2015 has been a rather productive and prolific year for Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner, as the renowned bassist has contributed to two of the most critically applauded albums to date this year, Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly and Brainfeeder Records labelmate, Kamasi Washington’s The Epic, and Bruner spent part of the year writing and recording the material that would comprise his recently released mini-album Where the Giants Roam. The mini-album ’s first single “Them Changes” consists of wobbling and propulsive bass chords that are reminiscent of old school Stevie Wonder, (in other words, futuristic but seemingly coming from an old, rusty spaceship that’s travelled several hundred light-years across the universe) paired with cymbal-led four-on-the-floor-like percussion, Bruner’s silky croon, arpeggio keyboard chords, swirling electronics and towards the last 35 seconds of the song, Kamasi Washington’s saxophone comes in with a warm blast before the song fades out.
At the core of the song is a narrator, whose heart has been ripped out and broken by some careless, thoughtless person, leaving the narrator to stagger around in a confused daze, like a punch drunk boxer, as they try to put the pieces back together – rather unsuccessfully. You almost picture the narrator staring at the gaping hole in his chest and wondering “what happened to me?” Certainly, most of us have been there at least once and much like the narrator, we somehow push forward blindly.
The official video consists of gorgeously shot and surreal treatment that begins with samurai fighting to the death in a cluttered, dusty apartment, before switching to the helpless and armless survivor, watching informercials, featuring Thundercat. Much like the narrator, the video’s protagonist is devastated and is caught staring off into space, reminiscing about the past, and simultaneously wondering “what happened?” In some way, the video evokes the helpless vulnerability of love and heartache; if you’ve been there, you kind of feel like the armless man, begging for someone to pick up the remote and turn your TV off.