Friday, May 13, 2011

"Goblin" by Tyler The Creator

"Goblin" was released on May 10, 2011 on XL Records
Odd Future is a name that you can't go too far without hearing lately.  Ever since the collective made their national television debut on Jimmy Fallon back in February with the energetic performance of "Sandwitches", followed immediately by a frantic Mos Def shouting "Swag!  Swag! Swag!" into the camera, the group of young twenty/late teens have been blowing up.  Much of this hype comes from the massive explosion of Tyler The Creator's video for "Yonkers".  Getting hyped by artists like Kanye West, who made the claim that "Yonkers" was the best video of 2011, Tyler's new album, "Goblin" has been one of the most heavily anticipated releases of the year so far.  Released on May 10, 2011 by XL, Goblin takes your standard intelligent indie-hip-hop and adds a far darker, more unique twist to it.

Rapping about everything from "stabbing Bruno Mars in his god damn esophagus" to an unrequited love that's spilled out almost therapeutically, this album certainly proves that Tyler and the gang of wolves don't just stick to talking about money, guns, and raping bitches.

Don't get me wrong though, I'm not saying that Odd Future rapping about rape is something that everybody should be getting all riled up over, because it's pretty clear that they're not actually condoning anyone going out and committing acts like they shout out in the chorus of "Radical" with "Kill people, burn shit, fuck school".  The song opens up with a "random disclaimer" which consists of Tyler telling everyone that the song is "fucking fiction" and that white America can't blame him for it...well you can't say he didn't warn them in advance.  The second verse opens up with a line that could sum up the swag of Tyler and the wolf gang in as many words with, "Fuck cops, I'm a mother fucking rock star/Rebel and defiance makes my motherfucking dick hard".

The album powers through for the first five or six songs, but there are certainly parts of the album that feel like Tyler lost his footing.  Tracks like "Bitch Suck Dick" drag on, and it's not just because I'm turned off at the premise of a chorus only consisting of "My bitch suck dick like she suck dick", the verses have little to no memorable lines.  The song would have been better suited for a tumblr release, not one that's surrounded by excellent songs like "Fish", "Her", and "Transylvania".  "Transylvania" features pitch changed vocals with a morbid but all too catchy chorus of "I'm Dracula bitch/Don't got a problem smackin' a bitch...".  However, it's not just senseless rhymes throughout the song, Tyler pulls out some great lines as well, especially a bit about Buffy The Vampire Slayer who "keeps sending me garlic/how many times I gotta tell her I'm allargic".

The pleasure lies mostly in Odd Future and Tyler The Creator if you can sit down and accept them for what they are, a group of kids who are incredibly talented that want to go out and have some fun.  But when he's not being ridiculous and humorous with his vulgarity and talking about punching bitches, or making people shake like the "calmest fucking Haitian", Tyler The Creator reaches deep inside of himself and raps about his inner demons...this is where the artist truly shines through.  The bits that Tyler has with his therapist on the album are some of the brightest moments of the entire piece, and it's the dark and often personal lines that have been intricately woven together that really stick out.  It makes you forget that a 19-year old kid is the one that made these beats, wrote these rhymes, designed the art work, and much more.  It's a D.I.Y dream of talent paying off, but in this case there's some songs that certainly could have been left off to make the album a contender for album of the year instead of another solid Odd Future effort.

Don't view this as a discredit to the album though, "Goblin" is a great rap album, arguably the best hip-hop release of the year thus far.  It's less accessible than "Bastard", but it's also got far more depth and production behind it.  As Tyler evolves as an artist it will be interesting to see whether or not he begins to filter through the tracks like "Bitch Suck Dick" and "Radicals" in favor of the more introspective tracks, but then again that would take away a lot of the appeal for some people.  While Tyler's therapy sessions paint the picture of a confused teenager dealing with the stress of living everyday life while selling out shows across the globe it's arguable that the obscene tracks do just the same.  Tyler doesn't condone these actions, but he certainly can align himself with the images of rebellion and violence.  He expresses his frustrations most in the album closer of "Golden", a track that acts as a mirror into the mind of Tyler.  "Niggas saying 'Free Earl' without even knowing him/See they're missing a new album, I'm missing my only friend", it's spat out with fury along with lines like "Twenty, why didn't she get that abortion/Probably because that motherfucking embryo was morphing into a schizophrenic fucking orphan".

Tyler seems to be continuing to explore how deep the chasm can truly go, getting deeper and darker than lines on "Bastard" could have ever imagined.  But it's no surprise to the listeners and fans of Odd Future, Tyler 's first lines on the album are "I'm not a fucking role model/I'm a 19-year old fucking emotional coaster with pipe-dreams".  "Goblin" is a picture short of a masterpiece, ultimately because of how long it feels to drag on with weaker tracks like the previously mentioned "Bitch Suck Dick" and "Radicals".  However, this album acts as an introduction to Odd Future to many people, and looking at it with a clean slate the album feels pretty ground breaking.  Tyler may not be as on point on some songs as he is on the others, but he's still doing something completely different than anyone else in the game.  Like them or not, it's hard to deny that Odd Future is certainly killing them all, and with an upcoming album from MellowHype on Fat Possum, this is hardly the last you'll be hearing from these raucous teenage masterminds.

Rating: 8/10
Standout Tracks: "Yonkers", "Sandwitches", "Transylvania", "Her", "Troncat"

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