Composed of otherworldly melodies, classic bass riffs and the occasional goofy sound effect, Thundercat released his third full-length album, Drunk, Friday.
Well known for his work with producer Flying Lotus and rapper Kendrick Lamar, Los Angeles-based musician Thundercat featured both artists, along with Wiz Khalifa, Pharell Williams and others, on Drunk to show off their collaborative talent.
As a whole, Drunk feels groovy, sexy, melancholic and a bit funny, and yet somehow Thundercat manages to make these juxtaposing emotions blend together effortlessly. At times whimsical and at other times dark, Thundercat displays his full array of songwriting abilities on this album.
This duality of emotions, both somber and goofy, can be seen right from the start with the opening song “Rabbit Ho.” Thundercat juxtaposes images of drunkenness and partying with images of demise, potentially as a means to reveal the circle of life to the listener.
Thundercat fuses R&B and ‘70s funk to create a sound that feels rooted in music history, but also deeply personal and brand new.
But Drunk is not for the faint-hearted casual listener. Containing a total of 23 tracks, Drunk is a full experience to sit down for and really listen to.
The album features a number of short transition tracks, such as “Day & Night” and “I Am Crazy,” which help the album’s flow and cohesiveness.
Drunk serves as a reminder to live life and survive, through any means possible. Thundercat shows his inner vulnerability and personal relationship with madness, through tracks like “Inferno,” in which he describes life’s highs and lows. The lyrics state: “Out of the pan and into the fire / the descent into madness/ brightest day / darkest night / the inferno.”
Thundercat’s enchanting use of falsetto, paired with funky background music, feels transcendent in many ways, especially paired with messages of grief or finding happiness. This is especially true in the album’s closing track “DUI,” which pays homage to Thundercat’s recent struggle to understand death.
In this track, Thundercat jumps between saying “Sometimes you’re alive / sometimes you are dead inside.” Through this, Thundercat highlights the idea we are only here for a short period of time.
“DUI” uses the same overarching melody as opening track “Rabbit Ho,” which gives the album a circular quality that makes listeners feel somewhat reminiscent and nostalgic. This quality makes the album feel complete — like a singular experience in time that feels meaningful and personal to everyone listening.
Drunk is the type of album that will feel different with each listen, as fans discover new nuances and meanings.