Vinyl LP pressing. 2020 release. When asked to describe himself, Whitmer Thomas-comic, musician, skateboarder, infamous Blink182 fan-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 feature ten cuts of borderline-John Maus cosplay with spasms of pop-punk absurdity. Thomas uses the gothy, nasal vocal drone as a tool of comic detachment to cover the funny-'cause-it's-true territory of awkward sex, crippling insecurity, the shame of ambition, and the long tail of abandonment traumas. Each song is a capsule of initial therapy breakthroughs: those realization zingers where suddenly it all makes sense how each fucked variable from then makes up the weird shit of now. When you see it all for what it is, it looks like some sick, clever joke from the universe, driving you desperate to revise the comedy so that if you have to be reality's punchline, at least you can write the jokes. But in flashes of unexpected weirdo wisdom, Whitmer weaves a deeper story of a person finding reconciliation and forgiveness while 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 it's parts. Whitmer will say that he made The Golden One out of desperation, but there's something about it that feels a lot more like destiny.