Thundercat is your stereotypical nerd: he has an odd sense of humor, he’s introverted, and he’s obsessed with anime. Tack on a disposition for music theory and some of the funkiest bass lines of today and you have the talent to feature on records by artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, and Erykah Badu. On Drunk, his third studio record, Thundercat really builds up the funky-nerd persona with tracks like “Captain Stupido,” about trying to get over how “weird” he thinks he is, “Tokyo,” about his love for Japanese culture and Dragon Ball Z, “Tron Song,” about his cat (which also mentions the 80’s cult-classic film Tron), and “Show You The Way,” which features both Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins.
Most of the 23 tracks on Drunk however don’t dwell on the quirks of Thundercat’s personality, as tracks like “Walk on By,” with a fantastic verse by Kendrick Lamar, are down tempo lover’s pleads with lines like “no one wants to drink alone, and “Them Changes,” a track that originally appeared on his previous EP, that truly shows off his prowess on the bass. (side note: the last line on “Them Changes,” “a heartless, broken mess,” really sounds like the chorus to “Highway to the Danger Zone“).
The album also, although seemingly daunting due to the sheer number of tracks, is actually composed of 2-3 minute songs with 30-second interludes, an interesting length when compared to funk’s usual 7-9 minute jam sessions. Thundercat however is more aligned to that of Nintendo/internet culture, writing quick yet lasting glimpses into his own psyche, whose unique style never stays past its welcome before it’s time to move on.
On his last two projects, Thundercat was dealing with death and what happens to someone when they pass both cosmically and spiritually (a theme that crossed over into his work with Flying Lotus’ You’re Dead!, but on Drunk, Thundercat seems to be more of himself, singing about his daily life and showing off his personality through some of his most upbeat and earnest material yet.