For real (for real) this time.
I grew up in an area with picket fences, golden retrievers, and a norm that everyone finds their soulmate the second they step foot on a university campus. It was an excellent way of growing up, yet as I got older, I realized that this norm that has been imposed on me was not the case. I became self-conscious reflecting on my life going into second year, yet to have a boyfriend, scrolling through my list of Bumble matches. In the thick of it all, you feel isolated; as if out of the whole wide world you are the only one going through it all. That uncontrollable feeling can take over, leaving one questioning, “why can’t I just find someone?”. Believe it or not (teenage angst aside) you are not the only one, and Tyler, The Creator’s fifth studio album, IGOR, is here to prove it.
Tyler started as a notorious young rapper. At a young age, he created a multi-media group known as Odd Future, yet became the center of attention in February of 2011 when releasing the video for “Goblin.” Goblin was the name of the 27 years old’s first solo studio album, and the rightfully so, the hit single off the album “Goblin” set the stage for the eighteen song piece. The black and white slightly out of focused music video sparked controversy amongst media outlets and intrigued adoring young audiences showing the new rapper eating cockroaches. Way before Billie Eilish made haunting music videos a wow factor in the industry, Tyler got penalized for his visuals and for the lyrics behind it. Throughout his first album, notions of rape, misogyny, and violence were not used lightly. His aggression got him banned in the UK and New Zealand, making him known far for crude matters. Yet this is not the Tyler we know today.
In June of 2017, he shocked the industry with Flower Boy. The lighthearted melodies and synths followed the story Tyler’s emotional growth. Demonstrating how Tyler quite literally bloomed from his homophobic past to stepping out of the closet for the first time. It was a risky jump for Tyler’s edgy sound, yet was a mega success. With an upbeat new R&B tone that can make any walk in the park feel as if it is out of a high budget indie movie, Flower Boy became a summer hit. Then, out of the blue, Flower Boy bowed down for IGOR. Offering listeners just that summer aesthetic with a hint of something more.
Flowing from title to title with a hint of synth, R&B, and rap, IGOR delivers a sign into the jumbled world of the producer, singer, rapper, and designer. The albums unexplainable mix offers a great variety and a chance Tyler to come center stage through his lyrics. The two-part story of IGOR reveals a telling tale and divide of Tyler’s alter ego going from falling in love to slowly but surely moving on. Speaking to that piercing feeling of heartache when you can sense that you need to leave a lover but can’t bring yourself to do it.
“EARFQUAKE,” the first released single off of the album, introduces Igor’s ongoing story. Paired with a music video featuring the talented Tracey Ellis Ross, and a blonde-wigged Tyler in a two-toned blue suit, one realizes that IGOR is the first of Tyler’s album that features a specific alter ego. Igor (his alter ego) dances around the stage amongst flames to an inaudible verse from Playboi Carti. Tyler expresses the feeling of loving someone knowing that the other is holding themselves back from fully reciprocating. This theme flows into “PUPPET” where it Igor reveals the peak of his obsession where he will do anything and everything for the individual with knowing they want nothing in return. Turning into a sad puppet being pulled at his heartstrings with no love in return. Many may question as to why anyone would put themselves through the absurd situation of IGOR, yet when reflecting upon the album, it is merely glorifying the notion of the chase and the ultimate fear of letting go of a love that wasn’t a two-way street.
As the album enhances, Igor realizes that his love has come to a climactic end. In the two-part song “GONE, GONE / THANK YOU,” the audience discovers that Igor has found peace with himself. The song sends the listener on a journey that we’ve all been on. The bittersweet feeling of coming to your senses and at least realizing you need to move on. “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?”, powerfully ends the album with smooth vocals by Tyler as funk wave guitar looping and melodic harmonies tie the song together. The slower paced song emphasizes the longing after letting someone go for good yet still wanting them in your life as you still love them, whether it is as an individual or as something more.
Love can blindside you. Sadly, you do not always have the choice of who you love; it is just that gut feeling. When the heart overtakes the brain, many issues may arise, it is all in how one deals with the reality they are being faced. IGOR tells a story that is stronger than any of Tyler, The Creator’s past albums. IGOR touches to that vulnerable piece in one’s life that many try to bury out of the embarrassment of slowly crumbling with the confusion of a lover that will not allow them to face reality. It is no Taylor Swift love story, but It is something we all go through. In an emotionaly accurate Pisces way, Tyler brought a genius genre-defying album that can aid any lost souls broken heart.
Go stream IGOR on Spotify & Apple Music today (I promise you won’t regret it)