Flying Lotus’ fifth album “You’re Dead” is possibly the best in his discography. The album is progressive and experimental, as it combines hip-hop with jazz fusion and some elements of electronic music. It’s chaotic, dark, and undoubtedly one of the year’s best albums.
The album begins with the track “Theme” which begins with a somber, eerie synth note that quickly bursts into a vibrant and jazzy freak out with wild drums and pounding bass before it quickly dissipates into nothing. “Tesla” follows right in stride with the previous track featuring a rapid yet subdued drum pattern with impressive bass runs flying all over the track. The next two tracks “Cold Dead” and “Fkn Dead” are as restless as those before it, but much brighter, with the latter sounding like a mashed up 70’s soul song.
“Never Catch Me”, the album’s lead single showcases the incredible chemistry between Flying Lotus and featured rapper Kendrick Lamar. Lamar delivers one of his best guest verses ever, with his trademark rapid-fire flow and his use of multiple inflections. The instrumental is just as remarkable, featuring a catchy beat that is incredibly intricate as well. The beat switches up midway through the track, creating a swirl of thick, syrupy synths and pounding bass hits to create an intriguing conclusion to the track. The following song “Dead Man’s Tetris”, which features Fly Lo’s alter ego Captain Murphy, as well as Snoop Dogg rides off of a trippy vibe and keyboards reminiscent of old school video games. Snoop Dogg’s laid back flow are well suited for this slow-paced and drug-induced track.
The album’s 9th track “Coronus, the Terminator” combines a heavy atmosphere with soulful vocals and a relaxing bass line that, making the song feel like a slow jam, but with a more sinister sound. “Descent into Madness” is a particularly dark moment in the album, both in it’s lyrics and vocal delivery from Thundercat. The following song “The Boys Who Died in their Sleep” features Captain Murphy’s pitch shifted vocals crying out for drugs and describing the effects of his addictions. It’s a chilling song, and yet features catchy vocal’s that make it a definite candidate for repeat listens.
It’s difficult to describe these songs individually as this is an album that is better experienced as a whole, which is a very doable feat at an album that clocks in at less than 40 minutes. With You’re Dead, Flying Lotus shows off his amazing skills in the production department, but also his ability to craft a cohesive, progressive, and above all else vastly entertaining album. This album is without a doubt one of the year’s best and will keep listeners coming back for many listens to come.
Standout Tracks: “Never Catch Me”, “Descent into Madness”, “Dead Man’s Tetris”, “The Boys Who Died in Their Sleep”