September 9, 2003
Fans show 'The O.C.'
a little California love
UNLEASH THE WOLF
ANDREw W.K. TONES DOWN THE PARTY
By Adam Rottenberg
and Jason Pesick
Daily Arts Writers
By Joel Hoard
Daily Music Editor
After the release of Andrew W.K.'s
major-label debut, 2001's I Get Wet,
rock critics, pop culture theorists and
music fans the world over began to
debate A.WK.'s use of irony.
On one side of the debate were
those who argued that the only way to
reconcile the fact that Andrew W.K.
with the fact that
he comes off as
such a nice and
monster's ironic nature offers a third
tier of irony.
On the other side, the simple argu-
ment, that "dude just likes to party"
Two years pass, and the ironist
extraordinaire himself remains silent
on the issue. Is he really so genuine,
or is it all an elaborate ruse? With the
release of A.W.K.'s follow-up, The
Wolf, hopefully a clear answer will be
It may at first appear that Andrew
has grown as an artist with The Wolf
considering that the percentage of
song titles containing the word
"party" dropped from 25 percent to
8.3 percent. But party purists should
rest easy because A.W.K. makes up
for the drop-off with titles such as
"Tear It Up" and "Make Sex."
His party-hard mind-set firmly
intact, Andrew complicates matters in
the irony debate by making his music
even more overblown than before.
Each song is composed of dozens of
instrumental and vocal tracks, some
with as many as - no joke - 300
vocal tracks. What results is not a
convoluted, cacophonic mess, but,
ironically (there it is again), a collec-
tion of simple, unpretentious rock
Filling the void left by such seminal
shows as "Beverly Hills 90210" and
"Melrose Place," "The O.C." is the
story of a young man, Ryan (Ben-
jamin McKenzie) from a destitute part
of town. He becomes embroiled in
trouble with the law and is invited to
live with his lawyer Sandy Cohen's
(Peter Gallagher) rich family. With a
soundtrack that captures the feel of
the show, "The O.C." provides sala-
cious and campy entertainment in an
otherwise mundane television land-
scape. This new trashy melodrama,
which takes place in ritzy Newport
Beach, Calif., has become a sensation
with horny teenagers and young
To be sure, "The O.C." is not win-
Courtesy of FOX
Fuck me, your majesty.
young man is to assert that he is being
ironic. With that in mind, they estab-
lished a basic irony scheme that
unfolds like this: The fact that an
artist, whose catalogue includes songs
such as "Party Hard" and "Party 'Til
You Puke," takes his music so serious-
ly provides the most superficial level
of irony. Digging deeper, the reality
that said artist is seemingly oblivious
to his ironic nature exposes a second
layer of irony. Proceeding even fur-
ther, the very examination of the party
songs that all exude a Def Leppard-
Combine that with A.WK.'s overt
benevolence, and it creates a hazy
feeling of elation. It feels so good, but
no one is quite sure why. The astute
listener will hear a voice that asks,
"Could I really be enjoying a record
that has lyrics like 'I don't wanna
make life / I don't wanna make death /
I don't wanna make love / I just
wanna make sex'?" The even more
astute listener will have a second
voice that tells the first voice to shut
up and party hard.
In the end, The Wolf never provides
a definitive answer to the question of
irony. Trying to explain something
like Andrew W.K. is like trying to
explain life itself. It doesn't make
sense because it isn't supposed to
make sense. If it does, you're doing
- Check out Wednesday's edition of
The Michigan Daily for an interview
with Andrew WK.
ning its time slot
as a result of the
quality of its
scripts, but rather
who inhabit the
Breathtaking cinematography saves scattered 'Liquid'
By Ryan Lewis
ing world and the people who love it. Featuring leg-
ends like Kelly Slater and up-and-comers like Taj
Burrow, Brown utilizes commentary from genera-
tions of surfers to discuss the numerous positive
With images of cresting waves photographed from
the inside out accompanying intricately detailed show-
casing of the greatest isolated surfs the average person
will never see, "Step into Liquid" presents surfing as
more akin to nature's visual ecstasy than extreme
Surfer/director Dana Brown - son of Bruce
Brown, the man who brought the classic surfing
documentary "Endless Summer" series to screen -
journeys from the Great Lakes to remote areas 100
miles off the California coastline to capture the surf-
attributes of surfing.
As anyone would know just
from watching crashing waves
from a distance, the cinematogra-
phy is nothing short of captivat-
ing. Special photography allows
cameramen to begin shooting the
At Michigan Theater
However, where the look succeeds, the organization
of the documentary and the narration lack direction
and unfortunately, distract from the surfing imagery.
Brown's narration fits the lackadaisical stereotype of
surfers, but it doesn't fit the film's message that surfers
are more than lazy non-athletes.
Even without the narration, "Liquid" loses too
much of its power by squeezing as many locations
and feel-good themes together. The overt weepiness
takes away from the joy of watching what's most
important: the waves.
Though it strays along the way, "Liquid" will make
you want to do just that. So serene are the waves that
they beckon even the most timid viewers to "hang
ten." The shores of Hawaii, Australia and Tahiti seem
to call out, "Come in, the water's just right."
beautiful California setting. A show
filled with kids that look like they
came straight off the pages of an Aber-
crombie and Fitch catalogue provides
plenty of eye candy for both sexes.
College kids enjoy watching the
tawdry exploits and sexual escapades
of the pretty boys and prima donnas
of Newport Beach. Since "90210"
ended in 2000, there has been a
noticeable absence of inane plots on
the air. Last week's episode featured
a scene in which a boy from the val-
ley partied in Newport and shot
someone because of a verbal spat.
Entertainment such as this is
unmatched anywhere else except on
FOX's beacon of trash.
However, a flaw exists in that many
of the "high schoolers" appear to be
in their late twenties. Eventually, the
cast will face a "Dawson's Creek" sit-
uation where the actors are so much
laughably older than their characters,
specifically in the case of McKenzie
who plays a character eight years
younger than his actual age.
While many would consider "The
O.C." to be simply lowbrow entertain-
ment, it allows a weekly escape from
the rigors of life into a world even
more messed up than reality. In con-
trast to the crap often shown in reality
television, especially FOX's own
garbage like "Paradise Hotel," "The
O.C." still has a moral center and a
message to send to its viewers.
In a few years, the toughest chal-
lenge for "The O.C." will come when
the characters are faced with the
inevitable growth from their high
school environment which has crip-,
pled shows in the past like "90210"
and "Saved by the Bell." The major
test for the writers will be keeping the
plot lines fresh, but not veering too
far off the deep end.
After tonight's episode, FOX is put-
ting the show on a six-week hiatus
before moving it to Thursdays at the
end of October. This move places it
against much more formidable com-
petition than the reality programs and
reruns found during its summer run.
The cult following is slowly growing,
but might lose some momentum with
all of the scheduling changes. Never-
theless, for fans of teenage melodra-
ma, there is nothing better than ra trip
to "The O.C."
surfers above the water and follow them as the wave
envelops the camera. And when the surfimg elite ven-
ture out into the mid-Pacific to take on waves that
tower over six-story buildings, the already inspiring
transforms into the uncanny.
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