Tyler, the Creator – IGOR Review

Tyler, the Creator’s progression as a musician, designer, public figure, and human being has been one of the most dramatic ever seen in a popular figure. From his days of infamy in his early career all the way up to his latest albums, watching Tyler’s evolution seems like something almost movie-worthy. Now, all eyes are on him as his newest project drops to see if he continues on his current trend of colorful, soul and R&B inspired ballads as seen on Flower Boy (2017), or if he’ll revisit his grittier, brooding style that initially made him (in)famous, as he’s shown off on Bastard (2009) or Goblin (2011).

What gets Tyler’s fans especially hyped for each project is more than simple eagerness to hear what new sounds he concocts next, but the frequency at which he releases albums (every two years or so) keeps people waiting and eager. For many, Flower Boy is still fresh in the minds of many that listened and isn’t entirely absent of replay value yet, helping those with a keen ear to draw comparisons between the two projects to better gauge what direction Tyler has decided to take with his music. However, the albums don’t drop fast enough for most listeners to become bored of him. This tells us nothing of how or what Tyler has delivered to us in terms of quality. So, did Tyler, the Creator’s IGOR sink or swim among his fabled discography?

One disclaimer should be made: If you’re looking for another Goblin or Bastard, you won’t find what you’re looking for on IGOR. In fact, Tyler himself made a post on Twitter and Instagram with some words regarding the album a day or so before its release:

“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. Pronouced EEE-GORE. Don’t go into this expecting a rap album. Don’t go into this expecting an album. 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 chcking [sic] 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. Whatever it is you choose, fully indulge. With Volume. 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 tho I’m not tryna have an Oprah episode.
Stank you smelly mucho.”

So, the old fans will have to wait. Some may see this as him neglecting those who originally made him famous. Others see it as character development, that he’s not there to please, but to make art on his own terms. An argument could certainly be made in either direction. But if IGOR isn’t another Bastard, Goblin, Wolf, Cherry Bomb, or Flower Boy, then what is it?

Well, it’s IGOR.

Arguably Tyler’s longest leap in style between albums, Tyler wasn’t lying when he said that this isn’t a rap album: IGOR is an album filled to the brim colorful beats, pianos, horns, and synths that originally came to the forefront on Tyler’s music in Cherry Bomb and more notably Flower Boy. Tyler also seems much more comfortable with letting out his singing voice, to the point where the record effectively falls into an entirely different genre from his previous work. His voice is also assisted by an equally colorful armada of voices from the R&B and Soul scene, notably CeeLo Green, Dev Hynes (Blood Orange), and Solange. Other notable names involved with the project who’ve appeared alongside Tyler before include Kanye West, Playboi Carti, and Lil Uzi Vert, who helped write the intro to the album.

As stated, Tyler’s singing voice captivates time and time again on the album, notably on the tracks “RUNNING OUT OF TIME”, “NEW MAGIC WAND”, “A BOY IS A GUN”, and “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?” While Tyler has flexed his vocal muscles on previous works alongside others, (notably on 9/11 featuring Frank Ocean off of Flower Boy) his willingness to now go at it alone paid off wondrously. With all this being said, the album isn’t entirely absent of Tyler’s rapping. If that’s what you’re looking for, check out “WHAT’S GOOD”, “PUPPET”, and “NEW MAGIC WAND”, which blends his news and olds into one track. Some highlights of the album are “EARFQUAKE (ft. Playboi Carti)” and “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?”, featuring some of Tyler’s most dramatic, stadium-sized instrumentals and lyrics in his whole discography.

One can’t help but wonder what Tyler has in store next for us, whether this new style of his is here to stay or if he finds that its time to revisit his roots. Nonetheless, Tyler, the Creator’s IGOR is most certainly a must listen for fans of his and newcomers alike.