Lil Bub, a cat made famous because it looks adorably deranged, released an album this week. It’s 10 tracks long. It’s called Science & Magic: A Soundtrack to the Universe.
Here’s what party celebrity and motivational speaker Andrew W.K. said about the album:
First of all, it should be understood that this album is a genuine musical experience. Also, it should be understood that this is not a novelty item or a cheap and disillusioning gimmick. This is a bonafied and musically gratifying concept album, which entirely emerged from the soul and spirit of Lil BUB herself...Listening to these songs is the sonic equivalent to holding Lil BUB in your own arms.
It’s hard to know to take this endorsement seriously coming from a man whose entire career seems to be a gimmick balanced on the precarious platform of avoiding disillusionment and finding gratification. But this is an album made by a cat, (or, more precisely, an album by Bub’s owner Mike Bridavsky and Bub’s catsitter Matt Tobey), and it’s hard not to feel compelled toward gratification when listening to an album made by a cat.
Lil Bub was brave to release the album this week, right after Adele released the most popular album in a decade, and in December, a month when only the super-famous release albums. Beyoncé released her surprise self-titled album one random December day in 2013. Jeremih released his long, long-awaited album Late Nights yesterday. And we’re still holding out for some of the year’s biggest rumored albums, from Rihanna, Drake, Kanye, and maybe (maybe) Frank Ocean. But Lil Bub can release an album whenever he wants, because Science & Magic, like any good path to true self-actualization, runs on mind control.
Is the album good? I don’t know. But I think the act of listening to it may result in a sudden spiritual awakening; a wave of nubile, ultra-sleek consciousness; a sunbeam of consumerism unfolding as mental stimulation. At the end of the album sits a kind of spiritual enlightenment that hasn't come from listening to an album since Purple Rain revitalized unwilling minds in 1984. And Bub's enlightenment hits after five distinct stages:
Confusion Before I started writing this, I was listening to Philip Glass. When I started writing, I switched over to Science & Magic, so my brain would be aligned with my typing fingers. But then I forgot that I had switched, and I thought Philip Glass had done some strange, experimental circus music I hadn’t heard before. Because that’s a little bit what Science & Magic sounds like: Philip Glass with paws.
Stamina The album begins with "Hello Earth," an intergalactic space odyssey that sounds like a chiptune song in half-time. The percussion thuds like stilettos under synths that drag. It constricts around your brain, probably suffocating it just a little bit. But then "New Gravity" comes on, with a bassline that pummels like a Grateful Dead jam sesh. And once a jam sesh starts, you never know when it’s gonna stop. Plug in for the long haul.
Acceptance Things suddenly begin to feel lighter, so much so that you might not realize that you’re now listening to a song called "Assimilation." It’s a sly bit of work by Bub, who at this point really seems to be channeling a cyborg Jerry Garcia. At the exact middle point of the album, "GOOD JOB" comes in with a climactic pulse and what sounds like a flute made of stardust. By now you’ve been sufficiently subsumed into Lil Bub’s world of science and magic. Its thoughts are your own; its percussion is your heartbeat. Its tongue is yours — it feels like sandpaper.
Clarity At this point, you have cycled through the first three stages leading up to enlightenment. But in order to truly reach it, you must first cleanse your mind fully, something that Science & Magic can do for you. "Space Sister" and "Earth Sister" offer a one-two punch of calming cat purrs, squishy synths, and a guitar solo that will wipe your crowded little cranium free of anything but blank space you can use to store your newfound mental ascension in.
Total Enlightenment The final track on the album is called "Rebirth," and if that doesn't convince you of all this, I don't know what will.
Science & Magic: A Soundtrack to the Universe is out now on Joyful Noise.