Text by KralTunes
Unlike the bulls eye-like focus on his previous album, Until the Quiet Comes, You’re Dead! finds the maestro in familiar territory on his 5th album.
FLYING LOTUS (Steven Ellison) brings us an even more fly by the seat of your pants in an album reminiscent of Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew.
You’re Dead! moves from a very jarring, jazzy opening to a song like “Dead Man’s Tetris” whose crunchy beats and bloops harken back to those glorious NES days.
The longest song on the album, “Never Catch Me” features sped up chipmunk-like vocals courtesy of Kendrick Lamar, touches on darker overtones (“I can see the darkness in me and its quite amazing/ Life and death is no mystery and I wanna taste it”) and soars by so fast that you’ll need 3 or 4 listens to listen and comprehend the thought provided in these intelligent verses. This is the only track that could ever survive outside of this album.
Unfortunately, the album suffers through a middle phase of tracks that are just ‘there’ – which can be worse then being good or bad – as they are simply forgettable. The run of “Siren Song” through “Moment Of Hesitation” provide pleasant sounds and rhythms, but it’s nothing you haven’t heard before and it’s nothing to highlight.
Quirkiness takes hold with “Descent Into Madness” and “The Boys Who Died In Their Sleep”. The unique, eerie lyrics and vibes on this pair break up the monotony of the previous onslaught.
The 19 tracks seem to whiz by; the lyrics come just as fast and furious as the beats. The listener is left without breath and with something to think about in the afterglow.
“Please don’t bomb my nation, embalming fluid waiting
I got mind control when I’m here, you gon’ hate me when I’m gone
Ain’t no blood pumpin’ no fear, I got hope inside of my bones
This that life beyond your own life, this say this go for mankind
This that outer-body experience, no coincidence you been died
Bitch, you’re dead!”
I’m conflicted. This ‘brew’ was on a trajectory towards being a great album, and then it sputtered and got stuck at “good’. It may not be a shabby effort at all but I am sure that this is not Ellison’s best effort.
You’re Dead! now serves as a reminder of the excellence that the Flying Lotus can tap into when motivated.