Review Summary: All we've ever wanted.
Before I ever listened to his music, I viewed Tyler, The Creator as this abrasive, loud-mouth character who ripped into everything and anything, but used ‘fag’ perhaps a little too often. After having listened to him in the last few months, my thoughts haven’t changed, however I have far more respect for both the man and the music. All his releases, however expletive filled, conveyed a seemingly emotional teenager who just hit it big and still can’t find happiness. Even his biggest hit ‘Yonkers’ was dripping in metaphors and the back and forth of the dark Wolf Haley character he developed over several tracks. But something was always missing. Albums tended to be too long, songs drifted in and out of styles too frequently. And so, with the release of both ‘Who Dat Boy’ and ‘911/Mr. Lonely’, things were looking on the up and up.
And it’s so much better than I could have ever expected.
What makes Scum Fuck Flower Boy
so fantastic is perfectly conveyed in its title; Tyler is still conflicted with his position, his purpose in life. The album is far more personal and introspective than his previous efforts, and showcases it through tighter song writing and more focused production. Opener ‘Foreword’ mixes the ideas of both his dealings with his own sexuality and its effect on his fame. The song is far more reserved than what is expected of Tyler, with some slight guitar chords lulling in the background as the song takes a more electronic turn further into the track. The subtle implementation of electronic elements in the album, in conjunction with a more repressed overall sound, provides more room for Tyler to work as a vocalist, and when he hits, he hits hard. The genuinely sinister beat that accompanies ‘Who Dat Boy’ works incredibly well into both Tyler and Rocky, particularly at the end of the song as the beat slows right down and Tyler flows freely into line after line. Further along, and although the album is far more low-key, ‘I Ain’t Got Time’ still bangs hard, and its heavy bass beat mixed with the stop-start electronic touches brings across another fantastic dark vibe.
What’s most enticing about …Flower Boy
, however, is in what Tyler doesn’t say. When he does flow, he flows better than he ever has, but never says more than he needs to say. Songs like ‘Garden Shed’ and ‘Boredom’ are developed well before Tyler comes in, and allows for his verses to fit perfectly into the breaks between choruses. ‘Garden Shed’, perhaps Tyler’s biggest statement in regards to his sexuality, is a slow, methodical track that wouldn’t sound out of place on Awaken, My Love!
. Tyler raps hard and fast on the backend of the track, but the beat remains repressed, allowing his bars to sink in rather than float on the surface, as does ‘Boredom’, even if it does tend to drag on ever so slightly towards the end. The album overall is gladly given this treatment and is far better for it. And even when Tyler is given the floor, particularly on tracks such as ‘November’ and ‘911/Mr. Lonely’, it feels far more complete. ‘November’ paints a beautiful picture of ‘better times’, and deals with the effects both his personal life and persona have on his life. As the song winds down, Tyler repeats ‘take me back’ in a genuinely pained voice, sounding like it was all for nothing. This thought is echoed in the end of ‘911’ as Tyler goes through the motions of faking happiness. Although a common theme throughout the album, both songs standout as both great tracks but also as a perfect combination of the sound the album has developed up until that point, although perhaps considerably less sinister in production compared to ‘Who Dat Boy’. And as the instrumental closer ‘Enjoy Right Now, Today’ brings the album to a sunny close, it’s hard not to follow the title’s advice.
Scum Fuck Flower Boy
is everything we’ve ever wanted from a Tyler record and then some. The album cuts the fat, maintains its focus, and provides one of the most intricate and personal records of his career, all the while still providing the introspective writing that made him such a big hit. The fourteen tracks are littered with small details both in production and song-writing that enable it to work as a well-presented package, rather than the disjointed mess many of previous albums came to be. Although Tyler still tends to drag songs on past their welcome, the overall flow of the album doesn’t take a hit for it, and if anything, this is a new Tyler, finally coming to terms with the world and, most importantly, himself. It’s just a joy to be there for when it happens.
Seek Out: Who Dat Boy, Garden Shed, I Ain’t Got Time, 911/Mr. Lonely, November
Avoid: Droppin’ Seeds