The self-appointed King of Partying, Andrew W.K., is back.
Never challenged for his throne, the musician has been advocating for more parties, more fun, and more positivity for nearly two decades. “All my various activities are really just one all-encompassing, single, focused effort: to try to generate an undeniable and intense life force feeling,” W.K. explains.
He is discussing his overall focus when writing the brand new sanguine record, You’re Not Alone, out now via RED and Sony. Spring, a time usually associated with love in the air, has met a strong wind of eclectic and worthwhile party jams. It’s destiny, and it’s unstoppable.
In 2016, W.K. completed The Power Of Partying, a nationwide motivational speaking tour that focused on bringing a positive view to the intensities of life, shining with optimism and revealing the truth of the inner spirit. “I think we all notice how intense life is as soon as we’re born, at least on a very primal level,” W.K. says. This thought is reflected on the spoken word track, “The Feeling of Being Alive,” on which the Party King explains that it’s completely OK to feel like something is wrong—that feeling is just being human, existing and being alive. “There’s an endless procession of challenges and tests and triumphs and failures, struggles and breakthroughs, and the goal is to realize that all of it counts as a sort of transcendent positive expression of something ultimately beautiful,” W.K. clarifies about the ferocity of life. “That’s what partying is.”
The Power Of Partying tour was the warmup for You’re Not Alone, kicking right into its lead single, “Music Is Worth Living For.” The song is the definition of Andrew W.K., full of infectiously catchy hooks, larger than life riffs, and a powerful, earth-shattering message. The singer opens up about the song, sharing, “There has been no other aspect in my life as consistent and as unboundedly uplifting as music. Whenever I’ve been lost in confusion and dark thoughts, the one thing I could absolutely never deny was music. It’s something that always shines clear and bright and cuts through to the heart of what life really is.”
This song, like many others on the record, are W.K.’s daily breathing, motivation, and collective thought. You’re Not Alone tackles life’s challenges with surging electric guitars, a chorus of constructive positivity, and pumped-up rhythmic structures. While many remember W.K.’s 2001 debut, I Get Wet, as his peak, You’re Not Alone is his magnum opus. It’s a record that is theatrical with a purpose, feeling like a party rock opera that ties together uplifting themes. “I’ve never really worked with a predetermined thematic starting point or a specific concept or story-style framework when making music, other than the themes of intensity and partying,” W.K. comments.
Some of the songs took years to make, some a couple of months, but W.K. followed his deeper instincts to make a record that channels the essence of partying. “In the end, I was quite surprised by how cohesive the final album actually was,” he reflects. “I hadn’t anticipated that my somewhat disparate collection of songs would tie together so well and seem to relate to one another so specifically.”
Of writing the music, W.K. notes, “I suppose you could say it’s therapeutic or even self-help for me. If working on this didn’t uplift me, I’d never be able to generate the energy to carry on with it—or maybe I couldn’t carry on, period.” Much of his writing process is focused on finding the motivation and will to cheer up, creating “pure physical and emotional waves of intense sensation that go beyond smiling,” he says. “Like that tears-in-your-eyes, lump-in-your-throat, butterflies-in-your-stomach, chills-up-your-spine kind of feeling.”
That feeling is captured in “Total Freedom,” a song that strikes a chord in the essence of humanity, mollifying the race of life with an introspective tune. W.K. is confident in the track, which builds to a climactic crescendo with high-soaring vocals. The song came to him in an anxious, vivid nightmare that wound up being a good omen. In the dream, “the new album had already been released, and it was a terrible failure,” he recounts. “I was having a meeting with my manager to discuss the fallout of the situation and what we could do to salvage the remnants of my tattered career.”
“As we were solemnly reviewing our options, a song came on the radio,” he continues. “I was instantly struck by the music. I asked my manager what this song was, and he explained that it was the new single by some supergroup I had never heard of. I was blown away and totally devastated by how good it was, especially in contrast to how bad I felt about my own music. I asked my manager why I couldn’t make a song like that. What was wrong with me that I couldn’t come up with music like that? He shrugged and said it just wasn’t meant to be like that for me. I’ve had dreams about songs before, but never one this vivid, where even the lyrics were there. The entire song existed in my dream.”
You’re Not Alone is a gripping sound wave, the orchestral vision of a powerful pantheon of Party Gods channeled through the vessel of a messenger. After Sony Music brings the album to the people on March 2, W.K. will embark on a new journey across the globe to bring forth the message of purposeful partying.
In light of all the positivity and a new grandiose and explosive record, W.K. is humble and ready. “There are obviously plenty of people out there who have gotten very little from my work,” he says, “so, for anyone who has gotten something—especially something lasting—I’m tremendously thankful.”