Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 23 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
Buy On
  1. Apr 6, 2020
    90
    The album's title is repeated across the variegated yet flowing sequence, utilized as either a mantra or verbal spackle, always in tribute. Just as moving is Thundercat's heart-in-throat salutation in the closing title track, briefly stated just before his bass intertwines with Pedro Martins' guitar to gorgeous effect. As on the earlier Thundercat LPs, outer space and homeboy escapades, comic courtship and elusive companionship, and philosophical insights also inform the material. ... There are no throwaways or novelty tunes.
  2. Apr 2, 2020
    90
    A spectacular followup to 2017's critically acclaimed Drunk. ... It Is What It Is manifests as a beautiful ebb and flow of emotional states, philosophical musings and plain old comedy. It doesn't drown itself in existential dread or proffer any clear-cut solutions, but just exists on its own plane.
  3. Apr 1, 2020
    90
    The weight of loss, the pain of failed love, the bleakness of it all, combined with Thundercats effervescent playing, unique playfulness and a giddy sense of humor combine on It Is What It Is, resulting in the best album of Brunner’s career and one of the strongest of 2020.
  4. Uncut
    Mar 31, 2020
    90
    From funk struts to tender touches, Thundercat's ascension continues rapidly here. [May 2020, p.35]
  5. Apr 8, 2020
    88
    Bruner’s playing—and, increasingly, his writing as well—is so distinctive he’s able to own it even as he tones down his outsize personality. Many modern artists have mined these sounds, but few have honored them quite like Bruner does on It Is What It Is.
  6. 85
    On It Is What It Is, Stephen Bruner’s eccentric hyperactivity is on full display, bouncing from jittery bass chops to fat West Coast funk. He balances the spacey jazz fusion of his early records with the signature neo-yacht rock perfected on Drunk (2017).
  7. The Wire
    Apr 28, 2020
    80
    It Is What It Is is a fitting ethos for an artist whose genre-twisting tendrils have extended themselves into the highest reaches of the pop canopy, simultaneously flexing their deep funk and jazz roots. [May 2020, p.62]
  8. Apr 15, 2020
    80
    On It Is What It Is, Bruner—unlike Pastorious—finds a way out, channeling his pain into great, uplifting art.
  9. Apr 14, 2020
    80
    It Is What It Is isn’t the worthy successor to Drunk, but it certainly feels like its ideal companion piece.
  10. Apr 13, 2020
    80
    Emotionally and musically, he has kept pushing forward on this new record.
  11. Apr 8, 2020
    80
    Fortunately, It Is What It Is takes the listener’s needs into consideration by counteracting giddy one-liners heightened by energetic accompaniments with introspective ruminations coupled woven into sultry arrangements. In adjusting to the shifting sonic plains, the listener is presented with a gloriously rewarding stretch of tonal stability in the record’s third act.
  12. Q Magazine
    Apr 7, 2020
    80
    Soft soul, gibbering jazz fusion and the cyber-futurism of overseer Flying Lotus still works a collective shock. [Jun 2020, p.96]
  13. Apr 6, 2020
    80
    The LP’s darker moments are its most affecting, but the playful brushes of humour throughout never diminish anything; in fact, they make ‘It Is What It Is’ a richer, more human experience.
  14. Apr 3, 2020
    80
    It Is What It Is sparkles with inventive songwriting, chunky production and pervasive good vibes, a worthwhile addition to any R&B or jazz fan’s collection.
  15. The album’s stoic title aside, Thundercat’s lyrical reflections on grief, uncertainty and gradual healing are threaded through ‘It Is What It Is’. ... ‘It Is What It Is’ isn’t entirely shrouded in mourning at every turn though: there’s ample fun and musical exuberance here.
  16. Apr 1, 2020
    80
    It’s an album embracing difference, accepting highs and lows: just what we need right now.
  17. 80
    What’s impressive is how Thundercat makes this music, with its complex structures and zigzagging rhythms, so human.
  18. Mojo
    Mar 31, 2020
    80
    The musical and emotional ground covered here is remarkable, evidence of an artist who can locate joy inside pain, and whose adventurous, modernist, fearful funk can be movingly expressive. [May 2020, p.88]
  19. Mar 31, 2020
    80
    As usual Flying Lotus produces, with his fingerprints particularly keenly felt on tracks such as Unrequited Love, to assist Bruner with yet another fantastic release.
  20. Apr 7, 2020
    74
    Thundercat has a giant heart, and It Is What It Is is the best display of his enormous empathy yet, even if it does have a few unnecessary goofs along the way.
  21. Apr 7, 2020
    74
    Bruner is still getting tipsy and pondering what waits for us in the beyond. There’s growth and acceptance in that wonder—the title suggests as much— but not necessarily in the songwriting. The album lacks the anchoring power of a full-bodied jam like “Them Changes,” “Heartbreaks + Setbacks,” or even his 2011 George Duke cover “For Love I Come,” leaving us lost inside Bruner’s mind. hat isn’t always a bad place to be.
  22. Apr 7, 2020
    70
    It Is What It Is, is just as daring in its musical reach, and its pairing of goofy and gutting [as 2017's Drunk].
  23. 60
    The drawback here is not that Bruner hasn’t made the out-and-out pop album his narrative arc as an artist might demand. Nor is it that he is showcasing his conservatoire-grade talents. It is, perhaps, that he doesn’t sit with one emotion, be it high or low, for a sustained length of time.
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 60 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 49 out of 60
  2. Negative: 3 out of 60
  1. Apr 3, 2020
    9
    This album is as dense(if not more dense)instrumentally as Drunk, as Thundercat proves that he is a master of fusing jazz, soul, funk,This album is as dense(if not more dense)instrumentally as Drunk, as Thundercat proves that he is a master of fusing jazz, soul, funk, electronica, and many other genres. Along with this, he pens lyrics that are at times humorous(seen with the Overseas skit ft. comedian/rap star Zack Fox and Dragonball Durag)but at other times introspective in thoughtful(through his tributes to his late friend Mac Miller on the tracks Fair Chance and the album’s title track). This is such a beautiful album. This is the best project of his career, and it should certainly be considered one of the best projects to come out this year. Full Review »
  2. Apr 3, 2020
    9
    It's a really solid, funky and consistent Thundercat album with great production, "It Is What It Is" makes you feel a little bit happier inIt's a really solid, funky and consistent Thundercat album with great production, "It Is What It Is" makes you feel a little bit happier in these hard times. Full Review »
  3. Jul 2, 2020
    7
    Thundercat, an extremely talented bassist & modern-funk-master touches the entire spectrum with this album. Whether it be a delightful ode toThundercat, an extremely talented bassist & modern-funk-master touches the entire spectrum with this album. Whether it be a delightful ode to dear friend Mac Miller (album title is also a Miller lyric) or a comedic interlude from Zack Fox, Mr. Brunner gives the listener variety. However, the entire album's replay value is mostly low for me. Ideas don't seem to be as fully-fledged as in his previous work, "Drunk."
    Best Tracks: Dragonball Durag, Funny Thing, Fair Chance
    Full Review »