Album Review: Thundercat – Drunk

By Cailynn Beck, Contributor
[Brainfeeder; 2017]
Rating: 7/10

Key Tracks: “Friend Zone,” “Walk on By,” “Drink Dat”

Thundercat is back and feeling brighter than ever—and even a little drunk. With past records like 2013’s Apocalypse, and Flying Lotus’ You’re Dead!, Thundercat (also known as Stephen Bruner) attempted to conceptualize death. Drunk juxtaposes the idea of life post-death with the liveliness of ’70s soul and R&B.

Bruner opens the album with the Flying Lotus featuring “Captain Stupido,” which narrates his day: “Comb your beard, brush your teeth / Beat your meat, go to sleep,” as well as leaving his wallet at the club after a night out. This track is infused with goofy and fun ’70s bass to go with the comical lyrics that narrate the daily life of Thundercat.

“Friend Zone” shows the whimsical, quirky side of Drunk. Although the title is rather self-explanatory, lyrics like “Because I’d rather play Mortal Kombat anyway,” show that although being in the friend zone sucks, he’s going to let it go because he’s “got enough friends” anyway.

Seeping back into bleakness, “Walk on By,” featuring Kendrick Lamar, displays a perhaps drunken Bruner, repeating the lines, “At the end of it all, no one wants to drink alone / Baby that’s how it goes, don’t walk away from me.” This track carries a melancholy, R&B vibe, almost leading you to imagine nothing else but Bruner sitting alone on a couch at night in dimly lit lighting, swallowing his sadness.

Buzzing synths and a lazy bass linger throughout the track “Drink Dat,” featuring Wiz Khalifa. He keeps the theme of goofy, drunk funk alive with gently sung lyrics like, “Can’t open my eyes, girl, ‘cause I’m just too faded / You’re taking me higher, straight shots with no chaser.” Soft and willowy, this track takes listeners to a fuzzy, drunken dreamland—or as Stephen Bruner would describe the feeling, “way out in the stars.”

This album is all things heartbreak, nostalgia, dreamy, soulful, political and even a little odd. Breaking away from the seriousness of previous albums Apocalypse and The Golden Age of Apocalypse, Drunk expresses the reality of Thundercat’s human existence. Drunk is invigorating and it’s a friendly invite into the tipsy, dreamlike world of Bruner. It’ll be interesting to see what he ends up doing next.

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