If this single is anything to go by, we’re definitely in for a treat with Thundercat’s up and coming album release. Stephen Bruner – a.k.a. Thundercat – recently announced the release Drunk due the end of February, and with a little under a month to wait, this smooth, melodic single has me feeling heavy anticipation.
His eclectic jazz fusion which encompasses funk and electronic RnB is a little more obscure and unique compared to the offerings of most popular alternative soul, HipHop or RnB artists. Show You The Way is the perfect example of Thundercat’s ability to take older genres, such as soul and put his electronic spin on them.
The features of Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins on this single are unexpected yet absolutely eargasmic, reminiscent of the smooth, relaxing vibes of their own yacht rock tracks. The three unique voices each bring a different dimension to the song. Loggins’ Prince-like ethereal voice beautifully contrasts with McDonald’s more gruff and wholesome expression and of course are pulled together by Bruner’s smooth, blissful singing.
Bruner’s signature use of synth is masterfully incorporated; light, airy and melodic it creates spacey and psychedelic vibes, without straying too far from the song’s 70s groove sound. The bass would not be out of place in a Marvin Gaye or Earth, Wind and Fire song, it’s extremely funky and provides depth which prevents the song from sounding too wishy-washy.
The lyrics are somewhat ambiguous, but allow the reader to apply them where deemed appropriate. According to Bruner’s they are about going down the “rabbit hole”, which probably explains why they can be applied to many situations dependent on the listener. This makes them extremely relatable. The lyrics are interesting and the motifs of dark and light are constantly emphasised perhaps pointing to the chaos and tensions of going down the aforementioned rabbit hole.
The song is unique and interesting, yet has pop sensibilities that could enable the song to be a popular hit. However, I feel that, despite my extreme fondness for this song, I couldn’t see it entering the charts as it is maybe too much of a transgression of what is currently seeing chart success. Nevertheless, in my honest opinion this single is a perfect representation of the innovation and masterful musicianship of Thundercat and shows nothing less than an artist who truly knows his art form.