Everybody In the Club Gettin’ Tipsy
Drunk is the third studio album by Thundercat, the stage name for musician Stephen Bruner. Long-time collaborator Flying Lotus produces a majority of the album, touching 16 of the 23 tracks, some co-produced with Thundercat, who produced 10 songs on the collection. The bassist, vocalist and producer takes us back in time on a psychedelic journey through his expanded consciousness on Drunk.
The good time starts with “Rabbot Ho” and the song’s exaggerated synths and minor chords, serving to foreshadow the rest of the album. “Captain Stupido” is the record’s pre-game, with flowing guitar melodies over quick, jazz-styled drums and lyrics like, “Jesus take the wheel” and “I think I left my wallet at the club,” interspersed. Thundercat showcases his bass playing with the fast-paced instrumental jazz track, “Uh Uh.” The musician goes old school on “Bus In These Streets,” giving off a ’70s vibe and a thought-provoking question, “thank God for technology, ’cus where would we be if we couldn’t tweet our thoughts?” Thundercat takes his stage name too seriously on “A Fan’s Mail (Tron Song Suite II),” meowing his way through a dreamy bass-led number produced by Sounwave. Breathy, blending harmonies bring listeners to a jazz club featuring Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald and Thundercat, who complete the trio for “Show You The Way.”
In 2016, Thundercat won the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration Grammy award for “These Walls” from Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly. Lamar is unsurprisingly featured on “Walk On By” and Thundercat creates his own version of the rapper’s “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” on “Friend Zone.” The producer has “a love affair with Tokyo” surrounded by warbled bass, mind-bending keyboard and even includes sound effects from the Japanese anime TV program Dragon Ball Z on “Tokyo.” Distorted bass, staccato piano chords and Thundercat’s silky vocals lead to a bopping rhythm that’s sure to score “Them Changes” a spot on the charts. This progression continues on “Drink Dat” where Wiz Khalifa brings another hallucinogen to the party as Thundercat’s soothing vocals drizzle over the hook like honey. Soaring harmonies and violins sinking into minor keys cause a spiral down “into the fire” on “Inferno,” paranoia leaks through on “I Am Crazy” and the insomnia is felt at “3AM.” Thundercat has a nightcap with Pharrell on the trippy and politically-infused track, “The Turn Down,” but the end comes full circle with “DUI” as an extension to the album’s beginning song, “Rabbot Ho.”
Losing his mind, phone, wallet and heart, Thundercat drunkenly stumbles through his 23-song epic album. The electronic jazz fusion is a blur of the artist’s open mind, proving that drunk thoughts can produce sobering realities. Drunk is packaged like a musical, intoxicating listeners with a relatable storyline that digs deep and soars high.