If there ever was an icon of new wave rock, Andrew W.K. was certainly the epitome of it. Following one of the biggest records to come out of the early 21st century, Andrew brought the power of partying to the rock scene, the result being the pure anthem that is ‘Party Hard’ and the brutal insanity of I Get Wet, a record which has truly stood the test of time.
However, 17 years on and over six years since his previous release, the tone of Andrew’s music has certainly changed somewhat. Just as the rest of the world has adapted with the times, as has Andrew, as such You’re Not Alone is a 16-piece record which heavily emphasises the importance of mental health and self care. If nothing else, this album is a crucial turning point in opening these messages and the importance of mental well-being to wider audiences.
From the offset, we can see that Andrew is still trying to rock the party vibes, as the first few notes of ‘The Power Of Partying’ grow and grow into a triumphant arrangement of cinematic sound, we’re definitely settling into what is sure to be a colossal sounding record. From start to finish, this album is nothing but huge power ballad tunes which you can only imagine being truly breathtaking to see live. Whilst Andrew may not have the most technical or powerful of voices, he certainly does have the passion and edge needed to make these tracks hit home. The messages behind almost every song are strong and will certainly help a lot of people facing the struggles of various mental health conditions, emphasising that it’s okay to not be okay and that, as the title states, You’re Not Alone.
Music has always been a great tool for many to help overcome the hardships that life throws at you and this record truly stresses this point miraculously. Chances are, the reason you’re even reading this is because music has touched your life in some way or another and, in that respect, you have to admire Andrew for essentially dedicating an entire album to something that so many are passionate about. Likewise, the addition of a few spoken word narratives on tracks such as ‘The Feeling Of Being Alive’ are the kind of thing that fans of Andrew who are facing hardship will truly appreciate. They are sentimental, personalised and do hold a lot of comfort, teaching you that the tough times are not something to shy away from, but to embrace as part of the roller-coaster of life.
Typically, the blunt lyricism would be something which would put me off a record like this but, in fact, it doesn’t detract really at all. It’s simple. So simple that in tracks such as ‘Ever Again’ it’s literally impossible to miss the messages. There is no need for fancy metaphors to create an abstract understanding of the inner workings of the mind, instead it’s simply the story of a man who used music to help overcome his anxieties of the world and is encouraging others to try too.
The vibrancy and ferocity which came from I Get Wet may no longer be present, but it is clear that Andrew has matured his sound to accompany the meaning behind this album, he has faced his demons and has come forth to help others face their’s. You’re Not Alone may not be the musical masterpiece of a generation, but it does a bloody good job of addressing a tabooed topic in the most admirable and frontal way. Mental health is a personal journey for every individual and no two journeys are the same, but I’m sure that for any rock lover facing struggles, this record could very well be the key turning point they perhaps needed to help get themselves on the road to recovery.