Lifted Licks: Thundercat's "Drunk"
Every Thursday here at ES, we look at an album that works great for listening to while high -- usually that means something deep and complex but still very chill, with plenty of nooks and crannies to float over while you're enjoying a nice sativa or indica. Today, we're hitting on exactly that note, with one of the best and most unique albums of 2017.
Thundercat is a Los Angeles musican whose real name is Stephen Bruner -- he's worked with producer Flying Lotus and is probably most famous lately for guesting on Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly. Drunk is his third album as Thundercat, and as you might imagine coming from someone so versed in production, there's a lot of great mixing to hear here. There are sound effects mixed in (the frantic and repetitive Captain Stupido ends with snoring and a fart), and sometimes things are so eclectic they threaten to go off the rails entirely. There is a song that features both Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald, as if Bruner is trying to cram all of the goofiest sounds of the worst '70s and '80s rock into the same song.
The brilliant part of this album, though, is that as wacky as it is, it all works. It all feels connected and smooth even though it shouldn't, and though the rhythms almost clash like different plaids on the same quilt, it all works thanks to the great craftsmanship. Drunk has been mentioned on a number of different year-end lists, and the word "chaos" has been used quite a bit, in a good way.
Despite that chaos, however, there's a groove to follow and it's well worth following. Near the end of the album (around the title track), things do start to slow down a bit, and get a bit more introspective. "Sometimes you want to feel alright," Bruner sings gently, "but not on someone else's dime."
If that's not a statement meant for a cannabis fan, then we're not sure what is. Grab yourself a nice indica or hybrid, slap on your headphones, and luxuriate in what's happening here. You won't regret it. Drunk is available now wherever great music is sold or streamed.