Thundercat delivers Kaleidoscopic Jazz on his new album, "Drunk"
Written by Waylon O'Day
MLM Rating: 4.7 out of 5 Stars
Stephen Bruner, better known as Thundercat, recently released his third full-length album, Drunk, and I have to this is an early candidate for album of the year. Yes, it is that good.
Bruner has built on that sound that he exemplified in the 2015 EP, The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam, as if it was not already obvious enough, he even included standout track, “Them Changes,” on the new album.
The twenty-three track album is chock-full of smooth, velvety, jazzy goodness. Opener, “Captain Stupido,” is fun, hectic, and ethereal. The tongue-in-cheek ode to our dependence on technology, “Bus in These Streets,” is both poignant and eerily charming. “It’s cool to be a cat,” is the refrain on “A Fan’s Mail,” a track that I just find so relaxing and sonically dense. The MoTown-esque groove of “Walk on By,” coupled with a goose-bump inducing introspective verse from Kendrick Lamar make this one of my favorite songs on this album. “Tokyo” just drips with nostalgia, Bruner sings about visiting Tokyo, Dragon Ball Z, and everything anime. Valentine’s Day single, “Friend Zone,” is a witty, funky kaleidoscopic song about coping with rejection.
Of the tracks that I didn’t enjoy, they are few and far between. “Jethro,” is the worst track on this album, just because it strikes me as a mainstream, early 2000’s R&B-esque track. “Where I’m Going,” would make a better Flying Lotus track, I expect that kind of scratchy, warped vocals, and thumping backbeat from him, Flylo’s work on the track is obvious. The one track that I was surprised I didn’t like when I first saw the track list was “Drink Dat,” featuring Wiz Khalifa. I’ve been a fan of Wiz since Prince of the City 2, so I was excited seeing two of my favorite musicians together on a track. However, Wiz kind of just dominated the track, and not in a good way. As a Wiz song, this is exceptional, but it’s not his track, I just wish Thundercat didn’t let the features overshadow him.
When all is said and done, just about every other track on this album is spectacular, and the ones that aren’t are still great tracks. Even the three that I pointed out as bad would be great tracks if they were put into a different context.
It’s hard to believe that in just three albums Thundercat still is able to blow my mind with his ability to push the sonic envelope. I give this album a 4.7, the only demerits I can give this album are for “Jethro,” and letting Wiz and Flylo steal the spotlight on Thundercat’s album, other than that, I’d have to dig to find something wrong with this project.
Stream the Project below, and follow Thundercat here.