IGOR: Tyler the Creator Album Review
i can never just write a standard review about an artist that’s impacted me greatly. maybe one day i’ll be able to write the standard review. But not today.
i had turned thirteen when we picked up & moved across the country to missouri. Whenever my brother came to town, he had control of the aux cord. That summer, he introduced me to tyler the creator and kendrick lamar. he played “yonkers” and “she” from tyler’s debut album goblin, as well as the then-new single “domo23.” from the first bars, i was obsessed. you might be thinking these songs are a little harsh for a 13 year old to be listening to, but hey, sometimes the world is a little harsh. he later would play me earl sweatshirt and the iconic (or rather infamous now) “oldie” from the odd future tape vol. 2—both remain on my playlists to this day.
On my own, i embarked on a journey that climaxed at two moments. The first was when i snuck into my moms room after she fell asleep. Saturday night live played on the tv, and there, sitting on a chair in a supreme hockey jersey (i tried to buy one like it), frank ocean serenaded the audience with “thinking bout you.” the other moment was when tyler’s sophomore album, wolf, dropped. for my eighth grade graduation, i asked my dad—who was living in los angeles—to get me a hoodie from tyler’s golf store (then, odd future store). he got off the plane the day before my graduation and handed me a plastic bag with a blue hoodie dotted all over with the iconic “of” donut. on my last day of middle school, i worked that hoodie like nobody’s business.
i stopped writing this anthology to check my parents closet and see the hoodie is still there—it is!
when scum f*ck flower boy came out (i feel like people often forget that’s the actual name of the album) tyler finally got the attention he deserved from everyone, including my peers in middle & high school. tyler the creator is one of my biggest creative inspirations and role models—he does things his own way with no regard for the status quo. his clothing line, his music, his television shows, his music videos: they’re all unabashed and uncompromising.
when igor was announced i was elated, to say the least. Prior to the release, tyler worried on social media about how it would be accepted critically. One underlying theme and request emerged in each post: igor was meant to be heard all the way through.
so while folding towels and doing laundry at my summer job, i popped in my earbuds and did just that. my favorite tracks are “i think” and “what’s good.”
igor reminded me of his old stuff even before goblin. the production was an instant hit for me: rough yet meticulous, tousled yet ordered. Refreshingly, tyler’s singing voice was more prominent on igor, and compliments its production extremely well. this is an album that i can dance to with my friends for any occasion. just like how i could play goblin, wolf, and cherry bomb when i was angry or upset, there’s tracks on igor for that mood. Interestingly, i feel igor is an album that is universal to all my emotions. this album brought me back to being that 13 year old, discovering these unique beats and rhythm and opening up to a whole new musical perspective.
“a boy is a gun*” delivers a unique twist to the typical ballad style. the piano is absolutely beautiful and attention grabbing, even moreso when juxtaposed with gunshots in the background.
“new magic wand” delivers that “go crazy” anthem customary for a tyler album (see: “i aint got time” on flower boy). the live videos coming out already from the limited performances so far have been absolutely insane.
Much to my dismay, i’ve never seen tyler the creator live before. on the flower boy tour, i was a freshman in college and searched every corner of stubhub and facebook to get a ticket. no luck. i went into the venue as far as i could without a ticket. i bought a t-shirt and told the merch guy our whole situation—he let me listen from the empty merch room. this november, i’ll be taking a trip back home to los angeles to see my dad and attend tyler’s camp flog gnaw music festival. i’ll be meeting up with some friends i’ve made in a groupchat. we’re all fans of tyler, brockhampton, etc.
This year, one of my goals is to shoot a tyler the creator concert. i hope somehow this little story and review reaches him & he knows even more so the impact his career has had on all these millennial and gen z kids.
For now, listen to igor. tyler the creator’s first number 1 album and deservedly (if albeit belatedly) so.