Flying Lotus has dropped a new conceptual album titled You’re Dead. FlyLo aka Mr. I-Have-My-Own-Radio-Station-In-Grand-Theft-Auto-V has put together a great mix of instrumentals and guest verses that fit into one single theme: death. Most of the songs on here don’t have lyrics, but that doesn’t mean they don’t give off a certain feel. So before we dive in, imagine that as soon as you press play, you are experiencing death. Trust me on this one.
The first track, “Theme”, represents the panic that is gone through right before death, which is apparent when you hear how abrasive the saxophone sounds on this track.
This leads into the next track, “Tesla”, which continues into the moment right before death, as you seem to have your whole life flash before your eyes, much like how a Tesla would flash right by you on the freeway. That is, if it’s fully charged.
This then leads into “Cold Dead.” Now it’s official. Your skin is cold and maybe a couple of your cells are still alive, but you’re dead. The guitar riff kind of implicates you freaking out that you have actually passed, which leads into “Fkn Dead.” Which is way worse than cold death, I’m assuming. But now, the mood of the track seems more mellow, like you have accepted that you’re pushing daisies.
Then, “Never Catch Me” starts off, and it serves as a climax to what the first four tracks were building up to, and damn, it sure is a climax. Make sure you wear protection for this one. Kendrick has the guest verse on this song that keeps the death theme going. His verse serves specifically as an out-of-body experience. He’s on the outside looking in, seeing how he can see the darkness in him “and it’s quite amazing.” This song can be contextualized more deeply after watching the visual for it, which was reviewed by our very own Daniel Brojas. Make sure you check that review out. In the video however, 2 kids come out of their caskets at their own funeral but the members of their funeral don’t notice them. They’re having their own out-of-body experience. K.Dot’s verse on this is crazy by the way, make sure you listen to it.
In “Dead Man’s Tetris”, we see an appearance of FlyLo’s alter ego, Captain Murphy along with Snoop Dogg. Murphy starts off confused and in disbelief that he’s dead. Also, if you listen closely to the synthesizer during the hook, you can hear a part of the Tetris theme song done in a more dark and creepy manner, which fits perfectly with the title of this song. Murphy then starts to think that he’s dead once him and J. Dilla are smoking trees together. Uncle Snoop then comes in trying to convince the Captain by telling him how he died; a “nickel plated nine” that blew his mind, literally. And figuratively too.
Then “Turkey Dog Coma” comes in and is another instrumental with the same feel and the same jazzy vibe that is felt throughout the album. “Stirring” follows as an apparent extension to this song, since it clocks in at only 30 seconds.
These lead in to “Coronus, the Terminator” which includes a very gospel like feel to it. It’s almost as if angels are coming down to you to take your soul. There’s no place left to go once you’re dead, but these angels seem to want to save you, which is why they say “I’d like to save you.” Flying Lotus also said on his twitter account that this song’s theme is focused on the end of mankind, which can be seen on the line “The days of men are coming to an end.”
“Siren Song” features the talents of Angel Deradoorian. The vocals she delivers are made to sound like sirens, specifically ambulance sirens that are taking you away to the hospital after you have died. This leads into “Turtles”, which continues those same vocals accompanied by chimes. This then sets the scene for the next track, “Ready Err Not”, in which the title seems to imply that death takes you at whatever time, whether you’re ready, err not. Death doesn’t take that into consideration.
“Eyes Above” comes in right after and is accompanied by some great jazzy drum sounds which lead into “Moment of Hesitation”, which sounds exactly like how extreme hesitation would feel and takes us back to that doubt that Captain Murphy had about if he was actually dead.
“Descent Into Madness” comes in sounding exactly like what the title implies. We are welcomed to the descent into madness by a sinister sounding voice (Thundercat) telling us that there is no escaping this darkness in your soul.
“The Boys Who Died In Their Sleep” then comes in featuring Captain Murphy once again, this time, asking for his daily fix of drugs. The outro to the song repeats the phrase “take another pill” suggesting that “the boys” died because of an overdose.
“Obligatory Cadence” starts off with space sounding samples along with a creepy violin sounds. It sends chills right through your spine.
“Your Potential/The Beyond” features vocals by Niki Randa and makes you contemplate on the potential you had on earth, but now you must look forward to the beyond, as there is nothing left for you to do on earth since you’re six feet under.
The album then ends with “The Protest”, in which the phrase “we will live on forever” is repeated throughout. FlyLo said on his twitter account that this song delivers the most powerful statement on the album. It is the spirits of the dead gathered together making sure you remember that you never truly die. As FlyLo tweeted, “Our influence lives on forever. Our love lives on forever.” Very powerful message to wrap up the album.
Overall, this album was a great listen. I really enjoyed it. The jazzy feel to it made me think I was front row in a small jazz bar, but I was also experiencing the death that Flying Lotus wanted the listener to feel. Make sure you give it a listen. Coming in at 38 minutes, it can fit anyone’s schedule. Listen to it on your lunch break then talk about it with your employees next to the water cooler. Just make sure you don’t yell the name of the album title in front of your supervisor. Or else You’re Fired!
I give this album 8/10 roses.