In a word, this song is: disorienting. But, I’m pretty sure that’s the point.
Mixed in a way that almost reminds me of Justin Timberlake’s “Filthy” — the vocals are mixed towards the back, and the resulting forward, staccato bass sound gives it an alien vibe — “Final Fight” transports you to an alternate dimension.
The song’s debut lyrics discuss Thundercat’s battle with insomnia, and the funky, forward bass trills definitely make me feel like I haven’t slept in weeks, but we quickly take a detour:
Can’t miss a beat, gotta stay awake
What’s wrong with me yeah
Can’t go to sleep
Insomnia got the best of me
She sees my dreams and I see hers too
Even though I’m dreaming wide awake
Almost can’t feel my face, almost fully numb
If these lyrics seem familiar, it’s because they are. And, as opposed to The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face,” which has little going for it other than a driving beat, “Final Fight” actually makes you feel like you’re tripping. If you’re going to write a drug song, you better go all out, and no one is better at that than Thundercat.
In the second strophe, Thundercat intones:
Getting kind of mad, about to lose my shit
Thinking I should jump, jumping out the window
This is followed by the literal sound of crashing glass, and it’s simultaneously hilarious and terrifying. Hilariously well done, terrifyingly too real.
While the strophes themselves (this song doesn’t follow a typical verse chorus pattern) are filled with layering of vocals and instruments, between the strophes the layers are mostly cut back just to the bass, which, to me, seems to mimic an actual drug trip — both in the sense that trips have highs and lows, and in the sense that when you hit that breaking point, you have to focus on something that calms you, which, for Thundercat, is the bass.
Very solid drug song. Very disorienting, but very genius.