If we're gonna rock, these bands gotta roll

April 25, 2002, midnight | By Katie Jentleson | 18 years, 8 months ago

Andrew WK's Party Hard marks a long-awaited revival of real, loud rock-and-roll music

Now, I know that I should be wearing earplugs to concerts and listening to my Walkman at a modest level, but let's be honest, I like it loud. And for me, one of the greatest perks of warm weather is driving with my windows down and playing my music so loud it shuts up the roller hockey punks who nerd up my neighborhood.

But no matter how loud I pump up the songs on the radio, it doesn't make them rock. This phenomenon of Incubus and Nickelback auditory pestilence would explain why my car is strewn with old mix tapes and CDs. Should I ever deign to use the radio presets in my car while driving, the little old lady on the side of the road trimming her hedges into the shape of dolphins would be justified in saying that rock-and-roll music today is nothing but noise. And nobody wants someone whose favorite artist is Neil Diamond to be right.

My point is that I am so disgusted by the crap-tilling rock band knock-offs of my generation that most of my CD collection consists of albums produced prior to 1970. But as much as I love them, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones will never be mine. They belong to another era, and their music can never carry for me the same meaning it did for people who were long out of their mother's wombs by the first Reagan administration.

Recently I have surrendered myself to the fact that the current pop music industry has become far too deadly an environment for visionary artists to produce another prophet like Dylan, but I'd like to beg the question: does anyone remember how to rock? Forget poetry—Whitesnake and AC/DC certainly did in the '80s, so doesn't anyone have the guts to do it now?

Perhaps so. His name is Andrew WK, and if you give him a chance, you'll be happier than Creed frontman Scott Stapp in front of a mirror. I presume many of you have seen Andrew WK on TRL acting like a freakshow in his video for "Party Hard." I'll bet his greasy locks and convulsive dancing were enough to send you channel surfing, but no one ever said that rock had to be pretty.

No one ever said rock had to be deep either. Your ears won't choke on Andrew WK's album during an overproduced ballad that laments why his life sucks more than everybody else's—I doubt that any other new DC101 artist can say the same. His album is a shameless collection of party songs which I feel everyone would appreciate if they weren't so afraid to admit it.

I'll confess—I wrestled with the idea that Andrew WK may in fact stink like one of Mick Jagger's babies' dirty diapers (even they rock harder than the Calling). But then someone older and wiser than me pointed out that the Ramones, who are considered a rock-and-roll essential, could only play three chords when they began. And if the Ramones could be embraced for just banging their instruments really loudly, then there's still hope for Andrew WK.

If you are a rock fan reading this article who thinks that Andrew WK belongs in a soundproof safe, I encourage you to reconsider so you don't end up like that fatty pants in your local record store wearing the Moody Blues sweatshirt, eating a Clark bar and muttering to himself about how the Ramones still bite, 20 years later. However, if your position on Mr. WK is intractable, then I think we can at least agree that something in rock and roll needs to change. If you still think I am wrong, then I hope you are happy with P.O.D. and Limp Bizkit. I, meanwhile, will hit myself in the head with a shovel and hopefully go deaf or at least induce a ringing loud enough to drown out the WHFS playlist.

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Katie Jentleson. Katie Jentleson is currently a senior attending the Communication Arts Programs at Blair. This is her second year on paper although she was enrolled in Mr. Mathwin's journalism class both semesters two years ago. Katie has played field hockey and softball for the past three … More »

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