Thundercat - Is It Love?
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Thundercat - Is It Love?
“Suddenly, you gave it all to me”
Thundercat - The Golden Age of Apocalypse
Sounds like: Mayer Hawthorne playing James Jamerson’s bass with Prince and the Revolution (FlyLo Remix)
If bass and synth aren’t your thing, cover your ears and run. That combined with airy vocals and a lot of reverb are pretty much the formula for this entire project. But if you ask me, that’s completely fine. Sure, this album probably won’t start a musical revolution. It won’t sell more than Thriller. But if you give it a shot, there’s a pretty solid chance that at some point you’ll catch yourself grooving to it. Probably embarrassingly hard.
Here’s my favorite thing about this project: Thundercat plays bass like a jazz guitarist. Bass (the stringed kind, at least) tends to take a background role in modern music, but this album will inspire quite a few young bassists out there to take a spot up front and center. In fact, as a member of Erykah Badu’s current band, Thundercat does just that. He played a long solo at Outside Lands this year that made the crown go nuts. Do you know how good you have to be to make a huge crowd lose it over a bass solo these days? About as good as you have to be at “yo-yoing” to impress anybody older than 9.
So what distinguishes this from say, a sped up Bootsy Collins album? Flying Lotus. If production credits were more detailed/public-friendly, they would say: FlyLo - Chillification, Experimentification. This album has so much of his sound in it, it’s almost cheating. I’m convinced that right before he dies, he’ll admit to owning a time machine that he uses to hear what the future sounds like. Accordingly, this album is full of the sounds people will hear during their commute in 2112.
There are plenty of long instrumental breaks and songs that don’t have vocals at all. But honestly that’s probably for the best. Thundercat isn’t a bad singer, it’s just not where he shines. Imagine Aretha Franklin releasing an album of piano instrumentals. All you really want to hear that other thing they do. Case in point: the beginning of “For Love I Come” is ok. But listen to how it goes from “ok” to “time to audition for Soul Train” around 2:30. We want the funk!
And that’s what we get for the most part. This is a very promising first effort from a guy that’s already well-known and respected within the industry. He shows all the signs of an innovator and considering the company he keeps, he’s likely to stay that way. Looking forward to hearing much more.
The Cool Kids - Swimsuits (feat. Mayer Hawthorne)
Haven’t found your summer jam yet? This might help.