Review Summary: Goblin is interesting, but doesn't go much farther than that.
On February 10th, 2011, Tyler The Creator was unleashed to the world. You see, this was the release of the music video for "Yonkers" which is Tyler’s second single (the first being "Sandwitches"). Now of course this isn't the first release by the Los Angeles rapper or his collective "Odd Future" who actually released a few mix-tapes (including Tyler’s own "Bastard" and the group effort "Radicals") since 2009. "Yonkers" was actually the turning point for Tyler commercially (to this day it has garnered over seventeen million views on YouTube) as the music video became known for it's extreme nature (Tyler eats a cockroach, hangs himself, and a few other ridiculous things). The hype that built around Goblin was enormous, and considering the strength of "Yonkers" many people pondered "Will Goblin live up to the hype?" Well, yes, and no.
One of the things Tyler is known for is his explicit content in his lyrics. Noting that from his 2009 release "Bastard" listeners had to endure countless songs about rape, murder and of course his father leaving him. One of the first major drawbacks of Goblin is Tyler tries constantly to dismiss every extreme claim he makes. On the opening title track Tyler announces that "alright you guys caught me/I’m not a ***ing rapist or serial killer/i lied" and on 'Radicals he informs us that "don't do anything you hear in this song/it's ***ing fiction alright?" but are all of these "random disclaimers" really all that necessary? And the answer is no, I mean who was really taking Tyler that seriously in the first place? One of the things that made Bastard so enjoyable was the fact that Tyler didn't take so much time to try and be cautious about what he said. Which is sad because all of these explanations really kill the rebellious nature of Goblin.
Aside from the disclaimers Tyler is actually brutally honest on most of the tracks on Goblin if you exempt all the rape and murder that takes place, which proves to be Tyler’s biggest strength and weakness. While some of his attempts at honesty are interesting (mostly his battle with his dad leaving him) it actually shows most of his flaws lyrically. Goblin stands at 73 minutes, which is way too long considering the content that Tyler likes to address over the present 15 tracks (18 if you have the deluxe edition). Tyler likes to address blog post about Odd Future, people that are offended by him and basically a bunch of things that no one really cares about except for Tyler himself. Tyler likes to put on this "I don't give a ***" persona but all of these statements seem to actually prove the exact opposite. So what's the point in addressing all of these things in the first place?
Even Tyler doesn't really seem to know. Most songs on Goblin prove to have almost no direction whatsoever. Take a track like "Radicals" which is one of the most angry and hard hitting songs on Goblin, is stretched way too long at seven minutes and eighteen seconds and is killed by an obnoxious beat. Speaking of beats, Goblin is lacking severely beat-wise. Most songs sound like they were first attempts at making beats. The percussion on most tracks is mostly clumsy ("Sandwitches") and the pitch changer on most tracks (think "Transylvania") is extremely obnoxious. Posse track "Window" is an interesting idea until you realize that most of the Odd Future members lack lyrically in comparison to Tyler (except for Frank Ocean, who delivers a decent verse) and suffer from clumsy flows.
Not to say that Goblin doesn't have any strong points. Frank Oceans singing contributions to "She" are a nice touch. "Yonkers" is Tyler at his most insane, and it's almost believable. "Nightmare" which is Goblins' strongest track contains a sort of spacey feel in the beat and has some of Tyler’s best attempts at being confessional. The biggest piece missing here on Goblin is another back and forth between Tyler and Earl Sweatshirt (which was the biggest asset to both "Bastard" and Earls self-titled release), but we all know this wasn't possible which is a huge disappointment. Ultimately Goblin is a few strong tracks muddled down by mostly filler material, which is a disappointment because Goblin is actually an interesting album, but it's not much more than that.