From the outset of his fame—or, in his earliest years as an artist, infamy—Tyler, The Creator made no secret of his idolisation of Pharrell, citing the work the singer-rapper-producer did as a member of N.E.R.D as one of his biggest musical influences. The impression Skateboard P left on Tyler was palpable from the very beginning, but nowhere is it more prevalent than on his fifth official solo album, IGOR. Within it, Tyler is almost completely untethered from the rabble-rousing (and preternaturally gifted) MC he broke out as, instead pushing his singing voice further than ever to sound off on love as a life-altering experience over some synth-heavy backdrops.
The revelations here are mostly literal. “I think I’m falling in love/This time I think it's for real,” goes the chorus of the pop-funk ditty “I THINK”, while Tyler can be found trying to "make you love me” on the R&B-tinged “RUNNING OUT OF TIME”. The sludgy “NEW MAGIC WAND” has him begging, “Please don’t leave me now,” and the album’s final song asks, “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?”, but it’s hardly a completely mopey affair. “IGOR'S THEME”, the aforementioned “I THINK” and “WHAT'S GOOD” are some of Tyler’s most danceable songs to date, featuring elements of jazz, funk and even gospel. IGOR's guests include Playboi Carti, Charlie Wilson and Kanye West, whose voices are all distorted ever so slightly to help them fit into Tyler's ever-experimental, N.E.R.D-honouring vision of love.
EXACTLY WHAT YOU RUN FROM YOU END UP CHASING
RUNNING OUT OF TIME
NEW MAGIC WAND
A BOY IS A GUN
GONE, GONE / THANK YOU
I DON'T LOVE YOU ANYMORE
ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?
12 SONGS, 40 MINUTES
MAY 17, 2019
℗ 2019 COLUMBIA RECORDS, A DIVISION OF SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT, AS EXCLUSIVE LICENSEE