“IGOR” by Tyler, The Creator Album Review

Track by Track Album Review

“IGOR” itself is a hidden love story for the ages. With a bumpin’ exterior and a blonde wigged distraction you almost miss the intricacies of understanding love and loss. Igor is the main character of the album and is played by Tyler, The Creator. He wears a blonde bowl cut and dark sunglasses to create this dynamic character who experiences all of the adventures lyrically written out in the album. Igor himself goes through a chronologically accurate story of somewhat unrequited love and a love triangle gone haywire. Get ready because the neo soul music is just as exciting as the story! Check this out.


This is an exquisite first song for the album. With an intense sustained synth base opening, the song explains the theme of the album with pleasing simplicity. It is the height of subtlety and introspective understanding which is seen prickling out of this first melody. The few words that are repeated are “Got my eyes open” and “He’s coming / Runnin'” This explains the beginning of Igor’s story. He notices someone but runs away from what he is feeling. The heavy breathing in the intro brings you into his reality and you can feel his heart racing at the sight of this person. The repeating words echo through the song and are Igor’s own thoughts echoing through his head as he sees this person. Tyler is famous for the different unique sounds he uses when making music and he goes full steam ahead, showing off in this first taste of Igor. Each track is better than the last with surprise sounds you didn’t know you needed.


This vibrant song is where Igor accepts his feelings as true and stops running from them. The title is misspelled on purpose because the person Igor is in love with makes him so happy, all the oxytocin being compelled to leave his brain has him not thinking straight. The most deafening words in this song are “Don’t leave, It’s my fault / Cause when it all comes crashing down I’ll need you”. He says what so many people feel complexly in so few revealing words. This is the part in the story where Igor comes clean about his feelings but at first it drove the person farther away. It has a somber undertone for such an energetic song. Tyler chooses to focus on the good feelings inside rather than the undesired effects of these feelings which is glass half full of him. One last thing, Unlike the other songs on this album that embrace a passionate head bob, “EARFQUAKE” makes you want to jump up and dance like a mad man. It has a distinct lightness about it that separates this song from the rest.


In the last song, Igor was so overwhelmed with feelings he barely knew what he was saying. In “I THINK” his mind is still going a mile a minute but he has a better understanding of these feelings and a new found focus. There is still a whiff of confusion in Igor’s head which can be seen in how fabulously he has these thoughts of proclaiming his love. In my head, I picture Igor’s thoughts as a baby walking down a hill but in a way where they are in a continuous fall yet continue to catch themselves with the following foot every time. Love is confusing and can come on fast which he does a great job of showing in this fast-pace song. Storyline aside the charming melody leaves “I THINK” as one of my favorite songs on “IGOR”. He ends the song with a slow decrescendo of everything he had been loudly building up until it is just the piano. This makes the song feel more personal and intimate then it did before. Thus, exposing the gooey center of Igor’s hard outer shell he tries to push to the forefront with his aggressive rhythm.


This interlude is Tyler inviting all of us into his 14 second Ted Talk. The title says it all. I like to think of this as facing your fears. You run from them but in the end if you want to conquer it so you will seek it out. This is exactly what happened to Igor when he first ran from his love interest but in the end couldn’t help himself.


Igor and this love interest have a relationship at this point in the story but Igor’s love appears to have another partner as well. The lines backing this in the song would be “Take your mask off / I need her out the picture”. If Igor’s love interest is a man still in the closet, Igor could be encouraging him to come out and take that mask off. Running out of time comes into play when considering the idea that they possibly peaked in their relationship and are close to either taking the next step forward or ending it. This futuristic song has less going on behind the voice than others but is not without elegance. Igor goes on to say how his love interest is “livin’ in pretend”. He says the line with nothing behind it, then builds up the sound with snaps and breathing, bringing you into the moment with him until a crescendo blasts you into outer space. Lastly, There is one startling line “I found peace in drowning” which I’m not sure if he says sarcastically or not. He could be saying he is actually happy with his circumstance of sharing this partner or is he so deep in denial that his call for help is that line. I’m fine, I’m fiiiiine. It just feels like I’m drowning, whatever.


The morbid song starts almost scarily with and overwhelming synth base and dare I say evil cackle. It sounds like he wants to sound intimidating. All of the frenzied emotions Igor has been feeling are finally clear and he has decided he’s in love but f***ing angry. The time has run out, Igor is frustrated and begging his love interest to make a decision. Leave her and be with me. There are a few lines that sum that up pretty well “It has nothing to do with that broad / But if it did guarantee she’d be gone”. He is pushing really hard now for his love to choose him but the most repeated line in the song is “Please don’t leave me”. It is crystal clear that Igor would never leave this person and that is probably why they won’t make a decision. They know he is not going anywhere. The entire album has a lot of emotion in it but during this song in particular it can be felt rippling outward all around. He NEEDS to feel better soon because the anxiety is manifesting into this anger he can’t control. It is impossible to describe what it’s like to be infuriated by someone you are in love with but Tyler somehow got this explained.


“A BOY IS A GUN” is a breath of fresh are after “NEW MAGIC WAND”s intensity. It is much slower and feels more like in your feels stargazing then getting ready to fight someone. It appears that Igor’s lover still has not made a decision but the anger has passed and turned into Igor thinking of ending it. Throughout the dreamy song Igor calls his love interest dangerous, a gun and says “stay the fuck away from me”. Igor realizes that he should leave because he’s not happy with how things are going but he can’t bring himself to do it. This particular line explains it in a way that I also find comical “My spidey sensies, got me on the fencies”. His partner just keeps saying he’ll choose him “when the time’s right” but how long is Igor supposed to sign onto be unhappy with no end date? The gun comparison is very clever because Igor likes to keep this love interest by his side but this love also has the ability to hurt him, badly. For a song floating up in the clouds it sure has some darkness clinging onto it.


By now, Igor has been in an unhappy relationship for way too long and can feel the numbness starting to seep in. He feels he has no control over his own life and you can hear the hopelessness in his sagging words. “I’m your puppet / You control me / I’m your puppet / I don’t know me”. The first half of the song encompasses this lonely feeling with disfunction yet so graciously. The romanticism is gone and Igor is finally at a tipping point, realizing it’s not worth it. The second part of the song starts with a huge switch in tone but with a stealthy transition. There are very few words in the second part which begins with a strange warning siren in the back of his mind. You hear him say “First, light the weed” which could indicate escapism as a form of coping for Igor in this state of no free will. The end of the song becomes a concerning haze that raises a few dreary eyebrows. With this level of dissociation Igor is NOT okay. This could be considered his rock bottom.


Immediately you can tell this is going to be another rage filled song when an aggressive guitar riff starts off like it is in a hurry to get somewhere. He also screams before the first verse is over which is very telling. The best way I can describe this gripping song in its entirety in a short paragraph is by saying he finally enters GOD MODE. Overall, The highlight of this song, hands down, is any part where he talks about seeing “The light”. It is first mentioned paired with this dominating beat that feels like a rigid figure stomping its feet towards you. These “I see the light” foreshadows are always paired with that heart pounding beat. Jaggedly sorted pieces of Igor’s heart finally boil over in this overwhelming embrace. The most euphoric moment in this entire album is in this song making it one of the best songs. Tyler has been building and building and building on all this intensity and aggression until everything just stops.——— You can hear him breathlessly say “I see the light” one more time. You can feel the hopelessness lifting off of his chest in this grandeur moment and it is hard not to relish in it with him. He brings back his solo piano like in “I THINK” along with its intimacy. You can see him eyes closed finally standing in the sun experiencing JOY. At this point, the relationship for Igor is over and he is going to try and let go.


This fun loving song is Igor trying to deal with a heartbreak nasty enough to inspired an entire album. He starts by kicking himself for staying so long but eventually gets to a place where he is thanking his love for all the good times. He does say “now I’m scarred for life” and “I don’t ever wanna fall in love again” so it’s not exactly like he’s taking this well. “GONE GONE / THANK YOU” is split in two as the title predicts but the first half is surprisingly cheery and warm. You can see yourself running through a field of daisies to it or something tasteful like that. If you didn’t listen to the lyrics you would have no idea what it’s about. It has this child-like essence about it as well. It could be either because it’s about lost innocence or him kicking himself in immature self-pity. Igor is allowed to have that moment like everybody else but he eventually gets to a mature place in the second part. By the end, it sounded like he was reminiscing about the good old days instead instead of still having fierce emotions attached to every word.


HE IS OVER IT. The love Igor had is officially gone but moving on is a completely different story. Igor has his stability back but you can feel how butt-hurt he still is in his soft tone. He sounds like he is mumbling the title under his breath and then screaming it out instead of just saying it like someone who is okay with that. The chorus is a little more pointed and is exuding frustration left over from the longest uphill hike to ever exist for Igor. This is one of the shorter songs on the album but is still important to Igor’s story.


Even from the first second “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS” REEKS of nostalgia. With a humbled desperation, Igor goes back to this love and asks “Can we be friends”? The words are so powerful. It is the perfect outro the album and the perfect ending to Igor’s story. The musics beauty can get your tears jerking with such few words. Losing a friend or love interest is terrible and this in between place the song resides in is so fleeting it wonderfully adds unnecessary intensity. I guess we never know how Igor and his love interest end up. Either way, it is really hard to cut someone out of your life that has been there for a long time. It might hurt to be just friends but it is better then never seeing each other ever again. Even in this uncomfortable place the sample of Al Green’s “Dream” makes for a relaxing atmosphere filled with those random blasts of energy. Igor has finally reached peace and acceptance. All the emotion in his words makes this another one of my favorites. What a journey this album is.

Tyler the Creator
“Tyler the Creator” by Po’Jay is licensed under CC BY 2.0


“IGOR” along with Tyler, The Creator’s earlier release “Flower Boy” is a breath of fresh air after a few tense controversies surrounding his reputation. I have a sneaking suspicion though that the eye of the storm is exactly where Tyler wants to be. These controversies led to him being banned from performing in a few different countries throughout the years including England, Australia and New Zealand. You might be thinking the same thing as me. How is it possible for someone’s lyrics to be so provocative entire countries would ban them? I will say I am not disturbed easily but I certainly was not expecting to find lyrics like “Rape a pregnant bitch and tell my friends I had a threesome” so I can almost get it. We can debate in circles about the line between freedom of speech and dark humor all day but I think the only line he does cross is when it comes to the way he talks about women in some of his earlier music.

This is how I see it. Comedy is funny because of how outrageous it is but when is comes to a crime such as rape, is it okay to joke about? I would not feel comfortable in a social setting if someone made a comment like that. Now, music is a bit of a different story then a friendly social gathering. Artists have similar societal passes as comedians but every person also has a right to think something is not okay to say. The same right that that person has the right to say it in the first place. In the end, Everyone will have their own opinions on whether he crossed a line or not with his lyrics but he is allowed to say whatever he wants. He will however encounter societal consequences to saying these things like getting banned from countries and possibly losing a few fans. If a person is a victim of sexual assault they won’t put up with listening to something like that. There are no statistics on whether he lost fans or not during the controversias but his recent change with “Flower Boy” and “IGOR” that I mentioned earlier might be him choosing money, fame, etc. over the dark humor he used early on.

Back to “IGOR”, It’s a fantastic album and one of my personal favorites. Fully self-produced and arranged makes it impressive to say the least. The lesson we can learn from Igor is that you shouldn’t stay in a relationship where your needs are not being met. After everything the worst will still happen and you simply prolonged your unhappiness. People will not change unless they want to so all you can do is control your own actions. Get yourself out while you still have some of yourself left. Don’t let yourself be a PUPPET and maybe at the end you CAN STILL BE FRIENDS!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s