Tyler, The Creator
Jun 26, 2013 Web Exclusive
A lot has already been said about Tyler, the Creator's latest LP, Wolf, and about his propensity to be politically incorrect while simultaneously surprising critics with real depth and sensitivity. Certainly, Tyler's personality is present throughout Wolf, but he's also hamming it up while engaging in awkward conflicts with his critics and, at times, his own audience.
Wolf starts off promising, as Tyler hums out a series of fuck-yous that will essentially serve as an abstract theme throughout. Tyler's vocals growl with the spit-in-your-face attitude he's made headlines with. But by the time we get to "Awkward," the words have slowed down and start leaning on each other, like a demented and uncomfortable crooning. The grandstanding bravado has started to peel, revealing an introspective narrative that's much more relatable than the one initially perceived. Tyler goes on to take shots at Pitchfork and critics who dismissed him as "homophobic," while pointing out his constant collaborations with Frank Ocean, whose presence on the album brings a welcome sense of class.
Wolf's high points come in quieter moments of thoughtfulness, usually backed by jazzy grooves that betray the lyrics' punk-rock outbursts of anger and confusion. But really, despite the honesty scattered throughout the album, it never really grows past that state of awkwardness between adolescent name-calling and a sudden grip with adult reality. On Wolf, Tyler seems to get in the way of himself, missing a real opportunity to prove his craftsmanship—which is certainly apparent—by blowing up his clownish persona where it doesn't always fit.
But maybe that's the whole point? Tyler said he meant this album to be listened to while kicking back and lighting up. If that's the goal, it's one he's achieved. It's complex, conflicted, and bipolar. Paranoid, even. Most of all, it reveals the harmless and empathetic character behind Tyler, the Creator's complicated persona. (www.oddfuture.com)
Author rating: 7/10
Average reader rating: 9/10