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Album Review: Tyler, The Creator–Cherry Bomb

I hate the stigma that seems to go along with Tyler, the Creator and Odd Future as a whole because to me it’s more a stigma against unrestricted creativity. I get it, they do some off-putting, esoteric things…but it would be naive to think that they don’t turn people off on purpose. To not listen to Tyler because you think you’re better than the 14 year old skater boys who bow at his feet would only be robbing yourself of something–and someone–special just for the sake of your own weird pride.

Everything about Tyler and his music and the whole empire he has built for himself seems so organic and real that the backlash he often receives is unwarranted. He knows how to unapologetically do whatever he wants, like the advertisement for the Golf Wang Vans with semen casually atop the sneaker. Tyler does everything his way; He has a clothing line and store made up of stuff like drawings of donuts he did in his school days, the album cover for Cherry Bomb is a drawing he did of himself on New Years Eve.

On top of all of that, Tyler is one of the most sincere music fans to be in the music business. His completely transparent excitement when getting to work with and meet his idols like Pharrell and Eminem, or even just his charmingly over-zealous all-caps tweets about music and music memorabilia (and charmingly over-zealous all-caps tweets in general) make it obvious that he GETS it. He isn’t jaded by being in the industry or having a lot of fans and is still a music fan himself.

The moment the sample of the guitar from Dee Edwards’ “Why Can’t There Be Love” starts in the first 2 seconds of the album with “DEATHCAMP,” you get an idea of exactly how lively the journey you’re about to embark on is. Produced by Tyler, this beat is infectious and reminiscent of an N*E*R*D track when paired with the interchanging of his signature deep, grimey voice and some falsetto-ish yelling. It’s the perfect introduction to the unpredictable adrenaline rush that Cherry Bomb is.

“FIND YOUR WINGS,” another track produced by The Creator himself, is an almost interlude-type break in the album that uplifts the soul. Tyler stated that it is his favorite song on the album, and also that he really wanted to get Stevie Wonder on the song–oh my god, how crazy would that have been?! But in spite of the track’s lack of Wonder, the almost cliche messages throughout to follow your own passion and spread your wings is a heart-warming and fitting message from the dude who always follows wherever his passion takes him.

From the second Tyler debuted the video for “FUCKING YOUNG/PERFECT” it was already a favorite on the album without having to hear the rest of it–though in sequence with the rest of the songs it gets even better. With Charlie Wilson on the hook, this irresistible ballad explores the turmoil of being in love with someone who’s too fucking young and having to fight the temptations that go along with that. We travel with Tyler through his conscious and paranoid inception of police knocking at his door even though he is doing everything in his power to fight his urges.

“SMUCKERS” is an obvious stand-out on the album giving us one of the best Kanye West verses probably since Yeezus dropped, and a great Lil Wayne verse to match. Going along with the whole idea of Tyler’s insane creativity and unwavering expressions of himself Ye drops quotables like “scarier than black people with ideas,” and “they say I’m crazy but that’s the best thing going for me,” further proving why rappers like these two are often scrutinized. This song also gives birth to a classic Wayne punch-line (this is the Internet, you can declare something a classic 2 seconds after it’s release) “I’m staring at a tramp on lean, make my eyes jump.”

Graced with the presence of superstar Pharrell (extremely topical Adidas Superstar Supercolor pun) “KEEP DA O’S” rounds out the album with a song that would be fitting to play both in the club and at a–very liberal–family barbecue. I have no idea what Tyler or Pharrell is saying on 80% of this song but the production alone is reason enough to love this song. The first two minutes and the last two minutes are like completely separate songs while still coinciding with one another weirdly beautifully. I can see myself over-playing this song and one day waking up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night with the beat pounding throughout my head à la the opening scene to a horror film.

Every song on Cherry Bomb is an exploration into the dangerous and delicious mind of Tyler, the Creator. One of his most innovative and daring projects to date–and there is a lot of competition–we are lucky to get to take this ride through the unapologetic, daring life and times of Tyler and his never-ending brainpower. From start to finish the engaging beats and provocative lyrics prove why all of us should work to be as exotic and honest as Tyler is both with us, and with himself.

About Rebecah Jacobs

From Los Angeles and living in New York. Always listening to music.

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