Following the pattern I should be doing a fairly older album but I had such a hard time finding one worth listening to, I resulted to doing IGOR. An album virtually timeless although it was released only last year, Tyler’s 5th album and without a doubt his best according to production and emotion. Earlier this year Tyler had won a Grammy for Best Rap Album which sparked a lot of controversy, anyone who listened to IGOR knows that this is not a Rap album, it’s more alternative if you want to group it but the fans know this album can not be grouped because it’s a one of a kind project. Depending on the person IGOR can be viewed as a concept album of a man named IGOR and his life trying to find love, this makes sense just based off of the lyrics within the tracks going in order from start to finish. This is one of my favorite albums of all time and for good reasons, this review should be fun because this album was released prior to the making of TMT. Let’s get into it!
“IGOR’S THEME”– This track starts off with a very in your face synth chord and lasts for about 25 seconds until we get an addition to the instrument with percussion. Lil Uzi Vert makes an appearance on this track but in all honesty I didn’t know it was him until after the release of the album and I didn’t know it was him because his vocals are pitched up, this is something that is done all throughout the album which is a key component to what makes it so great. All throughout the track we get such gorgeous sounds, pianos, other unique synths, aggressive base lines, interesting futuristic sounds, etc. truly a great opener and a testament to the new Tyler, The Creator we’re getting on IGOR.
“EARFQUAKE”– If only I knew just how popular this song would be when I first listened to it. Alrighty, the track starts off with some gorgeous piano playing while being layered with a very subtle synth chord and vocals that say “for real this time” up until the beat and actual song starts. Tyler has gone on record of saying that he doesn’t like his voice when he sings so what he did a lot on this album and a little on Flower Boy is pitching his voice up and down, this track is the perfect example of him using this technique to his advantage. The vocals are so perfectly pitched and the lyrics are genius and catchy, the feature from Playboi Carti was unexpectedly perfect for this track, I would like to say that this is where the whole “baby voice Carti” trend started because Carti raps with a high pitch voice and undistinguished lyrics but this is what makes his verse full of excitement and pure emotion. Tyler ends the track with him rapping in his actual voice which is preferred compared to the pitched up voice in my opinion. While all of this excellent music making is going on we are simultaneously getting gorgeous and soulful background vocals from Charlie Wilson, you can’t name a better song from 2019 or even a more perfectly structured and intricate song.
“I THINK”– This track is heavily influenced and inspired from 80s-90s synth pop music. You can clearly hear it in the music from the choice of synth, the dance style production, the female vocalist on the background vocals, and the way Tyler flows and carries himself over the instrumental. This is a total left turn from what we’ve gotten in the past with Tyler’s music but it’s a good and experimental left turn, we get a little change in production around the halfway mark which becomes basically an instrumental that shows off Tyler’s production skills. I am a huge fan of every little aspect of this track all the way down to the samples of the track, wonderful track as a whole.
“BOYFRIEND”– Everyone who listened to this digitally doesn’t know this track but for anyone who bought the vinyl record knows this track. I felt like it was appropriate to add this track to the review since it’s technically on the album, just not the digital album. The track starts with another appearance from Charlie Wilson with some more soulful vocals that really make your heart and spirit swell with an odd emotion. We get a sudden change in production after Charlie Wilson’s short appearance that’s filled with more pitched up vocals from Tyler. The track has a perfect transition from the previous track and to the next track, I’m totally unsure as to why this was taken off the digital album because it just sounds too good and ends with such a strong instrumental and to that I’ll never understand why it was removed.
“EXACTLY WHAT YOU RUN FROM YOU END UP CHASING”– This is more of an interlude than anything, coming in at only 15 seconds it’s an audio recording of a man just saying the words in which consist of the title of the track. It’s a little mysterious because it’s sort of out of nowhere but after several listens it is apparent that it adds to the overall story and theme of IGOR.
“RUNNING OUT OF TIME”– This track was the first track that made me realize that this album could have been about a certain character that resembles Tyler and his love life. “Running out of time to make you love me” is repeated all throughout the track and got me thinking that this can be a very real thing that Tyler deals with, the uncertainty of love and the lack of timing love has between two people in the beginning. I love the production as always and the vocals are also once again unique in their own special way. About half way through the track we do get a sudden change in the tempo to where the track becomes more lively and energetic but only for a little bit, it then gets back to being sentimental with a nice verse from Tyler that stretches up until the end of the track, we’re sent off with some more wonderful production skills. I so far can’t say anything negative about any sort of aspect of the album.
“NEW MAGIC WAND”– This is by far one of my favorite tracks off the whole album strictly for the aggression behind the instrumental and the vocals later on in the track. The track carries this extremely strong and well build baseline that’s mixed with very industrial sounding percussion. This is also one of the most experimental instrumentals I’ve heard from Tyler since some of the tracks off of Cherry Bomb. This track isn’t all aggression because around the halfway mark the tempo slows down and aggressive baseline stops to bring some sort of light to this dark track. My favorite part starts at 2:06 and it’s my favorite because it sounds so eerie and darker than normal, it then transitions to this chaotic abundance of energy. Like I said, definitely one of the best tracks and most well structured tracks, the live performance at the Grammy’s wasn’t too bad either.
“A BOY IS A GUN*”– This is probably one of the more meaningful and sentimental tracks off the album because Tyler ultimately gender flips the popular phrase, “A girl is a gun”, a phrase that traditionally means women are powerful, but they can also be potentially dangerous if not properly respected. On the song Tyler samples Ponderosa Twins Plus One’s “Bound” which has also been sampled by Kanye West’s Bound 2. Tyler plays with the concept of love being dangerous which is something he mentions on several other occasions throughout the album.
“PUPPET”– “EARFQUAKE”, “NEW MAGIC WAND” & “PUPPET” are all my favorite songs off of IGOR. This is a favorite specifically for the production towards the end of the track and the meaningful lyricism. As the title of the track says the word “puppet” this is how Tyler feels in this new found love he has come across. The lyrics are about Tyler basically being able to anything for this person he loves but we soon realize that it might not be him who’s doing this, it’s the person who he loves controlling him to do all of these acts. It’s a concept and a theme that people deal with on the daily so I love that it’s a topic on the album. Kanye West makes a nice appearance that isn’t too flashy and breaks away from Tyler’s main message. The production at the end of the song is just gorgeous especially the part that incorporates this siren sound with hypnotic and borderline psychedelic female background vocals. I love every aspect of this track.
“WHAT’S GOOD”– This is another high energy and chaos filled track that can resemble “NEW MAGIC WAND” in more than one way. The distortion of the base line was hard for me to get used to but over time I definitely got used to the presence of it. Another aspect of the track that took me a while to get used to was the effect and distortion of his voice, I’m all for the effects and different pitching styles that have been used on this album but this was definitely the hardest to accept and to get comfortable with. All in all it’s still a lovely track but just took me a while to warm up to.
“GONE, GONE/ THANK YOU”– Tyler always has a 2 part song on his albums so this type of song was expected. The “GONE, GONE” portion of the track is full of such a bright and vibrant production style that really stands out especially coming after the super distorted track that we heard before this track. This portion of the track reminds me of summer because the vocals and the instrumental feel so warm and welcoming to the ears. The end of this portion is full of some very nice rapping from Tyler, we’ve gotten actual rapping very little times on the album and this is one of those small moments. The “THANK YOU” portion of the track resembles most to what we’ve gotten all throughout the album, a really nice fast warping synth effect throughout this portion with some more pitched up vocals. I genuinely love the outro to this track because the beginning and end reflect each other in almost no similar way which shows just how diverse Tyler can be on one single track.
“I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE”– The one thing about this track that I didn’t like at first was the sample of the lyrics “I don’t love you any more”, I just didn’t like how they sounded and coexisted with the rest of the instrumental. Once this part is over the track becomes more bearable and very gorgeous with the instrumentation. This is the shortest musical track off of the album so the amount of words to say about the track is very limited to what’s said above.
“ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?”– This in my opinion is the perfect conclusion to an album like this, it’s soft, slow at times, powerful in vocals and production, and packed full with changes. The amount of power this track possesses is insane, it starts off so calm and steady it ends with so much power and energy. Definitely up there on the list of favorite tracks off the album for the structure and layering of the track itself.
Tyler has increased his music making abilities between every single album release he has ever had, in other words every album is better than the last and that is a fact. Flower Boy is one of my favorite albums but IGOR takes Tyler‘s music making skills to a whole different level, this album is just perfect in every single way that you could imagine musically. This album is filled to the brim with synths and the highest quality of production, Tyler is no stranger to synths but this album has the strongest presence of synths I’ve ever heard besides full length synth based instrumental albums. The vocals on this album are perfectly executed, Tyler uses his voice to his advantage in the sense of pitching it up and down, this adds more depth to the music and makes more room for him to be innovative and unique. The features don’t out shine or take the spotlight away from Tyler whatsoever, they support the track and enhance its replay value. The meanings behind the lyrics can be interpreted in many different ways, the strong presence of a character Tyler is molding is present through the music and creates an atmosphere filled of relatability so that the listener can feel even more comfortable while listening to this album. There is no need to explain any more as to why this album is perfect and deserved the Grammy for not only best rap album but best album of the year, Tyler deserves that title and was wrongful cheated out of it, but that’s for another discussion. A perfect score is needed for this album and nothing less, this album will forever be appreciated not only my myself or fans of Tyler but music lovers all over the world, a modern day classic and a masterpiece.
Thank you again for stopping by. I am sorry I didn’t stick to the schedule and do an older album, maybe next week, I just had a rough time figuring one out and took the easy route with IGOR. I definitely hope you all enjoyed this review, if you did then follow the blog and the Instagram @tylersmusicthoughts. See you soon for another review!!!