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Andrew WK
55 Cadillac Stephen Burkett , September 11th, 2009 07:22

A selection of Andrew WK's Facebook status updates:
"Walking down Broadway and Just saw a young dog with a perfectly round head. it was partying!"
"It's amazing how these two little words pretty much say all that there is to be said about life: PARTY HARD"
"Here's a mindset for today: Do exactly what YOU really want to do, and enjoy every second of it. That's how we party hard."
"GOOD MORNING. HAVE SOME FUN. PARTY HARD."

And so on. Hey, say what you like but it makes Facebook a damn sight more interesting than normal. And there's this girl I kind of like but I don't think she likes me ba... oh, what's this I see in my news feed? "What's the meaning of life? It seems it might be about doing what you really love to do, and then PARTYING every time you do it!" Well that's done a whole better job of cheering me up than anyone else. Fuck you, real friends.

And so when the world's greatest and most motivational motivational speaker (seriously, did you see him at ATP? Unbelievable scenes) decides he wants to put out an album composed solely of spontaneous – yes, spontaneous – improvised piano suites then the world better realign its expectations for HOW TO PARTY. 55 Cadillac is, well, eight pieces of music that start with a few plinked and plonked keys and which gust up into great gales of fevered noise that really do feel like Andrew WK's got a gun to his head and is being told to keep playing harder and faster or his ability to party down will be forever removed. Frankly, from start to finish it's an utterly barmy record, fully instrumental and practically relentless throughout. It's clear he's a talented musician, as borne out by his classical training and the technical flourishes that dapple the album, but 55 Cadillac is by no means a straightforward album.

Play it in its entirety and it blends into one bafflingly intense spell; all thumped chords and widdly-diddly harmonies that belie the fact the whole thing was recorded in two hours. There's an almost mechanistic, mechanical sense of slipping away, as there's barely a recognisable chorus or verse throughout: just piano lines that build and build and multiply until the crash of guitars right at the end. You could file it under the more experimental leanings of the likes of Philip Glass – if he'd come out with this exact record instead of Andrew WK you sense it might be received in a much different way – because it would seem that's what the New York party monster's aimed for. One thing's for sure: it's not a party record. It's a headphones record, for as the disassociated music skids around without any recognisable threads it's hard not to let your mind wander.

And when it ends, you can just party a bit harder.

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