Make $20 Watching Videos
Free Music Streams and Free Music Videos
247 News - "Best Free Music Site Period"
Thundercat gives himself a pep talk at the beginning of Drunk: “Comb your beard, brush your teeth … beat your meat, go to sleep.” At least he’s in marginally better spirits these days. Following the death of his friend and collaborator Austin Peralta, his last two releases—2013’s Apocalypse and 2015’s The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam—explored the concept of extinction and what the spirit might endure when the body expires. On these records—along with Flying Lotus’ 2014 album You’re Dead!, where Thundercat contributed bass or vocals to many of its songs—the singer and preeminent bassist (born Stephen Bruner) tried to make sense of a devastating truth. Peralta was gone, and one day, he will be gone too.
All this cosmic morbidity leaned on Thundercat’s music, which takes on many forms all at once: ’70s funk, R&B, punk with tinges of fusion. His art is undeniably black, yet the structures are loose enough to pull in all sorts of listeners. It speaks to those who love soul and ska equally, those who spazz just the same when George Duke or Bad Brains flash across the iPod. Thundercat is equal parts Nintendo generation, ’60s flower child, and hardcore skater bro. His live show is punk as hell; serene studio tracks are given loud, frenetic makeovers. On top of all that rests Thundercat’s smooth falsetto, a transcendent voice that can usher you into some sort of demise (“Descent Into Madness”), sing lovingly to his pet cat (“Tron Song”), or make drugs seem perfectly fine (“DMT Song,” “Oh Sheit It’s X.”).
If Thundercat’s recent work focused on the uncertainty of death, Drunk confronts the challenge of just trying to live life. It’s a marathon through the mind of Bruner that uses his casually humorous and honest songwriting to detail that which is cool and that which sucks. Cool? Kenny Loggins and Dragon Ball Z wrist-slap bracelets. Sucks? Friend zones and the police state. Featuring Kendrick Lamar (“Walk on By”), Wiz Khalifa (“Drink Dat”) and Kamasi Washington (“Them Changes”) among others, Drunk plays like an anxious stoner album, the aural equivalent of late-night channel surfing. Its 23 tracks present a fluid narrative that begins on a somewhat bright note and gradually fades into darkness—a concept record that takes you through a bleary night of drinking, drugs, funk, and heartbreak with Thundercat himself.
He is whimsical and somber, funny and meaningful, sometimes all at once. Each song hovers around the two-minute mark, defying those ‘70s fusion forebears whose tracks could drag on over dense harmonies and time signatures. Drunk hits all the melodic and emotional themes Thundercat aims for without belaboring the point. On openers “Rabbot Ho” and “Captain Stupido,” he comes off a bit goofy and red-eyed, leaving his wallet at the club after a night of partying. “Bus in These Streets,” which resembles the theme of 1980s children show “The Great Space Coaster,” uses a sarcastic nursery rhyme flow to chide our collective social media dependence (“Thank God for technology ‘cause where would we be if we couldn’t tweet our thoughts,” Thundercat quips). “Jameel’s Space Ride,” a transitional song near the album’s end, uses a chiptune-inspired beat while he sings of the struggle between minorities and law enforcement: “I’m safe on my block, except for the cops/Will they attack, would it be ‘cause I’m black?” This, of course, is after he literally meows about how cool it must be to be a cat.
All this oddball soul feels more anchored to Thundercat’s humanity than his previous releases. We see him here as both a heartbroken insomniac, someone who looks at the world alongside Pharrell on “The Turn Down” and wonders if “everything we do is weak,” and a juvenile jazzbo who wants to “blow all [his] cash on anime.” Much like The Golden Age of Apocalypse and Apocalypse, which leapfrogged several different genres with dizzying results, he’s able to keep it all together, offering a puzzling ride that feels coherent despite its moving parts. Unlike his past work, which put his musicianship on great display, Drunk presents the defining picture of Thundercat as a person: quirky, political, thoughtful, weird—and sometimes drunk. These descriptors aren’t surprising if you follow him on Twitter, but here, Thundercat comes off like the guy who you can hit up at the bar and riff on pretty much anything. Given all he’s gone through personally, it’s an honor to hear Thundercat feeling like himself again.