When asked to describe himself, Whitmer Thomas—comic, musician, skateboarder, infamous Blink182 stan—will tell you, “I’m always gonna be the one whose mom called him ‘the Golden One,’ right before she died.” This is where his debut HBO comedy special, The Golden One, finds Whitmer: age thirty, investigating this sense (curse?) of destiny-as-identity. Songs from The Golden One, a companion album of songs from the special, features Thomas’ darkwave bangers, synthesizing relatable-content: millennial anxieties, therapy-speak jokes, and the annals of his own childhood tragedies.
At first pass, Thomas’ special and album make a relevant, hilarious articulation of one tragic childhood, of the messiness of masculinity, of the timeless qualms of being broke with a dream in Los Angeles, and the humiliation inherent in having “a dream” at all. But in flashes of unexpected weirdo wisdom, Thomas weaves a deeper story of a person finding reconciliation and forgiveness alongside finding his own self and voice. He faces his darkness with darkwave, writing the story of his objectively insane youth through a Venn diagram of cool guy music, goofy dude jokes, and sensitive boy reflections that hit in a way that feels bigger than the sum of its parts. Thomas will say that he made The Golden One out of desperation, but there’s something about the show feels a lot more, instead, like destiny.