“IGOR” is Tyler, the Creator’s Best Album Yet

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“IGOR” is Tyler, the Creator’s Best Album Yet

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Rapper, fashion designer, music producer, and songwriter, Tyler, the Creator released his album Flower Boy in July of 2017. The album was pleasantly received by Tyler fans and music critics, alike. And ever since Flower Boy was released, people looked forward to see what project Tyler would create next.

The answer about Tyler’s future came in May of 2019, when he announced the release of his sixth full album to date, IGOR; He released two snippets of new songs, which we now know are “A Boy is a Gun” and “New Magic Wand.” The whole album was released on May 17.

The night of the album’s release, Tyler released a statement (which is originally in all capital letters) regarding IGOR and what he would like people to keep in mind while listening to it.

IGOR. This is not Bastard. This is not Goblin. This is not Wolf. This is not Cherry Bomb. This is not Flower Boy. This is IGOR. Pronounced eee-gore. Don’t go into this expecting a rap album. Don’t go into this expecting any album.”

Tyler continued, explaining how he wants the album to be listened to.

“Just go, jump into it. I believe the first listen works best all the way through, no skips. Front to back. No distractions either. No checking your phone, no watching TV, no holding convo, full [attention] towards the sounds where you can form your own opinions and feelings toward the album. Some go on walks, some drive, some lay in bed and sponge it all up.”

Tyler finished, “As much as I would like to paint a picture and tell you my favorite moments, I would rather you form your own. If we ever cross paths, feel free to articulate what those moments were for you, keep it timely [though] I’m not [trying to] have an Oprah episode. Stank you smelly mucho.”

I decided to follow Tyler’s instructions and listen to the album with no distractions, the minute it came out.

IGOR began with “Igor’s Theme.” Although the song may sound a bit bare by itself, I later found that it fits in perfectly in the context of the album as a whole. I was able to appreciate the track for its droning synth lines and soft vocals after I had listened to the album all the way through. It provided a perfect beginning to the album.

Next came “Earfquake.” The song took on a bit of a brighter tone than “Igor’s Theme” and featured more lyrics. Playboi Carti was also featured on the track, which I was very excited about. His verses were accompanied by a frankly beautiful piano backing.

Besides being very pleasant to listen to, “Earfquake” also contributes greatly to the album’s story as a whole. It features the album’s main subject (namely, Tyler) expressing his love for a romantic interest who he has evidently not treated very well. Tyler depends on his person so much that he begs them to stay, saying, “Don’t leave, it’s my fault / ‘Cause when it all comes crashing down I need you.”

The first time the listener clearly hears Tyler is at the end of “Earfquake,” but rather than rapping as he would usually do, he was singing. Tyler does not have a stereotypically “beautiful” voice, but his vocals were perfect in the song. His voice has a very earnest and unique quality that added more depth to the song and the story behind its lyrics.

“Earfquake” transitioned very nicely into the next track, “I Think,” which featured Solange.

“I Think” was by far one of my favorite songs on the album upon first listen, and I have only grown to love it more as time has gone on. I can tell that Tyler was heavily influenced by old-school disco when he wrote the song

“I Think” features Tyler questioning his love for his romantic interest, as well as his own sanity. Tyler continuously questions his partner’s actions towards him, asking, “What the [expletive] is your motive?” He also hints towards this person being increasingly manipulative towards him, saying, “I’m your puppet, you are Jim Henson” and “I notice that you’re there, but I’m always in your hair / And you’re always in my mind, maybe so.” But through it all, Tyler stays with this person, seemingly mistaking manipulation and cruel intentions for love.

Next came a small vocal snippet from Jared Carmichael, titled, “Exactly What You Run from You End Up Chasing.” The snippet led beautifully into “Running Out of Time,” which featured vocals by Jessy Wilson.

“Running Out of Time” features Tyler warning of a breakup with his significant other coming in the near future. Tyler continuously asks his partner to stop putting up a front, saying, “Take your mask off / I need her out the picture (Wade in your water) / … Halloween ain’t for a minute, lose the costume.” But despite his efforts to see his partner’s real character, he still feels like he’s running out of time to fix their relationship.

Next came “New Magic Wand.” This track was rougher and darker than the songs that came before it. In the track Tyler is desperate to save the relationship he has been struggling with throughout the whole album. His significant other is seemingly looking to go back to their ex-girlfriend. Tyler’s harsh feelings towards his lover’s ex are so intense that he threatens to permanently “get rid of her” in order to continue the relationship.

Tyler says, “She’s gonna be dead, I just got a magic wand (Don’t leave) / We can finally be together.” He continues to explain his fear that the relationship will end and he’ll be alone, saying, “Ayo, take one look in the mirror, implications so clear /I live life with no fear, except for the idea / That one day you won’t be here.”

“New Magic Wand” perfectly reflects the unhealthy, obsessive relationship documented in IGOR. Despite the track’s lyrical darkness, it was still surprisingly easy to listen to. I can already tell that the track will be extremely entertaining to listen to and watch when Tyler goes on tour later this year.

Next comes “A Boy is a Gun.” From the very first listen, I was in love with this track. I would describe the song’s lyrics and songs as extremely Kanye West-inspired. This is unsurprising though, considering the fact that Tyler samples “Bound” by the Ponderosa Twins, which West sampled in his song “Bound 2.”

The track features Tyler explaining how dangerous and manipulative his partner is, comparing his partner to a gun. Tyler knows that his partner is manipulative and questions why he continues to run back to this person. He says “How come you the best to me? I know you the worst for me / Boy, you sweet as sugar, diabetic to the first degree.”

However, Tyler’s feelings for the “boy” are still conflicted. His partner may be dangerous like a gun, but he explains “You’re a gun ’cause I like you on my side at all times.” But Tyler comes to his senses once again at the end of the song, begging his lover to “stay the [expletive] away from [him].”

“Puppet” follows “A Boy is a Gun,” which featured Kanye West. The song details, once again, the positive and negative aspects of Tyler’s relationship. He thinks of his partner as someone he can depend on, to the point that Tyler feels like he has no room to think for himself.

Tyler says, “You’re number one, one on my list, T, I am Santa / Where is Rudolph? You’re parasitic / I do not have self-control / I am startin’ to wonder / Is this my free will or yours?”

“Puppet” featured some of the best lyrics on IGOR, as well as some of the album’s catchiest tunes.

“What’s Good” followed “Puppet.”

“What’s Good” featured distorted, rough vocals and synths, as well as loud and heavy drums. It was one of the more aggressive tracks on IGOR, as well as one of my favorites on the album. Tyler’s flow was incredible and the lyrics of the track were extremely clever. Tyler continuously says, “I see the light.” This seemingly means that Tyler finally realized how toxic his relationship really was.

“Gone Gone / Thank You” came up next.

Tyler’s vocals in the “Gone Gone” portion of the track were altered in order to make his voice higher and more boy-like. This made the song sound more sweet and almost-adolescent. The chorus of the song was performed by CeeLo Green and, honestly, his voice was perfect for the song. Although the track featured Tyler talking about a breakup, the lyrics were surpringly cheerful. Tyler sings, “Whether it’s rain or shine, I know I’m fine for now / My love’s gone.”

Tyler’s rap verse leading up to the “Thank You” portion of the song was incredibly smooth and, frankly, perfect. The lyrics in this part of the track were still a bit cheerful, with Tyler continuously singing, “Thank you for the love / Thank you for the joy” to his ex; However, Tyler does explain that he “never [wants] to fall in love again” because of this breakup.

“Gone Gone / Thank You” led into “I Don’t Love You Anymore.” In this track, Tyler seems to be trying to convince his ex-partner and, evidently, himself that he is over his old relationship. Whether he actually is over it or not is unclear, but it is clear that Tyler is trying to move himself forward, rather than dwelling on the past.

Finally, IGOR ends with “Are We Still Friends?” The track featured one of Tyler’s lifelong influences, Pharrell Williams, as well as legendary musician, Jack White. It also had samples from Al Green’s “Dream.”

From the vocals, to the instrumentals, to the lyrics, to the sampling, the track is truly beautiful. The song is amazing on its own, but it also provides a perfect ending to the story Tyler told on IGOR, with Tyler leaving his romantic connection with his love interest behind in favor of a friendship.

The song managed to be extremely powerful and climactic, without being tacky or overly-emotional like many “ballads.” To be completely honest, the first time I heard “Are We Still Friends?”, I was blown away, so much so that I almost cried.

I knew right after listening to IGOR that I was in love with it. The production quality was amazing; The quality of the lyrics and music on the album was extremely impressive; And the story within the album was incredibly honest and real. Tyler really opened himself up and allowed himself to be extremely vulnerable, which I appreciated greatly.

I would argue that IGOR is Tyler, the Creator’s best album to date, earning a strong 10/10 for me.

I believe IGOR will be looked at as one of the best albums of the decade, which is a huge compliment, considering it’s already 2019. I look forward to seeing what Tyler comes up with next — it’s clear that he has a very bright future ahead of him.