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Andrew WK 

I Get Wet (Island)

Wednesday, Mar 6 2002
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These are tough times. Our economy is in the toilet, we're at war with a mercurial enemy, and Limp Bizkit can't find a replacement guitarist. With these weighty issues hanging over us, newcomer Andrew WK would like to offer a simple solution: Party hard. Party so hard, in fact, that you're spilling your puke on the tile. His directives, screamed out over three previous EPs on noise label Bulb Records, deliver a celebratory mantra that's been mostly underground since serious rock bands KO'd hair metal in the early '90s. Previous to the release of his major label debut, I Get Wet, WK's über-pumped take on the power of positive thinking had positioned him as one of the American poster kids for the British music rag NME (next to the Strokes and the White Stripes), as well as one of Rolling Stone's 10 artists to watch for 2002.

I Get Wet isn't a throwaway parody of rock's Aqua Net days, but rather a revamped, spandexless celebration of having an excessively awesome time. During interviews, the 22-year-old WK has explained that, to him, the word "party" means going after everything you want without making excuses. Accordingly, he maps out this simple pathway to success like an evangelist getting paid by the convert. As he sings on "Got to Do It," "When you're down on your luck/ You've gotta do it/ 'Cause you can't get enough/ You've got to do all the stuff you love." He delivers every idea, whether it's admiration for his former residence ("I Love NYC") or taking bitchin' risks ("Don't Stop Living in the Red"), with an intensity that usually requires a heavy dose of trucker speed to sustain.

Admittedly, taken out of context, WK proffers some pretty cheeseball commands -- especially in a society where cynicism is one of our five senses -- but his hard-driving, aggressive delivery turns self-help mottoes into anthem-ready power tools. Basically, his version of triple-speed pop metal uses the same three chords on every song, layering multiple tracks of pianos, pipe organs, and keyboards over the usual metal swarm. This is the kind of rock that was born with a stadium in mind, existing in a constant excited state of pumping fists and banging heads. With I Get Wet, Andrew WK offers good dumb fun -- and a fast escape from mainstream rock's self-loathing side.

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Jennifer Maerz

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