Tyler, the Creator - “IGOR” Album Review

Story posted August 28, 2019 in Arts & Entertainment by Owen Paiva.

This album was originally released on May 17, 2019.

When talking about some of the best albums of all time, concept albums seem to be a common thread, from older albums such as “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and ''Tommy,” to more modern albums that have been labeled Album of the Year like “To Pimp a Butterfly” and “Demon Days.” Tyler, the Creator has just entered those ranks with “IGOR.”

“IGOR” is about Igor, the protagonist (and Tyler’s persona), and how he is stuck in a love triangle between the guy he is seeing, and that person’s ex-girlfriend, who is trying to pull Igor’s love interest away from him. Tyler fully embraces the persona of Igor, allowing a darker side of Tyler to come out, with the name Igor being based on the gothic archetype of a villain's assistant like in Frankenstein and such. Igor grapples with the breakdown of his relationship throughout the album with all his volatile emotions displayed along the way.

The vocals are very experimental for Tyler. There is a much heavier focus on singing compared to the rapping normally found on a Tyler album. Tyler’s singing feels beautiful, ethereal, and pained all at the same time, perfectly encapsulating the mood of the album. This is a breakup album through and through, but it’s one of the most creative and refreshing ones in such a long time. There are still some rap heavy songs like “WHAT’S GOOD?” and “NEW MAGIC WAND,” which combine well with the more melodic cuts “EARFQUAKE” and “IGOR’S THEME.”

The instrumentals are also a perfection of the hazy pop sound Tyler is known for. The song structure is a bit unconventional, but that is more of a strength. The instrumentals are happy, light and synth-heavy when they need to be, but more bass- and drum-heavy songs help to represent the anger and turmoil found later in the album. Kanye West played a big part in the production of this album, also popping up for a guest verse on “PUPPET.” Solange Knowles and Santigold lend their vocals to three tracks each, and other featured artists include Cee Lo Green, Playboi Carti and Pharrell Williams.

This album has created a discussion in the music sphere over the merits of experimental music and albums. Having artists like Tyler, Denzel Curry and others pushing more into becoming full-on artists rather than being just rappers is important. Having fresh blood pushing the boundaries of the current sound is necessary for the industry to grow in bold, new directions. Artists like DJ Khaled (if he is even worthy of the title) seem to have a different view on this. He threw a temper tantrum when Tyler beat him to the top spot, with “IGOR” besting “Father of Asahd” and the equally experimental “WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?” by Billie Eilish, which came topped out at third. Generic, radio-safe albums like DJ Khaled’s are fine if you listen to music just to have something on, but the industry needs people to keep pushing the sound so genres can evolve.

Tyler needs to keep on doing what he is doing, as “IGOR” was one of the most refreshing albums in a long time.

Rating: 9/10

Reviewer’s Favorite Song: “EARFQUAKE”

Reviewer’s Least Favorite Song: N/A

 

Owen Paiva is a junior majoring in film/video. To contact him, email owenpaiva@sbcglobal.net.