Tyler, The Creator is many things, even by design perhaps. For one he’s a great follow on Instagram; but he’s also a clothing designer — formerly for the Odd Future line and currently for Golf Wang — plus a TV producer/writer/actor on Adult Swim’s Loiter Squad.
Tyler also resolved to produce his latest album, Cherry Bomb, all on his own, beats and everything (with five different album covers), which is admirable. Like everything else he creates, some will land and some wont. There are moments where the music is grinding and off putting, but the album also contains flashes of smooth, occasionally sublime brilliance. Then there are other times where it’s all just noise and you may want bail out or skip ahead and I wouldn’t blame you. Of course I encourage you to give it one full listen with a very open mind, but highlights for me are:
The melody on the 2nd half of “Pilot” and the 2nd half of “Keep Da O’s” which are worth enduring the craziness of the first half of those tracks to reach. “Find Your Wings” and “2SEATER” are examples of Tyler in the right lane, showing he’s capable of taking the listener on a journey.
But it’s a good thing “Fucking Young/Perfect“, a lead single, and “Smuckers”, the other best track featuring Kanye West and Lil Wayne, arrive late in the album and feel sort of like a reward. I’ve listened to those the most this week and could probably continue to listen to them on loop forever. It’s as if four songs happen between those two and they could end up being two of the best tracks of the year.
The last track, “Okaga, CA”, pleads “let’s go to the moon”, and that’s a fine way to describe what parts of the album aspire to. More generally the Tyler, The Creator experience is an exercise in following along as Tyler gets whatever randomness is inside his head, out. That may involve a few great trips to outer space; or just skidding, sputtering car rides to Fatburger, crashing before we get there.