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Thundercat releases solid new album

Thundercat+performed+at+the+Paradise+Rock+Club+in+Boston+on+Oct.+17.+
Thundercat performed at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston on Oct. 17.

Thundercat performed at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston on Oct. 17.

Courtesty of dlgboston

Courtesty of dlgboston

Thundercat performed at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston on Oct. 17.


On his latest record “Drunk,” Thundercat shows us all that he still knows how to have fun and entertain listeners while doing it. The bassist isn’t just coming off his first charting album, “Apocalypse;” he’s also gained a wider audience after collaborating with Kendrick Lamar on the rapper’s critically acclaimed 2015 album “To Pimp A Butterfly.” Released on Feb. 24, “Drunk” takes aspects from numerous genres, including jazz, classic rock, funk, soul and hip-hop, and goes wild with them. Despite the occasionally bizarre lyric, Thundercat’s attitude and musicianship, as well as his production and writing with Flying Lotus, really helped him put forward a solid release.

My favorite aspect of the album is the tune. Thundercat is a bassist first so the complex, jumpy bass lines at the core of almost every song give the music a great foundation. The atmospheric synth also adds another dimension to the overall sound along with the drumming and brief bits of guitar in certain songs. Additionally, the emphasis on bass is nostalgic of ’70s music with hints from modern rap. The production includes rich instrumentals that contribute to the album’s fun and dreamy feel.

Another aspect in which the album shines is in its lyrics. While no lines on this album will be a yearbook quote any time soon, Thundercat’s offbeat sense of humor is endearing. From the completely absurd lines about being a cat off  “A Fan’s Mail (Tron Song Suite II)”, to the more critical “Bus in These Streets,” where TC wonders “Where would we be if we couldn’t tweet our thoughts?” Thundercat’s humor finds its way throughout the record.  Now, these won’t guarantee laughter from everyone, but the jokes feel very natural. There are more serious tracks as well, especially “Lava Lamp” and “Blackkk.” The lyrics are very well sung, and Thundercat’s surprisingly high voice is a joy to listen to. But it is not the only voice heard. Guest appearances from Kendrick Lamar, Michael Mcdonald and more put a great amount of effort into their lyrics, and their presence and delivery are all also great. In short the lyrics are nothing amazing, but they are pretty charming.

Overall, “Drunk” mixes genres to create a humorous, entertaining and rhythmic album that is best described as Frank Zappa hanging out with George Clinton. While none of the lyrics possess the emotional depth of true modern classics, the album never loses its charm after any amount of listens. The music itself is solid and the guests mesh well with the record’s tone. My personal favorites are “Captain Stupido”, “A Fan’s Mail (Tron Song Suite II)”,  “Walk on By” and “Inferno”. Thundercat isn’t a genius, but definitely a welcomed breath of fresh air in music today, and he deserves credit for that.

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Thundercat releases solid new album