Igor: Tyler’s Magnum Opus

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Sam Richardson '22

      With Tyler, the Creator’s fifth studio album, Tyler continues his success from his 2017 success “Flower Boy.” Near the beginning of his career, through the albums “Goblin” and “Wolf” especially, Tyler’s joyful, zany production and vocals were largely overshadowed by his lyrics. Frankly, these lyrics were so edgy, homophobic, and genuinely out of pocket, that to many his music lost a large portion of its value. However, in his 2017 “Flower Boy,” his brash lyrics melted away for a genuine album regarding Tyler’s self which not only discarded the poor taste of his previous albums but also drastically improved production, vocals, and storytelling. 

     These trends continued in “Igor,” where Tyler continues to blend R&B, hip-hop, and soul masterfully. Like “Flower Boy,” production, arrangement, and writing all came from Tyler himself. If any fans were expecting a return to his rap roots, they would have been severely wrong. Much of the vocals and song arrangements are far more experimental and pop-like than rap, with the first verse coming on the second track “Earfquake” from the sweet baby voice of Playboi Carti. 

      Much of the production on this album comes off as experimental, and it did not disappoint in any way. Tyler, following his polished “Flower Boy,” created an album that had a lo-fi aesthetic. At many points, Tyler would purposely stumble mid-song and would create raspy production and vocals to create this unpolished aesthetic throughout the album. These stylistic elements only served to help build the world that Tyler had created through the 40 minute LP.

    Igor places one in the mind of the character Igor, who is caught in a vicious love triangle, and who goes from love to dejectedness to somewhat accepting the fate which has befallen him. It is truly extraordinary to see the world which he builds from “Igor’s Theme” to “Can We Still Be Friends?”. Each successive song meaningfully builds on the last, and there is no reason to stop listening to the album until one is completely finished. The story development shown by Tyler here is especially reminiscent of one of his idols, Madlib. To me, the raw emotion and depressing nature of Igor’s story was the climax of music in 2019, and every listen continues to draw emotion from me.

Song Rankings:

  1. I THINK
  2. GONE, GONE / THANK YOU
  3. A BOY IS A GUN*
  4. ARE WE STILL FRIENDS
  5. EARFQUAKE
  6. IGOR’S THEME
  7. PUPPET
  8. I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE
  9. RUNNING OUT OF TIME
  10. NEW MAGIC WAND
  11. WHAT’S GOOD
  12. EXACTLY WHAT YOU RUN FROM YOU END UP CHASING