Tyler, the Creator, IGOR
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Tyler, the Creator IGOR Columbia

Tyler, the Creator revels in continually defying expectations. “Don’t go into this expecting a rap album,” he wrote about IGOR before its release. “Don’t go into this expecting any album.” IGOR is, indeed, an album. But it’s also something different, perhaps his finest record yet, as he continues his evolutionary arc from frenzied Odd Future firebrand to lovelorn, confessional artist.

Throughout that evolution, however, his vision has remained razor sharp. So here, though Solange, Pharrell, Kanye and even slowthai contribute, Tyler never loses sight of his goal. IGOR begins with the heady rush of infatuation to the reluctant acceptance of falling out of love, cocooned in a warm crackle that runs throughout the songs, as Tyler disentangles the feelings towards a lover who can’t reciprocate them.

From the droning synth that begins the album on IGOR’S THEME to the stuttering, dusty beauty of A BOY IS A GUN, and onto the brilliant sunrise bleariness of GONE, GONE / THANK YOU, ideas come into focus slowly like dreams, until you’re suddenly immersed in his world. Tyler continues to shed layer after layer, revealing more of himself. On IGOR, Tyler is at his most vulnerable and heartfelt, and it suits him perfectly.