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Thundercat- It Is What It Is

Thundercat 2020 album

It Is What It Is: Album Review

When would there be a better time to release an emotional album like “It Is What It Is” than smack dab in the middle of a Pandemic driven worldwide lockdown.

While emotions are swirling around the world, Thundercat’s new album is a raw, emotional, unpolished example of the creativity of Stephen Bruner.  Kicking off with a vocal driven intro and a psychedelic, jazz exploration in Innerstellar Love, Bruner quickly makes his way to the quirkiness that has endeared so many of his fans.

 

     Collaborations with Childish Gambino, Louis Cole, Ty Dolla $ign, Lil B, Pedro Martins, Steve Lacy, Steve Arrington, and Zack Fox all prove to be significant to the album.  Each song has its own vibe and identity but still fit the overall fabric of the album.

     The first collaboration with Louis Cole, hilariously named “I Love Louis Cole,” has the upbeat drumming and overall vibe of a Louis Cole song, but with the vocal vibe of Thundercat.  It’s a very nice collaboration.

 

     Just one song later, the vibe changes with “Black Qualls” to a throwback, hiphop/r&b vibe with Childish Gambino leading the way with his signature vocal tone.  Only to find itself throwing back even further with a pseudo Smokey Robinson sound in Overseas with guest Zack Fox and then returning to hiphop with Fair Chance featuring Ty Dolla $ign and Lil B.

 

     The final collaboration is the final track of the album.  Humorously, the title track is saved for the end of the album.  The signature guitar of Brazilian guitarist Pedro Martins gives this track “It Is What It Is” a mystical and peaceful if not slightly haunting outro to the album.  

 

     “Funny Thing” to me seems to be the anthemic tune of the album that really quickly sinks in the brain and stays there for good.  This to me is the hit song of the album and if it wasn’t such a dark time in the world, this would be the jam of the month.

     While this album is not as polished as previous records and doesn’t necessarily have the same type of standout tracks upon first listen, the album is a work of art and fits beautifully into the Thundercat catalogue with at least one or two songs that can really stand out.  

 

     The beauty of this record deserves a listen, and then another, and another.

Buy or Stream (but seriously, buy) It Is What It Is, available on all platforms.

 

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