Where to begin with Andrew W.K? Since his debut album “I Get Wet” in 2001, Andrew W.K has tiresomely spread the word of “partying” throughout the heavy rock scene. Best known for songs such as ‘Party Hard’ and ‘We Want Fun,’ Andrew W.K has never really been taken seriously in the music world. However, just because Andrew W.K has not had the same commercial success as many of his peers, this doesn’t mean that he has had any less of a following.
On the contrary, his fans are as loyal to him as Steel Panther are to hairspray, following him all over the world and as a result, getting to witness his insanely ferocious live shows. This is not a one way deal however because Andrew W.K is just as dedicated to his fans as they are to him. An appropriate example of this is when he broke his foot on his tour to promote album “The Wolf.” Despite breaking his foot on stage, he soldiered on with the tour, playing his gigs from a wheelchair and even signed autographs in the ambulance. Now that’s dedication.
However, Andrew W.K‘s fans dedication is truly being tested because the man with the party plan, the man who says “we want fun and we wanna get wasted,” is now apparently the man, who fancies himself as the Elton John of the rock world. A self described “solo piano” album, “55 Cadillac” lays rest to accusations that Andrew W.K is just a one trick pony. Yes his CV might look like something Van Wilder would be proud of, but now Andrew W.K has tore up the rule book and totally and utterly reinvented himself.
However, alienating your previous fans, totally changing your target audience and totally revamping your whole sound, is something that is generally considered suicide in the music industry (see Chris Cornell “Scream” for details) and is normally a good way of pissing off your ever faithful fan base. It could however, be a brave and bold move, worthy of not just attention but respect and awe.
In this case, it’s the first option. This is not a brave move, it’s a very silly move that will most probably piss off his fans very much. Literally, “55 Cadillac” is an album full of classical pianos numbers that showcases some rather impressive work on Andrew W.K’s side. There are some nice loops and quick note playing speed and if this was anyone else’s music it would be classified as a good solo piano album. However, this is Andrew W.K and although he deserves some respect for his piano skills, this is not the genre of music that will be classified in the “classical” section. For instance, HMV won’t store this is the same vein they store Bach or Beethoven, despite the fact that “55 Cadillac” is indeed a classical music album.
No, it will be stored with Andrew W.K and under Rock, a genre that Andrew W.K himself is in; or was, and although Andrew W.K is evidently a very talented piano maestro, this is not what started his career or built up his fan base. It was however, his fun loving attitude and no strings attached music, that propelled him, love or hate him, into the music scene. Yet now, nine years later and he’s decided he wants to be taken seriously as a musician. This is unfortunately nine years too late Andrew.
Andrew W.K may get some brownie points for going against the normal conventions of music by re-inventing himself in such an extreme way. However, re-invention can sometimes backfire and this re-invention certainly has. In terms of music, “55 Cadillac” shows that Andrew W.K can clearly compose and deliver some good classical piano playing, but in terms of actually enjoying the music, this one is definitely not for his usual Rock loving fans or anyone who else likes to “Party Till They Puke.”
Original article first appeared on Altsounds website on 01/10/09