After a whirlwind of a roll-out, I Hate Me Too enters the public domain on Friday, May 31st. Along the way, OnCue has released a handful of singles that have provided a glimpse into the painful series of trials and tribulations that spawned the forthcoming album. But, perhaps most notably, Cuey has allowed his audience – the diehards and the naysayers – to experience the healing process that brought him from the ashes of destruction to the rebirth. As listeners, we get to experience the upgrade that is Cuey 2.0 while also gaining a deeper understanding of the catalyst that sparked the personal and artistic evolution of OnCue. “Punch Drunk Love” serves as the final single before I Hate Me Too drops in its entirety, the track demonstrating the plethora of vibes we’re going to be hit with on Friday. With five tracks in the bag, OnCue has already taken us on an emotional journey through frustration, flex, struggle and celebration.
The necessary purge of emotion and energy saturating the previous singles remains a constant, enveloping Cuey’s latest with an aura of unabashed authenticity as the CT-bred/LA-based artist fills the landscape of “Punch Drunk Love” with raw, impassioned vocals. Perhaps the reigning unsung king of melody, OnCue laces the instrumentation with a simultaneously smooth yet rough delivery. Rumbling to the surface from the depths of his being, “Punch Drunk Love” is easy listening that shouldn’t be so easy to listen to. OnCue tells a vivid story, one that is situated in the now although fueled by the past – without littering the record with excessive lyrics the song covers a lot of ground, thanks in no small part to the coupling of his emotion with the selective use of prose.
Co-produced by Turbz and Ymar, “Punch Drunk Love” features somber, atmospheric production. It’s heavy and brooding but remains uplifting and inspiring, in a lot of ways acting as a mirror for the content OnCue has released over the span of his career. The instrumentation is like a sonic manifestation of staying focused and being mindful of not returning to the repetition of toxic cycles. Vally mixed the single and provided additional piano, with Pat Morrissey coming through with the assist on guitar.
Like the song itself, the Colin Shepard-directed visual treatment dances between despair and triumph. Enveloped in a stormy darkness, viewers see a presumably inebriated OnCue figuratively and literally maneuvering through the fog to reach a higher peak. Despite the cloak of tenebrosity, “Punch Drunk Love” shines with a victorious, championing vibe. Man, it’s life – the love, the loss, the heartbreak, the bullshit, the blessings, everything in between and beyond – and it’s going to knock you on your ass. But the only thing that has the power to keep you down is you. No matter what happens – even if you have to destroy yourself and set yourself ablaze to be reborn – you have the power to keep going.
Watch the video and stream via SoundCloud below.