Now if you’ve been frequenting this site for a while, you’d know that the past couple of years have been incredibly productive and prolific for the critically applauded and renowned bassist, vocalist and JOVM mainstay artist Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner as he made guest appearances on two critically and commercially successful albums — Kendrick Lamar‘s Grammy Award-winning album, To Pimp A Butterfly and Brainfeeder Records labelmate, Kamasi Washington’s The Epic, and arguably one of of 2015’s best albums, The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam, an effort which further cemented Bruner’s reputation for being a dexterous bassist and mischievous songwriter, as the material off that album possessed a retro-futuristic sound that nodded at Steve Wonder‘s legendary 1970s output, complete with wobbling and propulsive bass lines, arpeggio synths and Bruner’s sultry and plaintive falsetto.
Bruner’s third, full-length effort Drunk is slated for a February 24, 2017 release through Brainfeeder and the album will be an epic 23 track journey into the bizarre, hilarious and sometimes dark mind of the singer/songwriter and bassist — and the effort finds him collaborating with an All-Star list of collaborators including frequent collaborators and friends Kamasi Washington, Kendrick Lamar, Wiz Khalifa and Pharrell Williams, along with Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins. While the album will feature fan favorites “Bus In These Streets” and “Them Changes,” one of my favorite tracks off The Beyond/Where The Giants Roam, Drunk’s first single “Show You The Way” was a soulful, 1970s jazz fusion-leaning track in which shimmering arpeggio synth lines, stuttering drums, Bruner’s incredible bass work and sultry falsetto with the legendary vocal work of Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald that interestingly enough reminded me of Michael McDonald’s “I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near).”
Although Valentine’s Day has passed, Drunk‘s latest single is an Anti-Valentine’s Day anthem in which the song’s narrator complains about a love interest, who has not only friend zoned him, but continually plays games with him and his feelings. And throughout the song, the song’s narrator builds up the courage to tell the object of his attention that he’s had enough of having his emotions and heart fucked with — and instead of being friend zoned by an asshole, he would be better off by himself. Sonically, the song continues along a similar vein of the album’s preceding single as shimmering, arpeggio synth lines, a wobbling and propulsive bass line and four-on-the-floor drums paired with Bruner’s dreamy falsetto; however, unlike “Show You The Way,” “Friend Zone” is full of the bitter recriminations and frustrations of cruelly unrequited love.