An 800 Horsepower Dump Truck, Re-Fueled
Before party-hearty impresario Andrew W.K. became the indefatigable rock star-cum-motivational speaker we’ve come to know and adore—or in some uptight sectors of the music sphere, loathe—exactly 10 years ago today, the classically trained Michigan native made his love-it-or-hate-it debut with I Get Wet. Marking the occasion comes this anniversary reissue, padded with an addendum second disc of live material, a gamut of extras and mini posters, and if you’re one of the Golden Ticket recipients, something really odd—from a lock of Mr. W.K.’s hair to any number of various, shall we say, “organic souvenirs.” All this sweaty gingerbread is a welcome if unsanitary addition, but what about the damned music? Well, like a fine Keystone Light festering in the most elegant of cans, it’s aged very well, my friends.
Though we now take for granted hard-charging chestnuts like “It’s Time to Party” and “Party Hard,” what with their unavoidable appearance in what seemed like even deodorant commercials, a little objective analysis will bring us back to a more uncynical state. Let’s take the former, where Andrew himself seems to dictate our schedule for the evening: “Don’t even try to deny it / We’re gonna have a party tonight,” he screams, like some T-shirted hostage taker. Now though I feel a bit bullied, and I’m on the other side of having heard this song the better of a million times, even still, how can I deny this bloody-nosed man? Or those choogling, irrepressable keys? This is music machined to make you destroy furniture—a Pavlovian experiment dooming us all to unlock our incorrigible, inner pro wrestler. We are helpless to its power.
Our defenseless state is redoubled in “She is Beautiful,” where things turn a little “romantic”—or some HGH-goaded simulacrum of the sort. Rapid-fire tomriffery, equal parts aggression and warm-fuzzies, flies at us while Andrew barks like a star-crossed caveman. “She is beautiful, she is beautiful!” the chorus goes, haltingly yelled like a missing link come-on to Daryl Hannah in The Clan of the Cave Bear. There’s something to be said for W.K.’s pop-metal-dance conceit. It’s not often you hear a Motörhead-meets-Rick Springfield number custom-tailored for an ’80’s roller rink. Come to think of it, it’s not ever—but for this ridiculous, good-vibes song.
Like the singer’s on-stage energy, I Get Wet is relentless—but it’s also consistent. W.K.’s style and vision are so nailed down, the album’s recklessly jolly set list seems immune to attack—as if saying anything cross would render you a dusty crank bent on ruining the fun. But with the guys’ night out stupidity of “Take It Off,” silly bravado of “Got to Do It,” or mirthful menace of “Ready to Die,” why even fight it? I Get Wet is a veins-bulging head-to-can beer crush, and if you didn’t buy it 10 years ago, whether you get a lock of the man’s hair or not is incidental. “It’s Time to Party.”