REVIEW: Flying Lotus – “You’re Dead!”

Flying Lotus are by no means strangers, but their name is emerging currently, thanks in part to their latest album, “You’re Dead”. The album is led by a single featuring the always popular Kendrick Lamar, so it was interesting to hear the rest of the album based around that song. “You’re Dead” is a journey from start to finish, and Flying Lotus are more than willing to tell their story on this project.

The album doesn’t creep into full force at all. the opening set of “Theme”, “Tesla”, and “Cold Dead” hit with a maniac pace. A few minutes into listening to this album, and it sounds like a jazz record on the wrong speed. Things finally cool out a little bit on “Fkn Dead”, a sample of the cooled out music to follow, but the track is a whopping 40 seconds long.

The first voice on “You’re Dead” is Kendrick Lamar. Single “Never Catch Me” is the longest song on the album, but still clocks in at just under four minutes. In a way, it’s like punk rock meets jazz. Towards the end of the song, you actually check when it’s going to end, because it’s so much longer than anything on the rest of the album. Keeping with the hip hop features, “Dead Man’s Tetris” features a trippy version of Snoop Dogg with some vocal effects, which actually is a very fitting choice for this release. Somehow.

The album doesn’t really mellow out until nine tracks in. On “Coronus, the Terminator”, things slow down, but it luckily doesn’t send everything into a tailspin. Regardless, there are small sections of brilliance throughout the production, like the bouncing line on “Ready err Not”, coupled with the high-mixed one-shot sound effects.

Things pick back up with “Descent Into Madness”, a track that does just that, finishing with a flurry. Captain Murphy provides trippy vocal layering on “The Boys Who Died In Their Sleep”, giving the track an added dimension and pushing the record forward to the ending tracks.

“Obligatory Cadence”, no matter how obligatory it may be, is one of the strongest tracks overall. It’s followed by the always smooth “Your Potential/The Beyond”, and the album closes with “The Protest”, a fitting, chill close to something that started off as pure chaos.

There’s definitely ebbs and flows to this project as a whole that keep you guessing. The back half is more listenable, but from start to finish there are bright spots to “You’re Dead!”.  Check it out below: