- WHAT’S GOOD
- GONE, GONE / THANK YOU
From being banned of entering the UK and Australia to writing the soundtrack for The Grinch, Tyler, The Creator has come a long way since founding Odd Future in 2007.
Returning after his traditional 2-year absence, Tyler continues to experiment his sound across 12 tracks on his sixth album, IGOR. The Californian includes features like Playboi Carti, Lil Uzi Vert, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams and Solange – just to name a few.
The album starts with the distorted and heavy vinyl crackling of IGOR’S THEME. The ominous opener features vocal support from Lil Uzi Vert and Solange and I could definitely see it being used for some sort of horror film. From the start, Tyler blends the sounds of Cherry Bomb and themes of Flower Boy; and continues to do so throughout the project. The album follows Tyler falling in love, starting and ending a relationship and attempting to remain friends.
EARFQUAKE is a clear example of Tyler falling in love, featuring backup vocals from Charlie Wilson and a short but sweet verse from Playboi Carti. The song encapsulates the exciting and anxious feelings of gaining emotions for someone however already hints to relationship problems. I THINK builds upon this feeling and hints to the effect his significant other has on his mental health. The track gives off a strong Kanye West vibe by interpolating Stronger. Like West, Tyler’s production is always something to be commended, matching the incredible work of Flower Boy while reintroducing sounds reminiscent of Cherry Bomb. However, each song as I went through it got more and more boring, becoming repetitive and not offering the excitement I hoped for.
The short spoken word EXACTLY WHAT YOU RUN FROM YOU END UP CHASING foreshadows the later emotions of the album and the toxicity that love can bring to you. RUNNING OUT OF TIME continues to play into the topic of running and alludes to the often inevitable and ominous ending of a relationship. Tyler’s use of back up vocals and amazing production work really gave me a sense of falling, whether into love or into peril. The project starts to become more clearly Tyler’s with songs like NEW MAGIC WAND, A BOY IS A GUN and PUPPET. This leads to a large issue throughout the album, that it doesn’t feel like his own. He doesn’t allow himself to shine as bright as I think he could but perhaps that could be the creative direction the artist is heading, focusing more of curating and production.
WHAT’S GOOD is one of the more aggressive cuts on the album and personally I really liked it. Split into two parts, with the later featuring UK’s slowthai, Tyler gives one of my favourite verses on the album with lines like “I ain’t have nobody to cheat on, I cheat death. New album, no repeat, I reset.” He then lightens it up with GONE, GONE / THANK YOU, following the multi-part structure that all of his tenth tracks have followed since Bastard. Coming to terms with falling out of love, the song features King Krule and Mild High Club. This is my favourite feature on the album, and one of my favourite cuts on the whole project. He ends the album with the anti-climatic ARE WE STILL FRIENDS? featuring Pharrell Williams that leaves us with the unanswered question “Are we still friends?”. Ending the same way it started, with us on the edge of our seats excited to hear more.
Tyler’s voice struggles to shine through past his production until the back half of the album, but even when it does, the themes explored seem repeated from Flower Boy. Nevertheless, Tyler has added another beautiful album to his discography that fits its narrative. I think people are harsh to quickly criticise IGOR in fear that it won’t live up to his previous work. While I do agree this isn’t his best, its an album with amazing curation and production work that hints to the continual growth of Tyler as an artist.
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