Music Reviews
God is Partying

Andrew W.K. God is Partying

(Napalm Records) Rating - 7/10

Andrew W.K., the wise sage of all things partying, has decided to sit one out on his fifth outing. The ceaselessly optimistic multi-instrumentalist, whose familiar routine of rocking out and handing out helpful advice, hasn't changed his shtick in over 20 years since releasing 2001's amped-up manifesto I Get Wet. The moment we see him prancing about in tattered all white, you know it's going down—and you better leave your worries out the door. But compared to 2018's You're Not Alone, which had him acting as a motivational self-help coach and had him sounding even too preachy by his standards, the relatively more grim God is Partying is his sharpest pivot yet.

For one thing, Andrew opens with bold words (“Your god is a liar”) on Everybody Sins, playing steady, palm-muted chords as he confronts his wrongdoings. Regardless, he chooses to always soar despite the doom-laden heaviness and the infernal imagery. On I'm in Heaven, which assaults the eardrums with a piercing keyboard loop and thunderous riffs, he chooses to embrace the darkness so he can reclaim the light. Even at his most menacing, Andrew cannot resist giving in to his more operatic tendencies. So when the power ballad Remember Your Oath plays halfway into the album, it's something of a relief to hear him not take himself so seriously. He channels the earnest corniness of Christian metal band Stryker, and that's okay. It suits him well.

It's no coincidence that God is Partying becomes more of a fun listen as it progresses, presumably because Andrew is narrating his own cathartic journey. Those triumphant keys come back in full swing on I Made It, on which Andrew sings about how he always knew he was going to succeed as an artist. He closes the album with the bombastic pop-metal of Not Anymore, not letting the negativity consume him and moving forward—and he's invited us all to his divine party. These light and dark contrasts make for a thoroughly compelling listen that, certainly, makes up for Andrew's shortcomings as a lyricist. He's letting us know that life is not always the party we hope for, but while we are in it, we might as well rock out. Always.