Meet Tyler, the Creator, again
IGOR, Tyler, the Creator’s sixth full-length album, is his most refined, focused work to date. Written, produced and arranged by Tyler, the album presents itself as a culmination of all that he has learned throughout his career. The production utilizes many of the same tools we have seen in past projects. The rough, vintage aesthetic on all of the beats are familiar, but on IGOR, it feels more polished and intentional. Tyler explores new themes sonically while still making sure that his production is recognizably his own. Tyler reaches new ground vocally on IGOR as well. He sings more than he did on Flower Boy while still using the same pitched vocals and bare pianos that have become a part of his signature sound. Lyrically, IGOR is nothing like any of his other projects. The album is about a heart-wrenching breakup that has wholly consumed Tyler.
IGOR is a further departure from the gritty, edgy rap songs of his Odd Future days. Similar to some of Tyler’s Odd Future contemporaries, particularly Earl Sweatshirt, he wants to show that he has matured into something artistically more complex than the controversial dark raps he became popular for.
The opening track of the album, “IGOR’S THEME,” though a little too long, is a purposeful, hard-hitting anthem of synths, enticing drum patterns and subtle piano riffs. The track feels fresh and dramatic with its fluttering vocals, some of which come from Lil Uzi Vert, to contrast the deep synths and dark undertones of the track. The second song, “EARFQUAKE,” is a far more cheerful counterpart to the opener and features vocals from Tyler more prominently. The slightly out of key piano riffs and vocals are in classic Tyler fashion, and much of the song feels like it could have just as easily fit into his last album, Flower Boy. The song takes an unexpected turn with the baby-voiced Playboi Carti feature which fits the song surprisingly well. Playboi Carti’s verse is just one of many well-placed features on the album. All of the featured artists contribute to the aesthetic and mood of the album but always end up taking a back seat to Tyler’s vocals or production. The acute placement of featuring verses contributes to the focused, melancholy mood of the album.
“NEW MAGIC WAND,” is a turning point on the album. The skittering percussion and deeply distorted bass frame the track as Tyler turns a dark corner in his description of his crumbling relationship. Jealousy and anger become the focus as the sweet melodies and melancholic hooks fade away. You can genuinely feel Tyler’s desperation and anguish on this track. The concluding track, “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?” is a perfect ending to the album. On this song, Tyler returns to the soulful, RnB-inspired production and vocals that he used heavily on the first portion of the record. The ending of the song has a climax that peaks with Tyler groaning and screaming before returning briefly to a smooth soul groove to complete the song. On this track, Tyler displays the chaotic, confusing and painful reality that his relationship and separation has caused him. While the production on the song is occasionally messy, these moments often coincide with the mood of the lyrics and vocals, thus coming off as an artistic choice.
Building from the style and critical acclaim of Flower Boy, Tyler continues to push boundaries personally and creatively with little regard for his past self. All in all, IGOR is Tyler’s most cohesive project to date and will go down as a pivotal point in his career.