Andrew W.K. has never done things by halves. On his 2001 breakout single ‘Party Hard’, the American rocker promised that “when it’s time to party, we will always party hard” while 2018’s ‘You’re Not Alone’ was a self-affirming record of empowerment and positivity that fully embraced W.K’s side hustle as a motivational speaker.
Fifth album ‘God Is Partying’ is just as full-throttled as anything Andrew W.K. has put his name to before. A gloriously gnarled, 11-track record of guitar-driven excess, it sounds like a love letter to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Opener ‘Everybody Sins’ is a bombastic, 80’s-inspired heavy metal track that could have been lifted from Ghost’s 2018 record ‘Prequelle’, while ‘Babalon’ is a fast, furious and proggy number that maintains its urgency despite the various bonkers directions it’s pulled in. Lyrically, both tracks deal with feelings of abandonment, despair and destruction – but in typical W.K. fashion, there’s an unbending resolve to carry on. “As we cling to each other, every sister, every brother, our will is strong,” he sings at the end of ‘Everybody Sins’. The rest of the record is just as 2021, as he tries to squeeze hope from misery.
‘I’m In Heaven’ is a synth-driven industrial rager that sounds like Nine Inch Nails at their most furious, before the piano-led ballad of ‘Remember Your Oath’ dials up the emotion and extravagance. Sure, it’s over-the-top but the track can still cause a lump in the throat. Similarly, the only thing missing from ‘And Then You Blew Apart’ is Slash playing a wild guitar solo in front of a chapel. W.K. gets close to those levels of drama with some jaunty synths, though.
A bulk of ‘God Is Partying’ finds Andrew W.K. scratching about in the dirt for a reason to be optimistic. After everything that’s happened in the world since ‘You’re Not Alone’, who can blame him? However, the boisterous ‘I Made It’ is a no-holds-barred burst of jubilant positivity that feels hard-won. “My party’s hard and my work is great,” he sings. “I always had the music in my heart, but my head was dark… I won’t forget the sorrow.”
It’s the perfect lead into the joyful march of ‘Not Anymore’, a forward-facing track about refusing to dwell on the past, live in fear or be dragged down by other people’s negativity. Positive but with some very real weight behind it, the album’s closing track sees the self-proclaimed God of Partying emerge with a renewed desire to show the whole world a good time.
Release date: September 10
Record label: Napalm Records