So often with the 33 1/3 series I’m reading about a classic album, one I know so well, one I felt I probably could have written about – I’m sure many readers of the series fell this way; it’s part of the charm. But there’s also the curveballs, and I’ve stuck with this series – also – for those. I want to read about albums I didn’t like, or, more the case, didn’t love. And Andrew WK’s I Get Wet is a great example. I didn’t love it. I was a bit baffled about the people who did love it, a bit dubious about this hair-metal/Meat Loaf/party-vibe shtick. But, I was working in music retail at the time and I do remember the small, concentrated fuss around this album. I was intrigued. And I didn’t ever hate it.
So, Phillip Crandall takes me back through the album with his book about Andrew WK’s 2002 debut album. And it’s a fascinating read, a lovingly gushed fan account that puts the reader right into the back-story, excitingly so. We find out a bit more – a lot more – about the music and motivations of the man that made this album that (and I have to give credit for this) seemed to arrive out of nowhere.
Crandall gives the album’s story its chance to shine in the spotlight, for it’s about the story of the album more than it’s ever about the actual album, it’s about the person playing the role of Andrew WK, it’s about the ten thousand hours already practiced – and perfected – before the Andrew WK of I Get Wet, all bloody-nosed and reckless-as-fuck looking either tormented and terrorised your eardrums or tantalised and teased your senses (/senseless).
I learned a lot here – because it’s good to read about stuff you don’t already know when it comes to music (or any subject, right?) It’s far more rewarding. I learned a lot about Andrew WK’s generosity to his fans, with his time – and money. I learned about the care and crafting of this reckless, shit-starting party-up persona.
And, yes, it sent me back to the album. Jury’s still out (still). But hey, it’s one mean feat that it even got me going back. Fans of the record will love this because it’s not an oft-told tale. And it also works as complete introduction to a very interesting musical artist. One with far more depth than I was ever going to give him credit for. I love, too, how the writing reeks of fan-happiness, of nearly breathless excitement towards the music, the energy behind it, the covering of the story as it’s happening. You’re put right into the heart of the assignment. In much the way that, whether you want it or not, Andrew WK places you right there alongside/inside his music. You’re there to confront the tune, because it’s certainly about to confront you.