Andy D - Songs in the Key of Magic (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Andy D

Songs in the Key of Magic (2011)

Roaring Colonel

Essentially a one-man-band but with big ups to background singer Anna Vision, Andy D is like an amalgamation of the positive energy of Andrew W.K., the sex drive of Prince, and the best musical aspects of late '80s/early 90s rap, meaning he raps in a simple yet effective and understandable manner and loves straightforward party beats. Oh, and there's also a little butt rock axe-shredding in there courtesy of a guy known as Lord Midnite. Lyrically, Andy D's big into partying, dancing, friends, love (read: sexy time), and all things mythical, mystical and magical (read: wizards; vikings; unicorns; werewolves; etc.) and visually, he goes all-in for the wildest facets of '80s fashion. But that's all I will tell you about the look of Andy D, because you should love him for his tunes, then go be blown away by his live show or a video (if live show is not available in your area). With Songs in the Key of Magic, Andy D and co. improve upon both the songwriting and production of his debut, 2008's Choose Your Perversion.

Perversion had party jam sing-along "God Loves Drunk Chicks", and here we have "Hey Tina! (Pick Up the Phone)". Andy beckons his fictional friend Tina to come out to the party ("They could be playin' your song!") all over a track that begs to be that song for future partygoers. Complete with faux-trumpets and twinkly synths, this tune is the most instantly singable on the album. "Bump in the Nite" is another favorite, and showcases the improved production of SitKoM. While trunk-rattlin' bass is not the point with Andy, as his beats draw influence from a time prior to subwoofer abuse, we get the perfect use of sub frequencies on the "bump bump"s throughout the song. On the flipside, opener "Playground" is tragically lacking in low end.

Andy D has learned–likely from playing hundreds of sweaty live shows–that lengthy high-speed raps are not his strongest suit. While they peppered the songs of Perversion, here they get dialed back and the songs are all the better for it, focusing more on memorable lines and group-friendly catchphrases. He still pens sweet rhymes, and "Angels on the Dancefloor" is rife with examples. Gotta put a huge chunk of the first verse in here: "I like my movies like I like my women / Short, low-budget, and independent / I like my films like I like my ladies / Funny, action-packed, and made in the ‘80s / Here at the party I'm good with the chicks / I overflow with confidence like I got three dicks / And I move real fast on all my dates / Like I got go-go gadget roller skates!" Now would be a good time to mention a little detail: Andy D takes his music very seriously. This is good music that happens to be entertaining and often funny; it is not comedy put to music.

That said, "Moderne Romance" is a more serious track and finds D expanding his sound successfully. It's a six-minute jam showing the guy's love for his woman, and also for Depeche Mode, getting all dark and dramatic and even dawning something of a British accent. He also strays from his formula on "I Wanna Be Your Unicorn", but this time it's not a home run. "Unicorn" is the only track with almost entirely live backing, meaning real drums, bass and electric guitar. Though it's uptempo and rockin', it still feels less bumpin' in comparison to the club tracks. It's also one of his weaker tracks lyrically, starting with a cheap double entendre: "I'm gonna take it out and I'm gonna show you. I'm gonna...I'm gonna take out my mic / And sing you this song." His most rocking song in actuality would be "Alchemy of the D", and while it's still synthy and drum machine-powered, Lord Midnite's guitar shines through and takes the chorus to awesome A. W.K./Fang Island territory under one of the D's best melodies and most singable choruses.

Songs in the Key of Magic will grab you if you let it. It's not a perfect record even in the world that Andy D has created for himself, but it's a step towards it and I know that record will come. Let down your punk rock guard, fuck those cynics and let's have some fun with Andy fuckin' D.