Review Summary: Guess what, the party is over. Get a haircut and hop into the work force.
"Party. Party. Party"
That is what was chanted by an ambitious crowd in the summer of 2002, as they wait for the very charismatic, down to earth party animal known as Andrew W.K. to hit the stage. This is at the height of his popularity. Regular rotation on MTV for his insane single Party Hard, raving critics over his breath of fresh air debut, yet strangely titled "I Get Wet," and a prestigious spot on the Ozzfest. At this moment, Andrew W.K. is on top of the world. Who'd a known that after this moment, what was considered fresh by the media has been labeled as pretty much a gimmick. A one trick pony with as much depth as a baby diaper. Quite possibly about 60% who purchased "I Get Wet" maybe? All that doesn't matter right at this moment. The lights dull down and the opening line to Party Hard strikes. This is the part where I get beer drenched, knocked upside the head, and the rest of the night became a blur.
Despite his caveman looks and persona. Andrew W.K. (born Andrew Wilkes-Krier, to end all speculation) is actually quite an intelligent man. He is intelligent in the arts of classical piano at the age of 4, studied the keyboard in middle school, and is the son of a Law Scholar at the University Of Michigan (go Wolverines!). To describe Andrew W.K.'s sound, think of all the cheesiest 80's metal anthems (The Final Countdown, Livin' On A Prayer, etc...), crank the intensity to 11, and let a frat boy growl his words onto cd... But that frat boy writes, performs, and composes his own music.
To those who listened to I Get Wet, will know that there is consistent references to a chugging good time. Andrew W.K. isn't a man for vivid lyrical imagination. What you hear, is what he means. The Wolf is actually quite similar, although much of the partying is over. Andrew has taken steps in his writing that moves toward his motivational speaking. Such in the anthemic "Never Let Down." With lyrics such as "Even if you can't stand up. Even if you lose your life. I'm a friend by your side. You're never gonna be alone." You can tell he left his "Ready To Die" style behind. Uplifting maturity is the theme of the album, though also can expand the theme of 'party' into more of a freedom stance. Andrew as well dabbles a bit into what's known as the Power Ballad in the song "Really In Love." Sure, it's blunt, but it's straight from the heart, and that is all that counts right?
There is a question on how to follow up what was already the ultimate "give it your all" album. The answer is sound larger than life itself. I Get Wet spent a lot of time on intense "chugga chugga" guitar riffs with piano layovers. The Wolf focuses a lot on writing piano based riffing. Creating a fuller sound in general. Now the songs capture even more of an arena rock sound. And that's even more evident in tracks like "Tear It Up" and "Long Live The Party." The tempo's are slower but doesn't touch what intensity Andrew W.K. created.
Well this isn't the perfect album. Far from it. Andrew's vocal abilities plain out suck. He growls and has no range. It didn't matter much on I Get Wet, due to consistent silliness and energy. But when he tries to get serious and attempts a pitch that isn't in the comfort zone, his imperfections show, typically on the slower songs. Yes, he has improved lyrically, but is still immature in many areas. "Make Sex" is just a pure flop of a concept. "Your Rules" is a lame kind of anarchy song. As well as the flow of the album. For being 12 tracks, this sure does drag a hell of a lot.
Well Andrew W.K.'s The Wolf has gotten the Marvelous 3
treatment as far as label support. Fully backed the label was with I Get Wet, yet little to no promotion has left Andrew W.K. to fade into the public eye, just to fill his contract and dropped. His sound was and is still fresh contrair to on rock radio. There is no doubt that over the next generation, Andrew W.K. will develop a cult following of die hard fans and this cd will only add to what he has accomplished before. Sure, the novelty might have worn off, but that still doesn't detract to how fun this is to listen to. If I Get Wet is the ultimate party album, than this is the ultimate life after the party.
The Sludge's Thumb Ups
I Love Music
Never Let Down
Tear It Up