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Tyler The Creator – Goblin 5.10.11

May 6, 2011

Tyler the Creator is 20 years old but he still has daddy issues, self-esteem problems, debates suicide and is still mending a broken heart for the girl he has killed, raped, and demeaned in so many of his songs. The first line of his second solo album, Golbin’s, single “Yonkers” explains Tyler in a nutshell; “I’m a fucking walking paradox, no I’m not, threesomes with a fucking triceratops. Reptar.” He’s a guy who raps about being the devil even though he is an outspoken Atheist. He frequently discusses raping and murdering women, but also about his love for his mother and desire to be loved by a special girl. He raps about being self-conscious and unsure of himself yet lashes out at critics with fierce arrogance demanding respect for all of his accomplishments at such an early age. As much as I hate to admit it, his arrogance is justifiable.

At 20 years old Tyler the Creator is the figure head of Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, his own personal franchise of friends who are rappers, skaters, producers, and loiterers. Tyler has had personal involvement in at least 10 of the 13 albums released under Odd Future’s name as well as recently being the talk of well-known blogs, popular publications such as Rolling Stone and The New York Times, and he’s earned his group their own record label. Also he is convinced that he’s a table and a Unicorn and no one can tell him differently. All of these factors of Tyler; the rapper, the lover, the fighter, the child, the man, the psychopath and the prodigy, are all what makes Goblin one of the most impressive albums I’ve ever heard.

The follow up to his first solo album, Bastard, Goblin is a continuation to the theme of Tyler visiting his therapist Dr. T.C. The doctor is calm and patient with Tyler throughout the album urging him to express his inner thoughts to which Tyler makes Goblin his own personal journal explicitly articulating his anger, confusion, fears, desires and random train of thoughts. Goblin starts with the eponymously named track to which Tyler rants for nearly 7 minutes about the hype currently surrounding him and the changes he’s experienced in the past year. He makes it clear that he’s still affected by the absence of his best friend Earl Sweatshirt, still couch surfing and living with his grandmother, and accepts yet detests the very fame he desired. In his rough demanding voice Tyler vocalizes the frustrations he has been tweeting about for months, effortlessly rhyming words and stressing the enunciation of syllables making his voice more of an instrument in the song than the demonic dark thumps of the percussion and the off kilter sound effects and piano key strokes.

“Yonkers” follows, continuing the albums aesthetic of a dark, dreary and haunting sound through a repetitious distorted piano chord on top of a deep billowing skewed bass.  “Radicals,” perhaps the album’s weakest song due to its sing-along hook and overly conscious lyrics, is equally impressive, however, as Tyler’s jazz and pop influences become more apparent and he uses the song to detach himself from listeners who may use his lyrics for wrongdoings. Reiterating his cinematic side is “Transylvania,” a narrative by a deranged, blood-thirsty, perverted vampire and “Nightmare,” a haunting synth driven track complete with a high pitched toy piano sound that conjures up Wes Craven-esque images. His lyrics, however, continue to bleed sympathy as he states at one point, “I ain’t killed myself yet and already want my life back.” The next track, “Tron Cat,” is a hilarious ode to his inner voice of the same name and “Her,” a beautifully heartbreaking song, possibly explains the details of the situation with the mysterious “Sarah” aka Raquel, the girl he frequently jabs at on previous albums. However, to name these few songs is not to say that they are the highlights of the album, in fact Goblin is solid and only gets better with each song. Like Bastard some songs are much stronger than others, but listening to the album in its entirety is more of an experience, one that pays off tremendously by the album’s last hurrah “Golden.”

Tyler the Creator constructs his music much like a cult director does. Similar to the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Tyler creates art that is heavy in visuals, painting detailed pictures of anger, depression, conflict and absurdity through explicit lyrics and a diverse production. His songs have a setting, background, tension, and resolution much like a film does. He and Tarantino share a common aspect of making their work an amalgamation of personal likes fusing their varied influences, such as Tyler’s fondness of jazz, R&B music and 90s nostalgia, to create something completely fresh, new and surprising. For first-time listeners intrigued by Tyler’s style, Goblin will definitely please those who understand and appreciate the type of music he’s making, but the album will definitely enthrall more devoted fans who are familiar with Odd Future’s discography and their running jokes throughout. Featuring impressive and more evolved guest spots from OF crew members Jasper the Dolphin, Taco (who sounds to have hit puberty since Bastard), Mike G, Hodgy Beats, Domo Genesis and Frank Ocean, Goblin does not disappoint and after a solid listen, I’m already elated with anticipation to own the vinyl and sitting on pins and needles for his supposed 2012 third release, Wolf.

5.10.11- BUY THIS ALBUM. I’m too obsessed with Odd Future not to.

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