Here it is. I finally got around to listening to the whole thing, and reviewing it.
Tyler, the Creator’s sixth studio album, IGOR, is a deeply conceptualized expression of falling in love. The album effortlessly conveys feelings of love, anger, and acceptance, and wraps it up in a nice, pink package. Coming off the success of Flower Boy, the album maintains some of the same musical nuances from that album, while introducing a whole new sound that is filled with crunchy 808s and intricate synth work. I honestly can’t think of many albums that are able to replicate the narrative aspect of IGOR.
The album begins with IGOR’S THEME, which begins with a Yeezus-style 808 that is unaccompanied by nothing, until the percussion comes in, introducing the Lil Uzi Vert feature. The feature is the start of something weird, which is Tyler’s fascination with voice modulation. He pitches up the Uzi feature to the point where it is almost impossible to identify the feature. The song mainly serves as an intro to the album’s sound, but doesn’t really introduce any thematic elements.
EARFQUAKE finally introduces Tyler’s love interest, claiming that they make his “earf quake.” We get a great vocal feature from Charlie Wilson and a, well, interesting feature from Playboi Carti. Thanks to the kind folks at Genius, we understand one of the most unintelligible verses from a musical artist, but it all plays into the central theme of the song. It combines styles from Cherry Bomb and Flower Boy while adding a pinch of the new stuff to make it one of the strongest songs on the album.
I THINK shows Tyler falling in love, accompanied by Solange and a deep, pulsing beat that wouldn’t be out of place on a Kanye project. The instrumental is truly the best part of the song, and the “bridge” is one of the best musical moments of the album in my opinion.
The next track is a transitional piece, EXACTLY WHAT YOU RUN FROM YOU END UP CHASING, and it’s simply a spoken word by Jerrod Carmichael. The next track, RUNNING OUT OF TIME shows the relationship that’s been established eroding, and how Tyler is “running out of time to make [his love interest] love [him].” Tyler sings heavily on this track, continuing the absence of a full-on rap verse.
But that soon ends with the suddenly angry NEW MAGIC WAND. Tyler raps about going to great lengths to get to his love interest, which could even mean killing both his love interest and his love interest’s ex, evidenced by the line, “She’s gonna be dead, I just got a magic wand,” with the “magic wand” representing a gun.
Tyler goes full Kanye in A BOY IS A GUN*, flipping the same sample West used in Bound 2. We finally see Tyler slowly coming to terms that he is not going to win over his love interest, and concludes with a “stay away from me” near the end. The beat is so well produced and interlaces extremely well with Tyler’s voice.
The next track, PUPPET, brings Kanye as a feature, and deals with Tyler still being under the influence of his lover. His every move is basically dictated by them, and he can’t allow himself to pull away like he wanted to on the last track. Production-wise, it’s a very interesting mix of synths, and eventually he adds an ambulance siren, of all things, near the end of the track.
WHAT’S GOOD is another aggressive cut that enlists upcoming UK rapper slowthai. The song has little to do with the story that’s been written so far, but it’s energy makes it a great song to listen to. It’s unclear what is meant by slowthai’s “I see the light.” Maybe it fits thematically, maybe it doesn’t. We may never know.
GONE, GONE/THANK YOU follows Tyler’s formula of making all of his tenth tracks multi-part songs. Everybody’s vocals are pitched way up in this one, even CeeLo Green on the chorus. This is a beautiful song filled with great moments, and Tyler is officially over his lover. He says thanks for all of the good times, but basically signs off from the relationship.
I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE kind of negates the last track by showing that Tyler is still hurt by the rejection of A BOY IS A GUN*. He is basically lying to himself on the track to make himself feel better but in reality, he is so bummed out by the failure of his relationship.
ARE WE STILL FRIENDS? is a crooning, guitar-filled outro to a great album. Tyler is playing with the idea of being friends with his lover after their relationship didn’t work out. The guitar solo is deeply reminiscent of Mike Dean’s on Devil in a New Dress.
I was floored by the quality of musical and lyrical content on IGOR. The storytelling and musical emotions that go along with it are unmatched. This is definitely one of the best albums of the year, if not of the decade.