Tyler, the Creator
IGOR


3.9
excellent

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
May 21st, 2019 | 303 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: a monster 'bout to come alive again

I kind of hoped something like this was coming. When "Enjoy Right Now, Today" closed out Flower Boy, when Tyler spent the second half of 2018 dropping Cherry Bomb instrumental tracks, especially when I heard the gorgeous all-sung loosie "QUARTZ". But I was still surprised as IGOR spun to a close: Tyler, the Creator finally made his Donuts.

IGOR is, of course, not a beat tape in the same vein as J Dilla's classic. But there's something in Tyler's newest that echoes that minimalist, looping, eyes-to-the-sky aesthetic, most notably "A BOY IS A GUN", which I'll get to in a second. Some of IGOR feels like an extension of Flower Boy's poppier cuts; "WHAT'S GOOD" and "NEW MAGIC WAND" are much superior retries of Cherry Bomb's industrial distortion-rap; mostly, it's not a rap album at all. Tyler has stripped away all the signifiers of his sound and aesthetic that even the bold reinvention of Flower Boy still fell back on, namely the double music video for the first single, features from Frank Ocean or Syd, and self-referential callbacks to his earlier work like Flower Boy's kinda cute defenses of Cherry Bomb. (Okay, IGOR has one, a sneaky "the irony is I don't wanna see you again", and it's such a sad and defeated moment that focusing on the callback to a song that was as bright and life-affirming as it gets feels like missing the point).

Somewhat regrettably, Tyler's new vision means still no Earl Sweatshirt or Vince Staples, even on an album whose twisted and distorted minimalism sometimes feels tailormade for a verse from them. But it's hard to begrudge this when IGOR deploys features almost as brilliantly as the revolving door of internal and external voices that made up Blond(e). Playboi Carti shows up early here, and dominates "EARFQUAKE" as the only really clear feature. From there on everyone is subsumed into Tyler's murky vision, from a ghostly Kanye barely making a ripple on "PUPPET" to Pharrell distorted and heat-hazed on the closing song. It's not bad mixing or lazy craftsmanship; actually, listen through a good pair of headphones and this is sonically one of the best albums of the past few years. "WHAT'S GOOD" is like "I'm In It" filtered through the horrorcore of Tyler's roots, while cuts like "I THINK" and "GONE, GONE" introduce an indie psychedelia bent that's entirely unique to his work, the latter a psych-folk type thing with a multi-layered falsetto chorus that somehow sounds like Brian Wilson working with BROCKHAMPTON. Best of all is "A BOY IS A GUN", a choppy soul throbber with echoes of "Bound 2", probably due to the samples coming from the same song. But where Kanye's song interrupted itself every few seconds to beat you over the head with the sample, "A BOY IS A GUN" is more reminiscent of the Tyler-produced "Bound 1" with its pre-Rick Rubin simplicity, and paired with a devastating emotionality comes out as one of Tyler's finest ever cuts.

Then of course there's the vocals from the man himself. On Flower Boy, the singing was restrained and occasionally lovely, as on the quiet confessions that start "See You Again" or that split second of Tyler alone on "Boredom" before he asks for an assist with the harmonies - the wild off-key wailing in "Glitter" was more the exception than the rule. But it's "Glitter" which provides the standard across IGOR, with essentially no clear or undoctored vocals at all. His voice is mangled and stretched in every direction, forming the monster the album title suggests he's created, whether it's the 'motherfucking goblin' growls in "WHAT'S GOOD" or hard-to-listen-to wailed pleas to Tyler's departed partner. "Don't leave, it's my fault" is an early striker, the polar opposite to "Boredom" and "911 / Mr. Lonely"'s sometimes wordy definitions of loneliness; most affectingly for fans in the "Glitter"/"ROSE TINTED CHEEKS" camp, a quiet "I found peace in drowning / please don't save me" which provides a desolate album centrepiece.

IGOR is not by any means Tyler's best work, and at times deliberately plays against his strengths in order to keep the listener off-guard - this pays dividends in the stunning "I THINK" and "A BOY IS A GUN", less so on the repetitive and cloying "RUNNING OUT OF TIME" and "ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?". What it is, though, is a form of ragged beat-tape minimalist that Tyler wears extremely well. No longer content to over-explain his angst and loneliness in verses (or before that, Em-style shlock humour), Tyler embeds it in the music itself, creating a 12-track song cycle with undeniable flow where the vocals act as a supporting instrument. It's the clarity of vision and production quality that called Donuts to my mind, but really IGOR is comparable to every instance good or bad where a rapper has stepped outside the box they made for themselves, from The Love Below to Yeezus to SATELLITE FLIGHT. In the end though, it's just a Tyler, the Creator album, maybe the dark side of Flower Boy, marinating in the comedown of that album's beautiful and ebullient feelings. There's a monster loose on IGOR, one that's surprising and dangerous in comparison to the tryhard darkness of his early career - where he goes from here is anybody's guess.



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user ratings (458)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Sean H. CONTRIBUTOR (2.5)
Feelings over structure....



Comments:Add a Comment 
Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
May 21st 2019


42022 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

that fuckin bridge on I THINK doe

Digging: Cave In - Final Transmission

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
May 21st 2019


2908 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Review reads so damn well, maybe you'll get a Tyler share too. Listening now. [:

Digging: Behaving - Behaving

spanndrew58
May 21st 2019


109 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is definitely growing on me.

guitarded_chuck
May 21st 2019


17892 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"Tyler, the Creator finally made his Donuts" lol



>reminders why i dont rly use this site anymore

guitarded_chuck
May 21st 2019


17892 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

rowan has finally made his sowing review

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
May 21st 2019


42022 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

that sounds like a compliment. also did you read past that quoted sentence, the third in the review? I ask this because there is more context to that comment which might help you understand where I was coming from.

SymbolicInTime
May 21st 2019


4435 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review for a great album

Digging: Korn - Life Is Peachy

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 21st 2019


31212 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Still not the 4.7 review this deserves, but wonderful writing nonetheless. Album is a goddamn masterpiece and I'm going to crusade for this thing to make the staff year-end list.

Digging: Bad Books - III

WatchItExplode
May 21st 2019


6780 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's nice to see Tyler maturing. I don't think he's quite reached his potential but he's certainly on to something here.

Smithsonian
May 21st 2019


112 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I love this so much. New Magic Wand is one of the best songs I've heard all year.

AaroN911
May 21st 2019


2479 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

finished I THINK as I was reading this, such a great album and I am starting to worry it might take FB as my fav as I continue to listen to it... only time will tell!

Digging: Mol - JORD

MH18
May 21st 2019


449 Comments


How does EXACTLY WHAT YOU RUN ... only have 1.2k plays on Spotify when the surrounding tracks have 8mln and 7mln, respectively? Does nobody listen to the album front to back?

JayEnder
May 21st 2019


4278 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

What's Good and New Magic Wand are still my favs. Love his "horrorcore" cuts.



Really insightful review Rowan.

Digging: State Faults - Clairvoyant

Sinternet
May 21st 2019


19677 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

spotify is shit at deciphering plays for soungs under 30 seconds thats why

JayEnder
May 21st 2019


4278 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

spotify is shit



All you needed to say Sin. I still use it but wtf have they done to the interface? It's atrocious now.

MH18
May 21st 2019


449 Comments


''spotify is shit at deciphering plays for soungs under 30 seconds thats why''

Makes sense, just checked the song plays for Violence, Violence by Ceremony and confirmed this is true

Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
May 21st 2019


2752 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Great review, friend

Digging: Fetid - Steeping Corporeal Mess

Gyromania
May 21st 2019


27565 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah tops review Rowan. I'm mostly in agreement with you on this.

Digging: black midi - Schlagenheim

SymbolicInTime
May 21st 2019


4435 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Jay what different with the interface? Strictly mobile user here, but it’s been the same on my iPhone for pretty much as long as I can remember

JayEnder
May 21st 2019


4278 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Might sound dumb but It's a bunch of little stuff that bothers the OCD in me lmao. Track name and band names aren't centered anymore, they're placed to the left (for some fucking reason) you can't open album art anymore, and idk it's just genuinely terrible looking now and seems harder to navigate.



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