Ok so before i even attempt to review this album, its clear I’m going to piss some people off. YouTube is packed with the ‘OFWGKTA’ fan boys who post ‘swag’ and ‘fuck Steve Harvey’ on everything in sight. Any faint criticism leveled at the group (like their not the new Wu-Tang or Earl is no Nas) will result in an overload of Wolf Gang hysterics. On the opposite side theres the people who don’t get it, the fans who in their own words cant vibe to ’emotional gothic rap’. If i point out the artistic merit of “Yonkers” it will be met with accusations of satanic support. So what I’m going to attempt to do with “Goblin” is call it as i see it. I’m going to forget the hype and the industry politics and review each track as i hear it coming from my speakers.
Tyler, The Creator
The album opens with the title track “Goblin”. A manipulated slowed down version of Tyler’s voice utters the words “You wouldn’t have the balls to kill yourself”. The concept behind this is that Tyler is battling with his alter ego who appears in the role of his counselor. If you’ve heard Tyler’s first album “Bastard” then you will already be familiar with the character. The background instrumental consists of minimalist piano chords which wouldn’t sound out of place in a horror film. Then Tyler bursts into an angry 6 minute rap which attempts to deal with the issues people talk about. He goes back and forth between surrealist imagery and honest insights “I’m getting these weird stares at skate parks and airports all in a year its weird… pressures on me like this top hat. Bastard intro, how the fuck am i going to top that?”
[wpaudio url=”https://www.thewordisbond.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/01-Goblin.mp3″ text=”Tyler, The Creator – Goblin” dl=”0″]
I think Tyler’s flow is perfect for this track and he is at his very best when he has a point to prove. It’s genuinely captivating as you can hear him trying to prove his skills and for the most part he lives up to expectations. These lyrics are hungry and full of anger which is well directed. Still, i can’t shake off comparisons to a certain white rapper. Now i know at lot of people get compared to Eminem, Asher Roth for example, and he sounds nothing like him. But “Goblin” has so many comparisons to “Kill You” content-wise that the influence becomes too great to ignore. For those of you that don’t know, Tyler’s manager used to work for Shady Records and it’s clear he’s been directed to steal some ideas from the hip-hop superstar.
Perhaps the most controversial lyrics from the track are “These niggas ain’t fucking with me because i don’t listen to the Immortal Tech-of-the-nique and all this underground bullshit thats never going peak, on the Billboard Top 20 and jam of the week, id rather listen to Badu and Pusha the T and Waka Flocka Flame instead of that real hip-hop, thats bullshit”. To be honest, as good as Tyler is on “Goblin” he has a long way to go to be on Immortal Technique’s level. And what the Billboard Top 20 has to do with the quality of an artist is beyond me. If Tech does decide to respond, we could be faced with one of the most exciting beefs in a decade. I could see a split between underground heads (who have so far embraced Odd Future) and the new generation of hip-hop fans. And yet it is obvious that Tyler is fueling this controversy in order to further his own career. So with this in mind i wouldnt take it too seriously.
Track two “Yonkers” needs no introduction. If you havn’t heard it by now you probably never will. The visuals for this track really helped it take off, but it also displays Tyler at his lyrical best. “I’m a walking paradox, no I’m not”, every line contradicts itself in a way thats clever and creative. The electro inspired chorus is a head banging beat and instantly recognisable. Although “Yonkers” was a hit, the song lengths on the album are unorthodox. “Goblin” is six minutes long whilst track three “Radical” is 7 minutes. A disclaimer appears on “Radical” saying “don’t do anything in this song… but fuck white America”. The chorus goes “Kill people, burn shit, fuck school”, if your familiar with Odd Future production you know what to expect. Eerie aesthetics which incorporate sparse drum loops and are unique in there implementation.
As the chorus would suggest the lyrics are fairly basic. It’s saving grace is Tyler’s snarling voice and rebellious energy. “I’m not saying go out and do stupid shit, what I’m saying is do what the fuck you want and don’t let anybody stop you”. It’s a semi-interesting song over all, but it’s message is not nearly as deep or as new as it’s made out. We’ve seen these themes before with metal groups like Slipknot. Tyler himself was an awkward teenager who grew up wearing black and listening to Good Charlotte. N.W.A. they are not, so it’s amusing to see people confuse them as such, based on their skin colour. Odd Future have been known to tweet complaints about only attracting a white, rock based crowd. The answer lyes within tracks like these which cross over to emo teens.
“She” feels like VCR part two. It sounds like a Nintendo soundtrack meets R Kelly (it has an r’n’b style chorus). It’s also the first song on the album to feature the lyrics Odd Future have become famous for: gruesome sexual content. “Transylvania” continues in much the same vain. Off beat drums are used on their own and Tyler’s voice is slowed down and manipulated. It’s not going to win them any new fans, especially as the chorus rhymes bitch with bitch. “I’m Dracula bitch, don’t have a problem smacking a bitch”. To me it has a filler feel to it and would have been better put on a throw away mixtape.
Track 6 “Nightmare” is definitely a step up lyrically. Tyler is at his best when he raps with a level of introspection. On this song he displays it in abundance, addressing his own insecurities and self hate. It remains like Odd Future lyrically, with it’s murderous imagery, but it also brings about a level of maturity. “Tron Cat” is full of sick one liners that will no doubt be repeated by OF fans. The sounds are a continuation of the instrumentals we are familiar with, unconventional drum loops mixed with hard electronic samples. It is the closest thing to the infamous Earl Sweatshirt video on “Goblin”. It’s also impressive but in an uncomfortable way.
[wpaudio url=”https://www.thewordisbond.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/08-Her.mp3″ text=”Tyler, The Creator – Her” dl=”0″]
“Her” is one of the album’s faults. It’s hard to separate it’s themes from those on “Transylvania” or “She”. The beat and lyrics have already been covered numerous times on this album and it brings about a repetitive dullness which would be better just avoided. Thankfully “Sandwitches” rekindles my interest. This is the song which was performed with The Roots on The Jimmy Fallon Show. I find my self reciting the lyrics with ease, this is definitely one to look out for at concerts as it always gets the biggest reaction. Along with “French” from the debut album, this track perfectly captures the Odd Future spirit. Unfortunately i fell back asleep for the next six minutes.
“Fish” is notable only for it’s use of Antoine Dodson’s “There raping everybody out here”. The rest of it is just a boring trip through Tyler’s misogynist fantasies. How many ways can you rap the same song? Well apparently more times than you could imagine as “Analog” and the quite frankly terrible “Bitch Suck Dick” display it all over again. “Bitch Suck Dick” is basically a parody of a Tyler, The Creator song, except somehow it ended up on the album. If “Fish” and “Analog” were dull yet listenable, “Bitch Suck Dick” is on a whole nother level of stupidness. Critics can jazz this up and point to it’s supposed deliberate irony, but this dosnt distract from the fact that it’s a poorly executed song.
Thankfully the album does regain momentum. “Window” serves to translate the concept of the album to the listener. Despite being 8 minutes long it remains engaging. Tyler goes crazy and kills Odd Future, all the while arguing about it with his conscience. It is separated from the final track by an uptempo instrumental which leads perfectly into the closing of the album. At times i was frustrated with “Goblin” but then the last track “Golden” hits and Tyler comes on with an aggressive flow over a dark beat, blowing me away. It had shades of Makaveli’s “Against All Odds” and while i would never compare Tyler to a great like 2Pac, i was reminded of what all the fuss is about.
[wpaudio url=”https://www.thewordisbond.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/15-Golden.mp3″ text=”Tyler, The Creator – Golden” dl=”0″]
Tyler shows enough glimpses on the album for me to recognise that he’s a force to be reckoned with. It’s easy to forget he’s only 19 and is yet to fully develop his talents. Despite borrowing from Eminem and displaying a worrying repetitive trend for misogyny, i am still interested in Tyler’s music. It’s refreshing for us all to have an album to talk about. Odd Future have the hip-hop world buzzing for the first time in years and while they do have their faults they cant be knocked for this. The hype machine that surrounds them however, is a different issue.
[easyreview title=”Word Is Bond Rating” cat1title=”Lyrics” cat1detail=”Switches between being great and being childish.” cat1rating=”3″ cat2title=”Production” cat2detail=”Similar to other Odd Future releases. Consistent and original but can give you a sense of Deja vu.” cat2rating=”3.5″ cat3title=”Originality” cat3detail=”An old formula but completely repackaged to breathe new life into it.” cat3rating=”3″ cat4title=”Replayability” cat4detail=”Many songs will remain in heavy rotation. Others may never be played again.” cat4rating=”3.5″ summary=”It may not be the years best release but it will probably be the most talked about.”]