For You: Thundercat – Drunk
So you weren’t familiar with Thundercat when we spoke about it a few days ago. That shouldn’t be entirely surprising: Stephen Bruner has mostly made his reputation working with giant alterna-mainstream hip-hop acts like Flying Lotus, and through Lotus, Kendrick Lamar. Thundercat’s great though: he has this kindly falsetto that is indie and poppy, sincere and ironic all at the same time. His debut album, Thundercat, was a great postmodern ode to the television show and a generally “IDM”-y sound that included hugely virtuosic basslines and percussions, leading up to a type of sound that a weed smoker would have been quite content with.
His second album Apocalypse seemed like a distraction from real playfulness. 2013 was a defining year for alterna-mainstream hip-hop and modern soul: Daft Punk intermeshed with Lamar, #GrammysLessWhite, and things like Tawk Tomahawk were taking over the Australian airwaves. But Thundercat comes in with a near soul-less rendition of pop, and we were sent into a largely idiosyncratic and hollow world that Twin Shadow was also attempting to carve out, but to no avail. The tracks were strong but they lacked what made Thundercat Thundercat, so it passed through the ears of Pitchfork/mainstream indie and settled into oblivion.
Drunk is hugely imaginative, and the lyrics are plain fun and funny. Rather than the reverential Thundercat, this album chases its own tail into the abyss, celebrating its complex basses and percussions just as Bruner did six years prior. It’s twenty-three tracks! Yet it’s packed with interludes and transitions that it feels as though we are met with ten largely substantive tracks that meld into a dozen other sounds through the course of each segment. I think you’d actually like some of the funk/soul/IDM stuff found throughout, even if the rest of this letter was as directionless as the album itself.
- Captain Stupido
- Walk On By (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
- Friend Zone