Back in 2016 when Tyler, The Creator’s album Flower Boy was released it was a marvel to look back and see how far he’s matured over the years. Now two years later with his new album IGOR, Tyler has moved even farther past his provocateur roots. IGOR is a lush environment inhabited by layered synths and beautiful chords. Every song features amazing instrumentation from the arpeggiated synths of I THINK to the soft guitars of GONE, GONE/ THANK YOU, that consistently make the songs even more inviting and enveloping. IGOR features some great collaborators including Lil Uzi, Playboi Carti, Kanye, Charlie Wilson, Pharrell, Jack White, and Solange. While most of these artists don’t contribute the most apparent feature they all play integral parts to developing the sound of the project.
IGOR is a concept album where Tyler tells the story of how Igor falls in loves and then proceeds to fall out of it. Igor is obviously a pseudonym for Tyler, who has for so long played this violent and dark character on his earlier albums like Goblin and Bastard. From love-sick on EARFQUAKE to desperation on NEW MAGIC WAND to acceptance on the second half of GONE, GONE/ THANK YOU, while this isn’t Tyler’s first album to follow a narrative it is obviously the tightest and most founded.
IGOR is not your average rap album, in fact, it features very little rapping at all and overall feels more like a neo-soul project with a pop influence. While IGOR is greatly influenced by pop music this doesn’t mean that the songs feature normal pop tropes. The most evident is the non-conventional song structure that appears in all of the songs. These unconventional structures help to create some really fun moments from longer instrumental detours on the songs ARE WE STILL FRIENDS? and I THINK.
The only song that I feel doesn’t add much to the track list is EXACTLY WHAT YOU RUN FROM YOU END UP CHASING, which features Jerrod Carmicheal saying a short line in a deadpan tone. While I’m not against the vocal passages that pepper the record, I can’t help but feel like a stand-alone track was needed. But I suggest that this was done to allow Tyler’s two-part track ten staples to continue and traditional that has been present since Wolf.
Personally, I knew that I loved this album as soon as I had finished my first listen through mainly evident by the large smile that stayed on my face in the minutes following. Secondly as soon as I finished the album I wish I could have gone back and listened it to again for the first time. Tyler recently said that he just wants to make pop-music and get his songs on the radio. While its to early to say if any of these songs are radio hits, I do know that this album is a major accomplishment in my book.
Favorite Songs: EARFQUAKE, NEW MAGIC WAND, A BOY IS A GUN, PUPPET, GONE, GONE/THANK YOU, ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?
Least Favorite Song: EXACTLY WHAT YOU RUN FROM YOU END UP CHASING