IGOR: Tyler’s Toxic Antihero
by Jose Morales on April 28, 2020
Posted in: Album Review, R&B / Soul
When I decided to make a post about Tyler the Creator’s latest album, IGOR, I revisited the album and listened to it from start to finish multiple times throughout the week. It’s not something I have done in a while with albums because I generally cherry pick tracks based on my mood or expectations. But I really found a greater appreciation for the album. Tyler’s amazing production and vocal performances combined with the transitions between tracks build a strong and emotional storyline of a souring unhealthy relationship] . Each track captures a different moment in the relationship as the album progresses from a period of infatuation with Tyler’s partner to one of desperation for their love and finally to the realization of their toxicity. IGOR builds upon the soul and RnB sounds from Tyler’s last album Flower Boy, combines it with interesting experimental production and develops an amazing album that has now won a Grammy and WRMC’s Album March Madness.
While the most popular track on the album by far is EARFQUAKE featuring Playboi Carti, I strongly encourage you to look at the rest of the album for tracks like A BOY IS A GUN, PUPPET, NEW MAGIC WAND, and my personal favorite, RUNNING OUT OF TIME. NEW MAGIC WAND’s heavy, aggressive and faster synths and high hats reflects Tyler’s anger and mental instability with their partner leaving. The following track, A BOY IS A GUN, opposes these emotions with slow drums, a soft piano, and a monotone and paced rapping mirroring the somber realization that Tyler’s partner is toxic with lines like “How come you the best to me? I know you the worst for me Boy, you sweet as sugar, diabetic to the first degree.” The next track PUPPET elevates the sad tone revolving around the desire to run back to Tyler’s partner, doing anything in his power to satisfy their needs, making him the puppet.The melancholy chorus and the Kanye feature evoke hopelessness and defeat in this track, but the end dialogue shifts the emotional focus as the album enters the final segment of the relationship.
IGOR successfully explores the different elements of an unhealthy relationship throughout each segment of the album. The album progresses from infatuation to loss and abuse and finally to reconciliation. Each branch of the album offers a specification tone with my favorite, as I mentioned with my favorite track, being the first couple songs of the album, EARFQUAKE, I THINK and RUNNING OUT OF TIME. I really enjoyed the high synths, soft and fast drums, and the Lo-fi quality of the production. RUNNING OUT OF TIME shares all these qualities and has a minimalist flow that makes it melodic easy to follow. Overall, Tyler does an amazing job with the production and vocal performances and develops a thematic antithesis of his last album Flower Boy with the monster that is IGOR. I highly recommend this album if you are a fan of Tyler’s previous album and encourage you to listen to it from start to finish at least once if you have the time.