Tyler, the Creator's Goblin: A First Listen

Categories: First Listens

goblin-cover-art.jpg

Last year, Tyler, the Creator's arresting album Bastard won the then 19-year-old rapper and his vast, motley Odd Future collective attention and praise from sources including Pitchfork andBillboard. His second solo album, Goblin drops next week, the first physical product anyone from this group has released. To call it highly anticipated is an understatement. But is it good? We blogged our thoughts while hearing it for the first time:

"Goblin"
Six minutes, spare music, talking back to his deep-voiced therapist alter ego. Two minutes in, I've noted three big differences between this and Bastard's title opening salvo. There are occasional orchestral interjections that are pretty incongruent with the music. Tyler engages an audience for the first time, feeling the need to clarify that he's not actually a rapist/murderer. Also, "I'm not homophobic...faggot." But mainly, this isn't arresting. He rhymes "estrogen" and "pedestrian" awkwardly. "Sometimes I just want to die" was a suicidal teenager cliché back when Korn got child abuse on MTV. And in fact, this whole psychiatrist's-couch gimmick worked a lot better when we didn't know who Tyler was.

"Yonkers"
It's important to point out when Tyler's being fun, because it's not often. In "Yonkers," he vows to "make crack rocks out of pussy niggas' fishbones," and brags about "threesomes with a fucking triceratops." The beat's an atonal skeleton, the kind of track that album context can make or break. It sounds good after Goblin's Oedipal six-minute intro. But i don't see myself playing the intro often. And I'm not sure how often I'd need to experience this without the matching cockroach-eating visuals in the video, either.

"Radicals"
"Don't do anything I say in this song," he warns "white America." You know he doesn't give a fuck, because he's not even bothering to cultivate the aura of an is-he-or-isn't-he-serious mystery. This is a seven-minute paean to Odd Future's status as radicals, with distorted vocals and drums in a lightly screamed voice. Eminem's pro forma verses on last year's biggest hit, "Love the Way You Lie," are actually scarier-sounding. Tyler's problem is he doesn't know what he's trying to convince people of. He wants us to know he's not anything he says he is, just a pissed off teen. Okay! But he's 20 now. And I'm not sure he stands out so much in the grand scheme of pissed-off, musically inclined teens.

"She"
The second half of "Radicals" exploits that "PBR&B" thing the Weeknd and Frank Ocean are cultivating to big noise on the web, and Ocean continues the airy, amateurish synth swirl here. Tyler goes about ten seconds before mentioning his cock; Ocean wants to know if you touch yourself after hours. I laughed at "I'm just in love with you...cunt" and definitely wouldn't trust his "I just wanna talk and conversate."

"Transylvania"
A shuffling, mock-horror beat, speedy pitch-shifted rapping, and a concept where he's Dracula. The second fun one, which is alarming when one of the most prominent couplets here is "God damn I love bitches/ Especially when they suck dick and wash dishes." But this is as loose as this tight-ass gets, wrapping his voice around "She keeps sending me garlic/ How many times I gotta tell her I'm all-AR-gic" and "I don't want a bride/I just want bone marrow." I don't have a problem with him not having a problem smacking a bitch as long as he stays in character like this. But it feels like he's reaching: From pissed-off teen to fantasy rapist to Nosferatu, the "creator"'s characters are some of the oldest in the book.

"Nightmare"
"Fuck heaven/ I ain't showing no religion respect": Nice. If you couldn't tell, Tyler's settled into a groove by now. This one's relatively dreamy. He longs to be in "hell, where you don't ever have to fight fair." And he's as insecure as ever. If Method Man confessed he was "ugly," it would be interesting. But Goblin is quickly crossing over into Livejournal territory. He hates himself as much as he hates women, but not as much as he hates the blogs that don't know he's kidding. Maybe the next track will be about how "pathetic" he is. "Sometimes I'm mad, sometimes I'm not," he explains.


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20 comments
an0n
an0n

hes still 19

cuntsmasher92
cuntsmasher92

You complain about how Tyler being a hipster and then reference to the Weeknd and Curren$y throughout. Avid Pitchfork reader/reviewer right here?

Lilking93
Lilking93

Great, until you became simply pretentious. It is apparent you are not the audience for this. There is no one who mimics the sheer grotesque quality of tron cat without being simply vile. How many times have you seen a rapper make a clever joke about ejaculating into a girl's mouth?

James
James

Honestly SF Weekly, this guy is a shite writer

bobbyblacks
bobbyblacks

pretty much agree wit everythin else...you clearly have no fuckin clue wat your sayin, you just wanna be the asshole critic who says somethin to get people riled up. so congrats, people read your article. you might wanna tweet or get in touch with tyler before he makes his next album so you can talk about the lyrical content you want. MAKE YOUR OWN FUCKING ALBUM and dont bitch because one rapper makes an album with songs that actually say how he feels

dick
dick

tyler is done for, we all now how influential sf weekly bloggers are

DeadDads
DeadDads

He gets that hes kidding... well sorta. his lyrics are just brainflow. i dont care what hes talking about i just know what hes talking about is interesting in a fucked head kinda way. KUDOS to fatherless bastards.

Jake Woolf
Jake Woolf

"i dont need this shit" thats very nice for you dan...next time tyler will be sure to consult u when he makes the track list

AS-ISN'T CO.
AS-ISN'T CO.

Yo Dan, you have committed to public record the following remarks for your review of the track "Golden":

"Back to the therapist. More of the same. Bitch suck dick."

Retrospectively, when you're no longer writing about rap music for a living, perhaps you'll remember this moment -- when you slept on the most interesting album since the Marshall Mathers LP in favor of such "subversive" pomposity.

Casey
Casey

"Why didn't this reviewer like this album that I decided I was going to like no matter what before it was released? Maybe he's not emotionally immature enough to 'get it.' 2deep4u f4gg0t"

Gotta love Odd Future fans.

Osama Bin Laden
Osama Bin Laden

lol @ this dude. I think the album made him catch feelings.

nicetry
nicetry

You tried to put shit you don't understand into words and failed badly. Horrible review faggot.

Basketballjones
Basketballjones

Did you not realize that the person saying "cock" 10 seconds in to "She" wasn't Tyler . . . fucking moron

Dksldsa
Dksldsa

This review had some credibility until it turned into a pompous rant.

Jsmith
Jsmith

Review is trash, I understand you dislike the album and that's fine, but you come off as such a pompous prick I stopped reading after "Fish". Personally, I think it's a solid album.

John
John

Hey did Dan ever consider that he's not the target audience for this? It's also the same guy who was disappointed by the new Radiohead. I'd love to see what he actually likes. Good to know that he can judge an album so quickly though.

Doug
Doug

Wow, this read was as boring as it sounded! Kudos!

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