Album Review: Tyler The Creator-Goblin
Bloody sheets and killer creeps abound and America’s most adored celebs are ventilated during vitriolic target practice while organized religion gets the gas face. It’s a dark, surreal world delivered by Tyler The Creator on his 2nd full length release, Goblin. He stalks his 15 homemade tracks pondering who he hates more, bloggers or his absentee father, all the while claiming almost every offense is cause for execution or at least a hearty fuck you. Don’t be fooled though. This slice of disturbia, delivered with a growl and a wink, is more fun house whimsy than a call for help and if you disagree, your old ass just doesn’t get it. At least that’s what Tyler’s young audience says.
Goblin picks up where Tyler’s first album, Bastard, left off. (So erase any thoughts of evolution. It’s one long album broken in halves.) Like its predecessor, Goblin includes Dr. TC as the sane yin to Tyler’s sociopathic yang; a therapist charged with determining why our young protagonist has not been behaving in school. He seamlessly rolls straight from the closing suicidal sentiment of Bastard’s “Inglorious” into Goblin’s title track, tackling everything from Tyler’s father, to the odd side of fame, to the music industry’s insular view of required underground reverence. The track features an eerie skeletal frame with a scary movie piano, abrasive strings and a sinister air ratchet effect and sets the tone for the rest of Goblin’s narrative.
“Yonkers” keeps you in the depths with its grating synth, woofer-wobbling bass and simple drum. Verse two introduces the piano, some words of wisdom for Jesus, verbal jabs at the blog corps and talk of Tyler jamming to “What’s Going On” in granny panties. It’s ADHD set to a hard beat, but the word play is impressive.
R&B is covered here as well and not in a half-hearted, jaded pimp way. “She” has all the makings of a sexy, bedroom heater until the stalker ninja shows up. Not only does he bring his Hattori Hanzo, he also has a cheesy horror movie synth and he’s not afraid to use either of them. Frank Ocean croons beautifully about the sword-wielding peeping tom as Tyler plays the role of the man who can’t accept no for an answer. Shhh, he’s at your window. Creepy. “Her” tempers the bloodlust as Tyler mopes about the girl he wants that doesn’t want him back. The track is less than fantastic and this chick needs to get it together before she regains consciousness tied up in a Brooklyn basement.
“I’m Dracula bitch!” You can’t help but chuckle at Tyler usurping Dave Chappelle’s famous line for “Transylvania,” a mix of Bram Stoker and Mel Brooks. The track churns with anxious synth and multiple stems of percussion that bring disorder to the production. The twinkling electro effects on top add the sonic wink. Comical ad libs, super hyperbolic lyrics and Tyler’s extra menacing pitch spin the story to cartoonish heights.
The gloves come off in “Nightmare,” a brief pause in the contrived bedlam to open up some real wounds. Posers and problems breed a pessimistic outlook that exacerbates the destructive behavior. It’s a stark, but necessary reminder that there’s a real person under all those alter egos. It doesn’t last long though.
“Tron Cat,” yet another Tyler incarnation, carries some of the best wordplay and most distasteful ideas on the album. The pictures are horrific and appallingly clear; possibly drawn in some poor girl’s blood. Buffalo Bill obviously isn’t the only one who skins his humps, so listen at your own risk. “Bitch Suck Dick,” featuring Jasper Dolphin and Taco, sounds like a backhanded jab at Mr. Flocka (Take that Waka. Bow! Bow! Bow!) Oh one thing though, some bitches punch back.
While Goblin is engaging in an uneasy kind of way, it isn’t special enough to transcend its issues. Some of the longer songs wear out their welcome with construction better suited to shorter run times except “Radicals.” And even that song is only radical in its final minute, as the cliché riot chant that precedes the wistful dream embezzlement section is heavy on attitude but light on substance. “Fish” drones on, flopping aimlessly around the pond and “AU79” is just an odd fit.
Murder, mayhem and misogyny as art is far from a new concept and if you listen hard enough, you can hear long-buried echoes of your own adolescence in Goblin. The content meanders from amusing to absurd, but within Tyler’s chaotic maelstrom is a kernel of his truth. Goblin isn’t perfect, but it is engrossing and Tyler is captivating. So as he and the rest of his band of malcontents enjoy the freedom and growing power of the OFWGKTA movement and Tyler goes from screaming inside alone to screaming with millions, know that releasing his art the way he sees fit to a brood of like-minded adolescents really is the point. Get it?
Out of 5
Follow shelz. on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/shelzp
Follow Us on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/planetill
Join Us on the Planet Ill Facebook Group for more discussion
Follow us on Networked Blogs