Over the last decade, Tyler, the Creator has maintained a palpable, significant cultural influence. His perpetual relevance refuses to die with his latest album, IGOR.
From fashion — Odd Future — to comedy — Loiter Squad — Tyler, the Creator has woven himself into many facets of modern culture. He is the center of countless memes and his fashion line has been popular among teens and young adults since I was in middle school.
Tyler carries a unique aesthetic matched with a careless attitude which resonates with young people, myself included. His unapologetic air is admirable simply because we all wish we could have as little regard about what other people think about us as Tyler, the Creator.
Tyler’s last album — "Flower Boy" — was an attempt to reconcile some of the consequences of his aforementioned careless attitude.
It’s not uncommon for carelessness to be perceived as offensive. Tyler has been called out numerous times for continuous misogyny and sexism, intentionally offensive or not.
“'Flower Boy' is Tyler’s course-correction, surprisingly meditative and beautifully colored, a collage of memories and daydreams that trades bratty subversion for reflection and self-improvement,” as stated by Pitchfork.
With "IGOR," Tyler takes what he has learned from "Flower Boy" to create an album full of undying angst juxtaposed with the contentment that comes with maturity.
The music itself conveys discomfort, as in “A BOY IS A GUN,” which contains harmonics that are tuned down a half-step — flat. It’s purposeful and somehow still pleasing to the ear, but it is a sound of uneasiness. Tyler continues with this motif into “PUPPET” with a melody layered on top of a siren, transforming a symbol of panic into music. However, the discomfort remains.
Despite its sense of maturity, "IGOR" is still a tale of angst. Throughout the album, Tyler is chasing after something, but as the 15-second track states, “Exactly what you run from, you end up chasing.”
Tyler is begging for love and is running from a loss while chasing what he is about to lose. “PUPPET” tells the story of desperation, the complete and utter loyalty you have for someone when you’re trying to make them love you.
As IGOR progresses, Tyler seems to lighten up. As he transitions from anger to acceptance, the album becomes less abrasive and more content.
On “GONE, GONE / THANK YOU,” Tyler changes his tone as he sings, “My love is gone,” on top of a soft, acoustic melody. The track finishes, “Thank you for your time, thank you for your mind / But I never want to fall in love again.”
Tyler has accepted the ending and is no longer grasping at straws, but acceptance is not healing. "IGOR’s" last two tracks — “I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE” and “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?” — are Tyler’s last attempts at closure. The former is his closure with himself, while the latter is his final request for closure from his ex-love.
Tyler, the Creator demonstrates growth and interpersonal conflict on "IGOR." He has taken the introspection of "Flower Boy" to create another valuable piece of self-reflection.