Tyler, the Creator – IGOR Album Review
IGOR is the sixth full-length album from one of the most polarizing and uncompromising rappers and producers of this generation, Tyler, The Creator. Tyler’s last project, Flower Boy, is the most critically acclaimed full-length studio album till the date that was released in mid-2017. Flower Boy is a great album to have in one’s discography and it was a pretty big moment for the rapper himself. Let’s review his new album, IGOR, so as to understand what IGOR really means and to analyze how does it keep up with ‘Flower Boy’?
‘Flower Boy’ is easily the most consistent record by Tyler, the Creator so far in terms of style and quality. The production quality and lyricism on ‘Flower Boy’ were on point. The quality features of his previous record include smooth fusions of hip-hop and soul throughout every instrumental used in the album. A lot of amateurish and childishly edgy characteristics of Tyler’s past works have been melted away by superb lyricism on ‘Flower Boy’. The record was like the switch that had been flipped to present a completely new version of Tyler, the Creator.
Let’s review the tracks from the new Tyler, the Creator album, IGOR.
The theme track is supposed to spread the mystery of the heartbreak album, IGOR. The track paves a way to create a mindset of breakup scenario so as to go further deep into the album. Let’s review the upcoming tracks to see what Tyler has to offer in his album, IGOR.
The song ‘EARFQUAKE’ is kind of mellow and maybe even a little funny at first glance. But the more you listen to the song, it becomes clear that Tyler is actually pouring his heart out into these squeaky and weird lead vocals. The heartbreak coming off of the lyrics is tangible even if there is a supremely large element of camp to what Tyler is doing here:
when it all comes crashing down, I’ll need you
There is also a Playboi Carti feature on this track that is placed perfectly. His weird baby-voiced verse fits in with the aesthetic of the song quite well. He is one of many very fantastic and impressive guests on this record. However, many of the featuring artists are a little obscured. Read the full lyrics review of the lead single ‘EARFQUAKE’ here.
The featured artists are a kind of buried in the mixes of particular tracks even though they certainly add to the character and flavor of this album. But there aren’t a whole lot of features on this record that stun or steal the spotlight away from the character, the persona, the story and the focus of the album. Ultimately, I think it is a good quality of an album to have.
The track ‘I THINK’ makes a pretty interesting transition right after ‘EARFQUAKE’. The lo-fi production on the track obscures the transition and due to this, we can see the influence of Kanye West in the track. The track provides a major throwback to Kanye’s ‘Graduation’ album era. The instrumentals used in the track along with with some of the flows, the dance beats, and glistening synths are very uncanny to what Kanye’s music is popular for.
However, given the aesthetics, the narrative and the jazzy bridge from the second track of the album, it’s a very solid tune.
EXACTLY WHAT YOU RUN FROM YOU END UP CHASING
In this track, Tyler presents the funky song along with the instrumentals that feel a little distorted and squeaky. The overall message that Tyler is trying to present in the song is vaguely true. The interlude on the beginning of the album plays the title of the track and provides the hidden meaning behind the track.
RUNNING OUT OF TIME
This track is not really a bad track. However, it is easily the weakest of the more mellow and soulful cuts on the first-leg of the album IGOR. The intro of this song draws on a bit long. However, it is still an important and necessary moment for the album due to its swirling, cascading synth-arpeggios and lush instrumental bridge. The song has a super cold-blooded ending, which in my opinion is pretty cool.
NEW MAGIC WAND
‘NEW MAGIC WAND’ is the first touch of real emotional darkness on the album. The dark tonality of the track is forecasted by the instrumental’s sinister electric-piano and the skittery metallic bits of percussion in the instrumental that sound like spoons being hit onto dinner plates. The song contains the distant horror-movie synths, the growling distorted bass, of which there is quite a bit of on this entire album.
Tyler’s lyrics on this track seem to be coming from more of a place of extreme jealousy, violent psychosis, and desperation. There is a love triangle angle presented in this track where Tyler essentially feels like he is competing with significant other’s ex-girlfriend for attention and for love. He feels genuinely mad on this track and goes as far as to say he needs to “get her out of the picture”.
A BOY IS A GUN*
This track is another stroke of genius in the track-list which is obviously Kanye inspired. The glamorous groove, the pitched vocal samples as well as some of the refrains on this track sound exactly something that would have landed on Kanye’s earliest records. The lyrics in the song continue to expose why exactly the relationship is bad for both Tyler and his significant other.
However, the tone of the previous track changes on the track ‘PUPPET’. In this track, Tyler feels like he is being controlled by his addiction and his affection for the other person. Tyler seems to be bending over backward doing everything he can to keep this person’s affection. The song eventually turns cinematic, with an instrumental shift presenting the marching snares, sparse twinkling melodies, and dusty strings.
The track ‘WHAT’S GOOD’ is easily the hardest and most aggressive cut on the entire record. Even though Tyler references the car accident he was in last year, he still seems to be on the IGOR character. The song has a fierce delivery, a fierce flow, bold noisy beat and truly evil attitude on this track. The tune on this track is braggadocious and self-affirming which is pivotal to the evolution of the relationship of the characters in the record.
GONE, GONE/ THANK YOU
IGOR shows the light in the current relationship and in the way the album is oriented around in the track ‘GONE, GONE’. The track has a very bright and summery tune with the instrumentals that are trying to symbolize the euphoric bliss of breaking off a bad relationship. There is very little on this track in terms of feelings of regret.
The song progresses to another part of the track, ‘THANK YOU’. Tyler is essentially trying to say he doesn’t need this relationship anymore but he is proud of the fact that this relationship has taught him the way to deal with heartbreaks. In the track, he dives into the divergent blueprint of their relationship in the midst of a genius set of bars that reference buildings and architecture.
I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE
This track sounds so small in terms of instrumental flow and vocal delivery. However, the track is throwing a temper-tantrum emotionally. He’s stomping around and he is saying “I don’t love you anymore”. It’s hard to confirm if this is his actual feelings at the current state or if he’s just saying this to convince that this is what he wants to feel.
Going deeper into the lyrics, the lyrics reveal emotions of wanting to move on but not necessarily knowing how. The instrumental on this track is dark, moody, painful and depressed.
ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?
The track ‘ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?’ concludes this emotional mess of the project in the best way possible. The song brings back the hokey soul-singer vibe of the first leg of the album. But it goes even harder in that respect with Tyler’s voice just spotlit on a stage in front of backing bass and guitar. The track builds up to this vocal freakout which is pretty amazing.
However, the track is actually amazing when you consider that it is the climax of what Tyler is essentially doing to contribute to his own one-man play in the record. The track-wise review of the album IGOR by Tyler, the Creator ends with ‘ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?’.
Let’s analyze the track review of the album, IGOR, by Tyler, the Creator.
The album ‘IGOR’ presents us the brand new Tyler as well. Like a few of Tyler’s previous projects, IGOR sees the hip-hop’s antihero embracing a new character, a new narrative, and a new style. However, IGOR is more than just another persona, it is also a vehicle for Tyler to express his heartbreak, explore more singing and tuneful coherent songwriting.
‘Flower Boy’ definitely set a path for Tyler to gravitate towards these well-introspected mixes between hip-hop and soul for his new project ‘IGOR’. However, some of his longtime fans had been expecting true blue hip-hop experience in his new project. Sadly, the instrumentals on IGOR embrace even more soul and even more RnB.
Despite the album being even more soul an even more RnB, there are some points in the album where Tyler actually raps. He made sure to work on a few bangers such as ‘NEW MAGIC WAND’ and ‘WHAT’S GOOD’ as exceptions more than the rules. Most of the tracks in this album fit into more of a soul categorization. Some of the instrumentations used in the tracks such as ‘A BOY’S A GUN*’, ‘ARE WE STILL FRIENDS’ and ‘EARFQUAKE’ go back to ’60s and 70’s soul music.
The overall album is a weird vibe. Tyler embracing these new sounds feels like a combination of several different things. The tone of the instrumentation, the kind of messy production and the singing on the album leaves me feeling like I’m hearing Tyler be a little tongue-in-cheek. However, given the narrative of the tracks, it feels like Tyler is trying to express some genuine feelings here.
The textures and timbres in the instrumentation are great too, but it’s a decidedly rough presentation. But even though some of Tyler’s lack-luster production have rubbed me in a wrong way. However, with IGOR, it feels like the album is coming from a place of skill. Essentially, IGOR is the difference between making a sub-par recording because you can’t’ make anything else other than a sub-par recording and going back to embrace the more flawed, gruff and raw aesthetic after gaining the ability to make something clean and as well crafted as ‘Flower Boy’.
IGOR is almost post-punk in a way. Tyler’s ability to subvert and mutate the smooth, jazzy and sweet sounds of soul and RnB throughout multiple tracks on IGOR. It’s also worth mentioning that the album is painfully obvious of the fact that the work of Pharell has been hugely influential to the instrumental front of the record as well. However, given Tyler’s history, it is no surprise since he’s been an unapologetic fan of Pharell for a long time.
I have multiple opinions to lay the conclusion of the review for the album IGOR by Tyler, the creator.
The world that Tyler presents in IGOR is vivid, seamless and immersive. As far as the run-time goes, IGOR has an impeccable flow. There is really no excuse until the last track is over even if the narrative of the album doesn’t follow the obvious progression of the tracks.
On IGOR’s earliest moments, the tracks in the album are desperately trying to fix a destroyed relationship, where Tyler essentially begs his romantic-interest not to leave him. As the album progresses, we get different flavors of romantic toxicity that are illustrating why the relationship has been crumbling in the first place.
When the album revelates to the track ‘I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE’, things essentially reach a dead end. The album then progresses to a moment of finality after the dead end revelation in the track ‘ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?’. The album seems a little stuck in the middle of a continuous tumble cycle like a volatile relationship itself and when the relationship is finally over, we are busy to decipher what exactly went wrong so as to prevent it in the future.
I do have a few issues with the album though. There are a few tracks where I feel the structure and the development of the song could be better. Tyler is wearing his influences on his sleeves very obviously throughout this record to the point where it can be slightly distracting. Even though I like the lo-fi aesthetics in the record, there are points wherein the long run of the track-list, it does feel like it dampens the overall auditory experience.
I give ‘IGOR’ by Tyler, the Creator a light 09/10 in the Album Review category. IGOR is an album that leaves the listener with quite a few loose ends and unresolved feelings, but still, it’s a very satisfying and cathartic project.
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