Flylo emerges from six-feet under in You're Dead
The genre-spanning producer drops his fifth LP
Album: You’re Dead
Artist: Flying Lotus
Label: Warp Records
Release Date: Oct. 7
Flying Lotus takes a psychedelic journey that explores themes of death and spirituality in his fifth LP. You’re Dead experiments with strong jazz-fusion and heavy hip-hop influences.
You’re Dead opens with “Theme” a surreal sonic arrangement that teases the listener in anticipation with a drumroll, then explodes into a mesmerizing saxophone solo with jazzy drums.
With “Theme,” Flying Lotus introduces a world of introspection on death and the afterlife for the listener to meditate on.
Flying Lotus produces all of his own music, creating his own rare electronic style enraptured with up-tempo jazz that can be just as luminous as it can be dark, which adds to the alluring central core of life versus death found in You’re Dead.
The first song with a featuring artist is the captivating “Never Catch Me,” with guest rapper Kendrick Lamar.
“They say that Heaven's real, analyze my demise, I say I'm super anxious / recognize I deprive this fear and then embrace it,” Lamar said. The rapper explores his own fears on death, heaven, hell and judgment, complimenting Flying Lotus’ vision.
A choir and a nuanced production that includes smooth percussions, snazzy bass and jazz-heavy piano and synths elevate “Never Catch Me.”
Following Kendrick’s slick verse, Flying Lotus’s raps as his alter ego, Captain Murphy, in “Dead Man’s Tetris” with rap-legend Snoop Dogg.
“Mama what’s them words you said / hold up, hold up / Why you make us think you’re dead,” Captain Murphy raps. The artist mulls over questions about his own existence, his dead mother’s and the politics of the afterlife.
Snoop Dogg heightens the narrative with his own verse: “Could’ve been the drank, it might’ve been the smoke / in light of all that he was considered dope.” Snoop is embracing the idea that people live after death, an argument Lotus returns to continually in his album.
Odd Future alum Earl Sweatshirt makes a cameo in the background repeating the chorus along with Captain Murphy. The sound is enhanced with catchy samples from Tetris and intermitten gun noises.
“Coronus, The Terminator,” opens to a pattering sample of rain falling on the windows, intensified by featured artist Thundercat’s smooth electric bass and vibrant vocals from guest-singer Niki Randa.
“There’s nowhere left to go, so I’d like to save you / they all want to be saved,” Randa harmonizes with Flying Lotus. The song illustrates the moment when an individual soul begins to approach the gates of the afterlife as a sample of birds chirping added to the heavenly aesthetic.
“Siren Song” features Angel Deradoorian and was originally intended for Pharrell. Deradoorian provides kaleidoscopic vocals levitating the trippy guitar riffs and staccato drums. The combination of Flylo’s production and Deradoorian’s voice adds the effect of a peak into a cherubic, peaceful afterlife.
“Descent into Madness” is quite the opposite of “Siren Song.” The song includes eerie vocals and thunderstorm samples that are reminiscent of a vintage horror film.
Flying Lotus continues his themes of death and life, singing, “There is no escaping out that hole / Darkness in your soul / Welcome to the descent … into madness.” He is focusing in on the gateway to hell. The song closes out with spooky production heavily overlaid with string instruments, a sound very reminiscent of swarming bees.
You’re Dead’s funeral procession is its last song, “Protest.” The song includes harmonizing vocals that repeat a haunting refrain, “We will live on forever.”
Flylo’s usage of soft piano and light drums slowly builds up a layered production heightened by a funky bass. The hypnotizing refrain in “Protest” emphasizes the exploration of death and afterlife.
Flylo is hypothesizing that even when our lives end, our spirits are eternalized in the legends and legacies we create within ourselves.