "We Will Rock You." It leads in with big Toto-esque synthesizers, accompanied by heavy guitar riffs. "Everybody sins / No one wins / What will you do when the end begins?" go its lyrics. This provides a cinematic air, like something one might watch in a movie trailer or a pro-wrestling hype piece. At the very least, I could imagine strippers dancing to this one, which is always a high compliment!

One of the best numbers is track two, "Babylon." Its got hints of Muse, thanks to its space opera synthesizers and moody rock atmosphere, and it's very good. "Babylon" brings the power metal energy to raise one's fist and bang thy head, with a simple chorus that everyone can sing along to in concerto.

"I'm in Heaven" is another rager. It's a slower groove, and the keyboards add a claustrophobic "wub wub wub" throughout the song, reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails during their louder periods. This too sounds like its chorus could land a spot in the next big action film. In fact, even my least favorite parts of this album stayed in my ears after just two listens. Love him or hate him, but Andrew W.K. rattles off a radio ready jingle like few others. His catchy melodies are sweeter than a mouthful of Pop Rocks and cola.

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This leads me to my main criticism of this album: It's filled with a few too many rock ballads. But one of their better moments is "Remember Your Oath," a heart felt number that remembers to hit the distortion pedal, and leaves plenty of measures for guitar solos. It's like Andrew W.K.'s version of "November Rain." I'm not really the power ballad type, but I found myself singing this song aloud the most of this whole album.

"No One To Know" is part ballad, part pop song, akin to The Killers. It's also a fine descriptor of the motivations behind this album. Andrew W.K. muses about Greek mythology and literal relationships ending throughout God Is Partying. But despite his yearning for something clearly intended to be a monumental masterpiece, the message seems lost. It's Andrew W.K. the artist and songwriter whose personality shines through the loudest on God Is Partying. But, this album could have benefited from more of Andrew W.K. the entertainer and party guy. Or at least a few more rock n' roll numbers.

The closing soft ballad "And Then We Blew Apart" is mostly comprised of his musing "We came together, and then we blew apart," to the accompaniment of a grand piano. It's got big "Bohemian Rhapsody" vibes, from the soaring piano sections, to Andrew singing its simple mantra in a falsetto. This song has feeling, but lacks the gravitas for a closing number. The party winds down with with a cocktail reception rather than a bang.

For nine songs, God Is Partying feels like more of an EP than a full length. Still, this record is likely to satisfy those devoted to the party hard cult. Andrew W.K. puts on one hell of a live performance. Many songs from God Is Partying will certainly "get a party goin' with the proper live treatment. This might not be highly recommended listening, but it is fun.

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