Andrew W.K. - You’re Not Alone (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Andrew W.K.

You’re Not Alone (2018)


One of the things I've enjoyed at Riot Fest over the years is catching Andrew W.K. -- briefly at that. Damn you, schedule conflicts. What really makes it worthwhile though are his fans. They're so raucous and spirited, lovably so. Now, "Party Hard" was my jam in high school but even I have to admit I fell off the bandwagon over the years, giving AWK's subsequent work a couple fleeting listens before discarding. I must say though, You're Not Alone is the record that certainly makes a statement to all those who forgot about AWK, or to those who are trying to. As for his fans, well they've got another stack of powerful, singalong anthems that sum up, not just how positive AWK's words are, but how life-changing the music is. This album, while less aggressive, is a tribute to those loyalists but more so, an indication how fine wine can age.

There's a lot to unpack here in what I can best describe as a rock opera. From the punk edge to the synth waves to the power-metal riffs, I mean it's one of AWK's most musically expansive pieces of work to date. The lyrics fit so well too, as basically one big 'YOU CAN DO IT. DON'T LET LIFE KEEP YOU DOWN' PSA. From songs like "Total Freedom" you can tell he's channeling some U2 and Bowie, then there are tracks like the self-titled jam and "I Don't Know Anything" which feel like Europe's "The Final Countdown" meets Bruce Springsteen meets Bruce Dickinson. 

If you're still with me, you're probably scratching your head but trust me, AWK jams in so many influences here, the only thing that amazes me is how everything is distilled so well together. I can't help but feel this is AWK living out some '80s fantasy but honestly, it's a good thing because this is the kind of passion I didn't get from him in some time. Just take in "Music Is Worth Living For" and you'll understand why this kind of cheese works. If you're looking for a punk, or heck, a rock and roll symphony, this is just what the doctor ordered. And truth be told, it's a mission statement that you don't need to party hard in order to party on. There are so many bangers here you'll find yourself wasting an hour or so in the best way possible.