Tyler the Creator stuns with new album


Tyler the Creator stuns with new album

By Peter Zemeske

Tyler, the Creator turned heads and shifted tone with his Grammy nominated 2017 album “Flower Boy.” The California rapper toned down the angsty and high-energy beats of 2015’s “Cherry Bomb” in favor of smoother R&B instrumentals. The critically acclaimed album was Tyler’s most sincere to date and served as a moment for him to come out of the closet on “I Ain’t Got Time!”

“Next line I’ll have em’ like woah,” Tyler raps. “I’ve been kissing white boys since 2004.”

Tyler wants fans to know his fifth studio album “Igor,” released by surprise May 17, is a different experience from any of his other musical projects.

“This is not ‘Bastard.’ This is not ‘Goblin.’ This is not ‘Wolf.’ This is not ‘Cherry Bomb.’ This is not ‘Flower Boy,’” Tyler said in a May 16 tweet. “Don’t go into this expecting a rap album. Don’t go into this expecting any album.”

Tyler released a few audio/visual teasers on social media in the days leading up to the album’s release starting May 1.

“Igor’s Theme” fits the aesthetic of its namesake with dark and brooding synth pads and features vocal contributions from Lil Uzi Vert and Solange. In the Playboi Carti featuring “Earfquake,” Tyler laments a lover threatening to leave the relationship. The motif of being heartbroken or being the one to break a heart carries throughout the 12 tracks. “I Think” has an impressively catchy percussion line that carries the song. Tyler is unsure of his motives and mental state in a relationship thinks he might be in love. A lyric ties into a song later in the album: “I’m your puppet, you are Jim Henson.” The line ties into the track “Puppet” which comes five tracks later. Another motif that runs throughout “Igor” is spoken word from comedian Jerrod Carmichael of “The Carmichael Show” fame. The track “Exactly What You Run From You End Up Chasing” features Carmichael saying exactly that, which connects to the tracks “A Boy is a Gun” and “Puppet,” where Tyler runs from his lover on the former and comes back on the latter. At the start of “Igor,” Tyler expresses his love for whoever he’s in a relationship with but slowly wanes to nothing toward the end with “Gone Gone / Thank You.” Tyler takes a break on a more serious note on “What’s Good,” a track that could live comfortably on “Cherry Bomb” with its distortion and aggressive lyrics. On “Igor’s” soulful closing track, “Are We Still Friends?” Tyler comes full circle with his relationship and wants to reconcile with his now-ex.

“Igor’s” sound is something all its own, but there are elements of Tyler’s other albums mixed in. The vocals are sometimes set deep in the mix, similar to the production of “Cherry Bomb.” The instrumentation of “Flower Boy” carries over with pianos, guitar and live drums. Speaking of guitar, blues rocker Jack White has credit for the guitar solo on “Are We Still Friends?” Tyler continues in his bare-all direction of lyrics and style; he isn’t afraid to be vulnerable or try new styles on. He’s a far cry from the primal sounds of “Goblin.”