Andrew WK: I Get Wet: Pitchfork Review: Remarkable write-up of the Andrew WK album from Ryan Schrieber, Pitchforkmedia’s editor-in-chief.
Remarkable because it gets Andrew WK’s music so descriptively right – “Nothing could penetrate a sound that dense. I was overcome. I tried to remember the last time anyone dared to push rock so poppily over the top, and figured it must have been some time around Hysteria. I sat rapt by the simple barbarity of that sound, Andrew barking adamantly over the exploding plastic fury. The gall! WK demanded respect, whether he deserved it or not. His conviction was startling, and the sound so scrutinously polished it lapped itself back into rawness. Indeed, it was time to party.”
And remarkable because of Schreiber’s reaction to what he’s hearing. He rejects it – violently. “I spat, and with the poisonous substance expelled from my system, I saw it for what it is…this music is evil in its purest form”. He actually writes “There is suddenly no respect for proper behavior”. He actually writes “some kinda total dipshit that wouldn’t know Boredoms from buzzworthy”. He ACTUALLY WRITES – oh but you can read it for yourself.
He could be being knowingly over-the-top, though his righteous responses to critics on the Reader Mail page suggest otherwise. If he’s serious, it’s illuminating, the thought-processes of the “rock elitist” (his words) laid bare. It’s not that Schreiber doesn’t like Andrew WK – he does like it, his description of what happens to him when he listens to it is absolutely dead-on. It’s that he refuses to like it, cannot let himself like it – this music is “empty”, it’s “evil”, it’s “fun”. Andrew WK steps outside the polite post-grunge boundaries of indie rock, and to prove it Schreiber damns him by comparison with three other beyond-the-pale populist stompers. Case closed.
Schreiber’s review is one of the most honest pieces of rock criticism I’ve read for a while. His Protestant, rule-based urge to mistrust pleasure seems on the surface pretty anti-rock and anti-life to me, but on the other hand he admits this – as shown by his brave publication of an Eminem review whose main purpose was to humiliate him for just these tendencies. And besides, read the WK review again – doesn’t it come to life when he’s talking about hearing the man’s music? Doesn’t the physicality – spitting out! – of his casting WK out tell you how viscerally he’s feeling this stuff? Ryan Schreiber is, in the language of the armchair shrink, a classic pop closet case. And deep down, he knows. Join us! Join us on the dark side, Ryan! The party starts here!