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  • Fred Smith

Tyler, The Creator - IGOR

Updated: Apr 30

‘IGOR’ is Tyler, The Creator’s fifth studio album. It is his first executively produced solely by himself. The album sees him take on the alternate personality, Igor who takes the listener on the emotional journey through a relationship and a breakup. Released on May 17, 2019 it showed further development in Tyler’s style and personality. It received mixed reception due to its large variation from older projects such as Goblin, Wolf and Cherry Bomb but also received high praise.

IGOR’S THEME – acts as in introduction to the album and Igor. Starts with a deep, lone note which lasts 24 seconds before the beat kicks in. The high-pitched lyrics suggest the listener is going to feel something which the deep note emphasizes through its vibrating bass. The vocals from Tyler, Lil Uzi Vert and Solange, combined with the bass and melody work up a dream-like mind-state to prepare the listener for the album. Tyler stated before the album came out that he wanted fans to go in with an open mind and I think the song achieves that very well.

EARFQUAKE – as IGOR’S THEME set the tone, EARFQAUKE does a better job of setting the theme – love. There’s a tone of desperation throughout the song and refrain as Tyler begs his love interest to stay. The verse from Playboi Carti is difficult to understand but it only adds to this tone, it sounds emotional, almost as if he’s crying as the love he has is beyond words. Tyler’s verse takes on a similar sound, its flat, sounding as if he’s afraid of the person leaving.

I THINK – this track feels heavily influenced by Kanye West. Its low, fading bass and beat take obvious inspiration from Kanye. The vocals from Tyler at points seem flat again as if he’s adding to the bass. The repetition of skate throughout shows his love for this person is as strong as his love for his greatest passions such as skateboarding.

RUNNING OUT OF TIME – the desperate tone is very obvious on this track. Uses pitch very well to convey emotion, making himself sound like a desperate child. The instrumental between the bridge and the second verse is a particular high point on this track. The second verse is also very good.

NEW MAGIC WAND – sudden switch to a more aggressive beat to represent Tyler’s anger towards his love interest’s ex. The track still shows the desperation when Igor addresses his interest. In the fourth verse Tyler returns to a more aggressive flow, pitched up to show that he’s still emotional about the situation.

A BOY IS A GUN* - this track also sounds heavily influenced by Kanye. Tyler seems to be realising that the relationship that he’s in is becoming toxic and loses the desperation for the most part. The title could be a hint at Tyler’s sexuality, which is commonly debated by fans but he has never confirmed. The vocals on this track are very good especially the “started with a mere hello” in the background. These really point out Tyler’s development as an artist because after listening to his older music, not many would believe that the grungy rapper on Goblin could produce the vocals on this track.

PUPPET – after all the Kanye influence on this album, he has a small feature on this track. Despite the message at the end of the last track where he demands his interest to “Stay the fuck away from me,” Tyler moves back to the desperate tone. There’s also the added emotion of regret on this track, as if he’s submitting to this person. The high-pitched vocals return as well to help emphasize these emotions. Kanye’s verse and vocals sympathise with these emotions as Kanye has felt his fair share of heartbreak, making this short feature a powerful one.

WHAT’S GOOD – PUPPET ended with the line “but at some point, you come to your senses” which sets this song up. It returns to the more aggressive flow and beat as Tyler seems to lose control of his emotions, producing some of the best rapping on the album. Slowthai’s cryptic and aggressive “I see the light” sets up the last verses which are even more aggressive than the ones before. The production on the song is also some of the best on the album.

GONE, GONE/THANK YOU – WHAT’S GOOD ends with “I don’t know what’s harder, letting go or just being ok with it” to set up this track. Continues Tyler’s tradition since Wolf to have the tenth track on an album to be multiple songs. Seems like Tyler has hit rock bottom in terms of his emotional state on this track. The high pitch vocals from Tyler and Cee Lo Green are some of the best on the album. Over the track it seems Tyler is coming to terms with the heartbreak and is accepting that he’ll never love again. The rapped verse has incredible flow and is one of my personal favourites from any Tyler track. THANK YOU confirms that Tyler is really trying to move on, saying what seems like a final goodbye to this person.

I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE – the first verse sounds like a phone call to the love interest as he still can’t really seem to get over this person as he asks for his heart back in the second verse. The “I don’t love you anymore” don’t really sound sincere as Tyler repeatedly contradicts himself on this track.

ARE WE STILL FRIENDS? – the final track on the album has a feature from another clear influence for the album, Pharrell Williams. Tyler desperately looks for a solution to keep his love interest in his life on this track. The high pitch vocals aren’t used but the singing is just as good. The vocals from Pharrell are also very good.

Overall Thoughts – sonically, IGOR is Tyler’s best. Production is brilliant throughout the whole album, especially as it was solely produced by Tyler, who was doing it by himself for the first time. It hasn’t been confirmed on whether Tyler was actually in this relationship, but the content seems to come straight from the heart which adds to the quality of the rapping and vocals. All the tracks segue into each other which really makes it sound like he’s telling a story on the album. Every feature was perfect and couldn’t have been chosen better in my opinion. Despite its clear influence from other artists, all the songs remain original. The tracks fit perfectly into Tyler’s current style, which is constantly developing, but he can definitely adapt to multiple situations. There are a few rough points with the production, for example on ‘I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE’, the beat sounds rough at points, but this is expected from a Tyler album.

Favourite Track (if I had to choose) – GONE, GONE/THANK YOU

Great Tracks – ALL OF THEM

Rating – 9.4

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©2020 by Fred Smith Music Reviews.