Justin’s Album Review: IGOR by Tyler, the Creator

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IGOR by Tyler, the Creator was released on May 17, 2019. This was actually my first Tyler album so there was nothing to base this album off of. If you were to buy the physical copy of this album, he clearly states that this album is not his other albums.

After reading the backside of this album, I didn’t know what I was in for. I will grade my albums off of 3 main things. The overall score will be out of 7. This particular album will be graded off of:

      1. First listen
      2. Listens after/Replay ability
      3. Influence

First Listen:

My first listening experience with this album wasn’t anything crazy. My attention was caught with the first opening synth bass of IGORS THEME. This song told me so much yet so little about the album. The 2nd track was EARFQUAKE. EARFQUAKE was very catchy and is Igor expressing his love for this person. Repeating the lyrics “Don’t leave, it’s my fault” multiple times really shows the kind of person Igor is. He is desperate for this person’s love and it seems he will do whatever it takes to stay with them. I THINK transitioned really well from EARFQUAKE. I absolutely love it when an artist does good a transition into the next song. Good pacing in albums is something I find very important and also something not very common in albums today. At this point, I could see a story developing beyond Igor’s fascination with this person. There is an interlude between I THINK and RUNNING OUT OF TIME called EXACTLY WHAT YOU RUN FROM YOU END UP CHASING. I didn’t see the point of this other than changing the tone dramatically between the 2 songs. I don’t see this technique very often but maybe there’s more behind it that I don’t know yet. RUNNING OUT OF TIME didn’t feel like much of a song the first time I listened to it. There wasn’t a main melody but something was different with this track. It had this feeling of a build-up, pause, build-up, long pause, and so on. The lyrics seemed to be reminiscent of EARFQUAKE but a lot darker. Igor feeling as if he reached a low. The tone completely flips in NEW MAGIC WAND. Angry, violent, loud, yet beautiful. I loved this song although lyrically, I would be lying if I said I knew what was going on. This was something I would come back to later. A BOY IS A GUN* didn’t impress me. Coming right after this harsh excellent display of anger, it was fairly tame. The sample used in it sounded familiar but I couldn’t identify it. Towards the end, he mentioned never wanting to see this person again. PUPPET, just like RUNNING OUT OF TIME, feels like Igor at his low again. He seems to feel controlled by this person and like he’s stuck. The instrumental doesn’t seem to do much until the end where it changes and you can hear sirens. WHAT’S GOOD was a lot like NEW MAGIC WAND but I didn’t like it nearly as much. It was okay but the ending was probably the highlight for me. These dramatic piano chords over Igor saying “I see the light”. I’ll talk about the last 3 songs in the Listens after section. This album was very easy to listen to for the first time. I have never listened to an album for the first time and had it come together the way this did. I couldn’t remember half the song’s names, not because they were bad, but because they were good. The album felt like one thing rather than individual songs. I did find myself wanting to give it another try because I felt like there was more. I give my first listen of this album a 6/7.

Listens after/ Replay ability

I listened to this album way too much to have me be unbiased at this point. The album is phenomenal. IGORS THEME and EARFQUAKE are a great start. I THINK is catchy. RUNNING OUT OF TIME is so much more than I can even understand. NEW MAGIC WAND had a new meaning for me once I understood that he was referring to a gun. And then I realized that this person he is going after has another lover in the picture. Maybe I somehow just didn’t realize this when I listened to it the first time. The lyrics “I need to get her out the picture, she’s really (messing) up my frame” are pure genius. The moment I understood it and went back to listen again, it just blew my mind. Sorry for spoiling it but I’m sure this was just a me thing to have a revelation like this of something so obvious. NEW MAGIC WAND is definitely my favorite song off this album. A BOY IS A GUN* seems to be Igor talking about this person being dangerous for them by using a gun as a metaphor since we know guns are dangerous. As I said earlier, I’m going to talk about the last 3 tracks; GONE, GONE/THANK YOU, I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE, and ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?. GONE, GONE/THANK YOU goes back and forth with NEW MAGIC WAND for my favorite track in this album. I never get sick of this song. The instrumental changes enough to keep the song fresh, it’s pretty simple lyrically, and it’s a double song. What stood out to me the most was at around the 3 minutes and 2 seconds mark when the lyrics “My love is gone” quite down and also modulate to other keys in a descending fashion. It’s like symbolically accepting things and figuring out how to move on. Then in the THANK YOU section, Igor seems to have finalized his decision to move on. I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE I believe is Igor telling himself what he wants to believe. He’s done and moving on. ARE WE STILL FRIENDS? makes it unclear whether or not he has actually moved on. As much as he said he was done, he still wants to be friends. Maybe he has moved on and actually wants to be friends, maybe he thinks things will end differently this time, maybe he didn’t want them to end in the first place. 7/7 for this category.

Influence

Since this album hasn’t been around long enough, I won’t grade it but will instead talk about my prediction for how it will age. It’s hard to say how influential this album will be. It isn’t the first album to tell a story. The idea of a concept album has existed for a long time. Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars by David Bowie, and The Wall by Pink Floyd are all great concept albums. There is one huge difference between this album and those albums. This album came out a year ago. Those albums came out over 30 years ago. I think one day we will look back on the great albums of this era and hold them in the same regard as those in the past. For many people this album may need more time to age but for me, I already hold it in the same regard as those from 30+ years ago.

I give IGOR by Tyler, the Creator a 7/7.