Thundercat - Drunk
Thundercat really reminds you of the kid in school who was too smart for their own good. They always seemed above everyone else despite underachieving, this subtle idea that even in their failure they were crafting some kind of grand joke. That is how this album feels, it is heady and above 90% of it's listeners pay grade, but it is often enjoyable despite it's weirdness. Drunk is all at once jazz, 80s pop, yacht rock, R&B, Rock and damn near any other genre you want to throw at it. A song like "Bus In These Streets" sounds like the most incredible 80s sitcom intro you have ever heard, but when the lyrics get into our obsession with tweeting every single one of our thoughts the song takes on an entirely new shape. Even the song structure if left of center with songs ranging from four minutes to 25 seconds. The album becomes more of a unified work this way because you are never quite sure which song is which unless you are playing pretty close attention. Thundercat's vocals are heavily affected throughout the album giving them this breathy quality. Just when you think things can't get any more odd "Show You The Way" comes in and features Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald. You read that right, Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald, and not in any kind of ironic sense. It's a fine song, but the surprise is what is most special about it, and that theme continues throughout the record.
The same can be said for the Kendrick feature on "Walk on By", it just doesn't seem like Kendrick ever fully buys in to what Thundercat is doing and thus his verse suffers. However when Thundercat pairs with a more DJ/Producer type like Flying Lotus, Mono/Poly or Louis Cole it allows his personality, which is the driving force of the record, to shine through. Wiz Khalifa actually delivers one of his better features of the past few years, likely because the song is not 100% about weed, Wiz's favorite topic of conversation. The sound of Drunk is so big, despite being somewhat soft and delicate, it just seems to wash over you. The record is so varied yet unified it almost unfolds like a movie in front of you and you are never able to anticipate just where the story will go next. Thundercat's exploration of what ties music genres together and how to pull that apart and really dig in is something to behold. There is a ton to like about this album and also a ton to scratch your head about. However in the end there is a likability to this album that is undeniable, and perhaps even unquantifiable.
8.1 out of 10