[…Death comes in the night on little cat’s feet.]
Some art, by its nature, is meant to be processed, studied. It pulls us in by fits and starts. Holds and haunts us. Other art, however, is striking for its immediacy. For the fleeting moment of recognition that rings something within us that is ancient, primal. Its the paintings that assault the senses, the films that grip us tightly by gut and throat, the novels that refuse sit on our shelves, but demand to be read and reread until the pages are worn and the typeface smuged.
In music, it is the tiny and grand moments that flare our attention, that cause us to suddenly and wholly know that this song, this artist, this genre, is something that we love. “You Had Me At…” explores the musical moments that have kicked me in my tiny little ass, and rung bone on bone.
Andrew W.K., for all intents and purposes, is heaven sent (don’t you dare forget).
In interviews, he is thoughtful, humble, and shy. On stage, he is a blur of bloodied energy. He is a classically-trained pianist who writes face-melting licks, a poet who finds beauty in brevity. He is also, most importantly, undyingly sincere and unrepentantly goofy.
“The McLaughlin Groove” was the moment where I tumbled over the line from liking Andrew W.K. (as a friend!) to loving him with an obsessiveness that borders on obscene. It exemplifies everything that makes Andrew W.K. so damn loveable. Humor and hooks in a perfect union. Squealing synths and pulsing guitars. Virulent enthusiasm. Its what joy would sound like if pressed through a strainer of awesome.
On a side note, Andrew W.K. is all sorts of dreamy.
So, here’s to you Andrew, wherever (whomever?) you may be. You had me at “the next man on the moon will be Chinese”.
[For the record, I was originally going to write this about the lines in “She is Beautiful” that I once interpreted as “And, though I never know you, I look at your face, falalalalala, don’t know what to say.” Apparently, for the past ten years, I’d been creating a joke where there isn’t one, the actual lyrics are “to tell you that I love you, don’t know what to say.” I am, in point of fact, an idiot. Or brilliant.]