Tyler, The Creator’s ‘IGOR’ is a 21st century masterpiece

Tyler, the Creator
IGOR

Columbia Records · May 17, 2019

Perhaps IGOR functions as a means for Tyler to express feelings that he isn’t completely comfortable owning up to himself.


“DON’T GO INTO THIS EXPECTING A RAP ALBUM. DON’T GO INTO THIS EXPECTING ANY ALBUM. JUST GO, JUMP IN,” is the disclaimer that Tyler, the Creator posted the night before releasing his latest album, IGOR.

In his sixth studio album, Tyler, the Creator offers his most personal work to date. IGOR successfully combines Tyler’s skill for abstract, non-traditional music making techniques with a very direct and easy-to-follow story arch. IGOR details Tyler’s falling in and out of love – a piece of his life that he has adamantly kept private in the past.

The album opens with the N.E.R.D inspired “IGOR’S THEME” which establishes the idea that while this album is autobiographical, it is about a character that Tyler has created as a vehicle for his thoughts. Perhaps IGOR functions as a means for Tyler to express feelings that he isn’t completely comfortable owning up to himself. Elements of flamboyance like a blonde bob wig seen in teasers and the music video for “EARFQUAKE” and the bright pink color palette seem symbolic of the character (IGOR) that Tyler has created to portray his love for another man.

Part of what has always made Tyler and his music so interesting is the element of mystery and unknown, similar to artists like Frank Ocean or Adele. It seems like Tyler is being pretty candid on IGOR, but so little is known about his personal life that his music still feels somewhat abstract. Its interesting to note that IGOR has been received with overall positive reviews, yet with most media outlets completely ignoring or overlooking Tyler’s direct references to a man.

In “I THINK” he (yet again) makes reference to his affinity for Timothee Chalamet saying, “Man, I wish you would call me, By your name ’cause I’m sorry”. While he has made references to gay or bisexual tendencies on previous records, it is not until now that he does so in such a clear way. If he was ever uncomfortable confronting his sexual preferences publically, then doing so on IGOR was a wise choice because the music steals the spotlight and speaks for itself.

In the same post where Tyler tried to rid listeners all expectations, he told fans “All songs written, produced, and arranged by Tyler Okonma.” Still, the renaissance man received helping hands from several of his longtime collaborators. Solange offers background vocals on several of the album’s tracks including “A BOY IS A GUN,” “I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE,” and the standout track “I THINK.” Other notable features include Kanye West on “PUPPET,” Playboi Carti on “EARFQUAKE” and Santigold on “NEW MAGIC WAND.”

Overall, Tyler successfully uses mood to narrate the story of a forgone relationship. His meticulous production and arranging skills, paired with a clear storyline make IGOR an album that is both impressive and cohesive. If you’ve ever experienced the journey of love and loss, listening to this 39-minute album straight through will undoubtedly bring you right back into your feels.

Listen to IGOR:

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