Drunk Album Review
Released February 24, 2017
Genre: R&B, Jazz Fusion, Alternative Hip Hop, Soul, Jazz Funk, Electro Funk
Drunk is a night out with the one-and-only bassist Thundercat. Within the record, Thundercat brings in his witty, absured, and existential-laced humor as he offers his perspective on the ups and downs of young adulthood. The album has a clear arc, and its coherent rise-and-fall narrative is well thought out and relatable.The funk-injected tunes are brief, rarely going over the two minute mark, and have a lot of funny and humorous content to have someone throw a laughing fit. However what hinders Drunk more than anything is the amount of filler tracks that are rendered unmemorable, and merely goes to show Thundercat’s idiosyncratic and technical proficiency with his six-string bass.
When the songs are a filler, they are very unmemorable and drag on much longer than they seem (“Drunk”, “The Turn Down”, “DUI”). However, when the songs are strong, they pack a punch. “Captain Stupido’s” masturbation refrence placed right in the beginning is sure to offer many laughs, while the track following (“Uh Uh”) is a bombastic and explosive track which shows great chemistry between the drums and bass. This is one of the instances where an instrumental “filler” actually enhances the album. The Kenny Loggins x Michael McDonald collab is BY FAR the album’s highlight, and is just too smooth to hate. “Bus In These Streets” comments on our Twitter-obsessed culture; “Tokyo” calls out Goku and defends anime; and “Jameel’s Space Ride” is a corny tune about the stars and sky. Even songs like “Friend Zone” make something so disheartening feel so comedic and pleasing, as if to detract from the somber tone of life. Yet, Drunk has its fair share of sorrow.
“Lava Lamp” is a dismal tune and it helps provide a fragile feel to the album’s exterior. It’s a progression from dark isolation to optimism, but that doesn’t mean the deep thoughts won’t pop up in a reoccurring fashion. On this record this structure works for the songs are brief and do not linger longer than they should. So whenever a song gets you down, you can bet that the next track is sure to either offer absurd humor or some smooth bass lines to compensate. That is not enough, however, for Thundercat spends a lot of time on this record crafting more intricate tracks than needed. This is a twenty-three track album that lasts for fifty-one minutes, and it sure as hell lacks a punch for memorability. The go-to combo of complex bass line + soaring, ethereal vocals + jumpy drums happen way too often, and slowly become rather dull. It makes this album feel much longer, and with nothing to chew on.
While Drunk captures the drunken anxiety one will get, it does so in a fashion that hurts and helps itself. Thundercat continually shows talent and he showcases a lot of funk and jazz motifs here to last a lifetime, with some features to make even your dad come in for a listen. But it is simply too long, and too lumpy to be as smooth as “Them Changes”; and it keeps this inconsistent, endearing, and necessary contemplation on the absurdity of life, and how to make sense of it all, pack a weaker punch than it should.
FAV TRACKS: Captain Stupido (feat. Flying Lotus), Uh Uh (feat. Zach Sekoff), Bus In These Streets (feat. Louis Cole), Lava Lamp (feat. Sounwave), Show You The Way (feat. Kenny Loggins & Michael McDonald), Tokyo, Jameel’s Space Ride (feat. Louis Cole), Friend Zone (feat. Mono/Poly), Them Changes
LEAST FAV TRACK: Day & Night