2017 seems to be the year of comebacks. Thundercat (Stephen Bruner) followed this trend with the February release of his new album, Drunk. The 32-year-old bass guitarist, producer, and singer is known for eccentric jazz beats, electronic experimentation, and a sense of darkness throughout his music. This album reflects the original styles of Bruner, while revealing more of his identity through lyrics and expression.
Following a close friend’s death in 2013, Bruner was stuck in a sort of “dark age”, where he became obsessed with the idea of extinction and the eventual fates of the spirit. Drunk mimics Bruner’s rollercoaster journey through this funk; dipping into happiness while swimming through the darkness. In 51 minutes, through 23 songs, the listener is thrown into the artist’s realm of sub-reality, even starting the album off with some self-pep talks:
“Comb your beard, brush your teeth… beat your meat, go to sleep.”
Bruner starts the album with lighter vibes and upbeat tempos, which gradually transforms into darker subject matter (i.e. drinking, drugs, bad mindsets, and heartbreaks) and deeper beats. His purpose is to explain that even surviving day to day life is a challenge, wrought with emotional despair and emotional euphoria.
Featured artists add character and outside voices to the thoughts of Bruner. Most prominently, Flying Lotus can be heard on 8 of the 23 tracks, probably due to their lasting friendship and collaboration through Brainfeeder Records. Other cameos include Kendrick Lamar and Pharrell Williams, who add a new and unique sound to Thundercat’s original style.
While some tracks give off a “spazzy” or “random” impression, this adds to the discombobulated lifestyle that Bruner seems to be living, placing the listener right in the mind of the artist. Bruner’s vocals show strength throughout the album, both vocally and lyrically, which further allows the artist to open up to his audience.
Every time I listen to this album, I find myself playing it from start to finish. It seems to be telling Bruner’s story, and each time I listen, I notice a new element that I didn’t before. Effectively, the dissonance and breaks in beat, combined with dark concepts made me feel a little crazy at some points, but was always relieved by a change in tempo.
Drunk is guaranteed to take you on a journey filled with emotions. Listeners can expect the vinyl to be available on March 10th.
- Rabbot Ho
- Captain Stupido (ft. Flying Lotus)
- Uh Uh (ft. Zack Sekoff)
- Bus In These Streets (ft. Louis Cole)
- A Fan’s Mail (Tron Song Suite II) (ft. Sounwave)
- Lava Lamp (ft. Sounwave)
- Jethro (ft. Flying Lotus)
- Day & Night
- Show You the Way (ft. Flying Lotus, Michael McDonald, and Kenny Loggins)
- Walk On By (ft. Kendrick Lamar)
- Blackkk (ft. Sounwave)
- Jameel’s Space Ride (ft. Louis Cole)
- Friend Zone (ft. Mono/Poly)
- Them Changes (ft. Flying Lotus) – FAVORITE, EARLY RELEASE
- Where I’m Going (ft. Flying Lotus)
- Drink Dat (ft. Taylor Graves and Wiz Khalifa)
- Inferno (ft. Flying Lotus)
- I Am Crazy
- 3AM (ft. Flying Lotus)
- Drunk (ft. Flying Lotus)
- The Turn Down (ft. Pharrell Williams)