Album ReviewsHot

Tyler, the Creator – Goblin

on May 13, 2011, 8:00am
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What kid is ever cured after their second appointment with a therapist? It’s a process that takes a lifetime of introspection, honesty, and, most importantly, a willingness to accept change into your life. Tyler, the Creator has made some small steps in the doctor’s office all while keeping his defense mechanisms raised and his aggression palpable. He opens his second LP Goblin with the lines “I’m a 19-year old fucking emotional coaster of pipe dreams” and converses on the title track with self-conscious acidity about perception, mindsets, fame, suicide, and, of course, the familiar juvenile venom OFWGTKA champions as a way of life. Undeniably, it’s Tyler’s age that carries the plot of the album to its nether reaches. All of his so-called shock and hype can be traced back to him being one talented teenager with a microphone which is a gift for him and to us. So after Goblin drags on well past the one-hour mark, after hearing several tracks that are musically and lyrically insulting, after ideas and themes are lazily repackaged, after Tyler and his crew spit misogynistic and homophobic raps without agency one-too-many times, there’s a bittersweet sense of pity you feel for the kid.

Before the pity sinks in, a track like “Tron Cat” digs deep into the vulgarity Tyler wears without reservations. It’s prime Odd Future that jumps off the cliff with mouth-agape imagery (“rape a pregnant bitch then tell my friends I had a threesome”), too-soon cultural references (“Got a nigga shaking like the calmest fucking Haitians”), and absurdest punch-lines (“I’m awesome, and I fuck dolphins”). To the same extent, there’s the now ubiquitous “Yonkers”. Instead of drunken synths and bloody beats, there’s a sparse drum loop Dre would be proud of, an incessant dog-yelp propelling the momentum, and thick jazz chords played clean on a piano. Clever, cultured, and crass — “c-words” we actually care about when they comes from Tyler’s mouth.These two songs lead the sweet spots on Goblin, with the former displaying the best of what was, and the latter exhibiting the best of what’s to come in Tyler’s career.

As on his first LP, 2009′s Bastard, Tyler plays therapist to himself, literally, casting his digitally lowered asthmatic growl as the purported voice of reason. The Therapists’ recurrence here is the first hint that Goblin is more of a continuation of Bastard — in other words, Tyler still hasn’t gotten up off the couch. The freedom of this frame allows for a similar purging of the subconscious, which alternately lifts the album up, and then buries it. The exuberance and anarchistic glee on the “Radical” fully embraces his myopic nihilism. Sure, the shout-chorus “Kill people, burn shit, fuck school” may be a trope in the punk wheelhouse, but it’s a moment where all inhibitions are dropped and the core of Tyler’s voice connects to the masses.

And if you’ve seen Odd Future live, and you’ve seen them perform “Radical”, you know that they are all about connection to the audience. Crushingly, that connection is all but absent for the majority of the album. In its place are too many fragmented and familiar exhibits, hastily mounted with embarrassing (and pitiful) amounts of pride. His anger Goblin is too unabridged to function as a narrative for Tyler to air his grievances, and the length of the album, 72 minutes, unfortunately catches Tyler in the act of amusing himself with low-road middle-finger diatribes like a petulant teenager.

Shock as a tactic has eroded over the years, and Tyler’s attempts to repeatedly lionize his demons don’t land anywhere near the target of innovation or originality that he banks on. What’s more is that Tyler revels in the belief that these thoughts of his deserve an equally macabre musical accompaniment in the form of repellent dungeon-synth drag-beats. Gilding the lily isn’t quite the right phrase, but you get the idea. As a result, tracks like the Dracula rape-fantasy of “Transylvania” or the Aquatic rape-fantasy of “Fish” don’t spit vitriol and connect, but disengage and rot in the corner of a record that begs to have more urgency. The unnecessary outro on “Radical” and the plodding and aimless “Window” contribute accurately to the mood of Goblin, but with the same tired shade of death that is been painted elsewhere.

As the final entry on the album “Golden” closes, and Tyler is carried off in a straight-jacket by The Therapist after murdering his entire crew, you get the sense that this therapy session was more or less a complete failure. Tyler knows he hasn’t conquered anything, or learned anything, or took anything to heart. How can you not feel sorry for both his character on the album and sole creative force behind Goblin? With so much talent bursting from his core and no filter to sift out bullshit (“Bitch Suck Dick”), a sordid family history and a new-found place in the spotlight (“Nightmare”), no real idea how to talk to women (“She”, “Her”, oh, and any time he says “cunt”), the kid still has a long way to go before he finds a cure. All this underlying pathos ultimately makes for a sad and honest chapter in Tyler’s career — his young, ground-breaking, fascinating, magnetic career that’s only like, three years old. He’ll get off that couch of his soon enough.

27 comments

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Sheree
July 3, 2014 at 6:08 pm

Thanks , I have recently been searching for info approximately this topic for a long time and yours is the best I have found out till now. However, what concerning the bottom line? Are you certain about the source?

jgiupdkg@gmail.com
February 25, 2014 at 5:38 am

I can’t afford a midi keyboard on my student budget, but I love writing music in my spare time, and have just got Reason, and can’t cope any longer without a midi keyboard. Is there any software that can allow me to use a normal keyboard as a midi keyboard? It wouldn’t be that hard… Oh, and by the way, I’m on vista, not mac!. . Thanks for your help..

Zeus Silver
May 23, 2011 at 1:51 am

 Hmm, I see we have a bunch of idiots commenting on a dumbass review.  First off let me tell you: YOU DON’T KNOW TYLER THE CREATOR, NEITHER DO I, SO STOP TRYING TO DELVE INTO HIS MIND.  Lyrically Tyler is a genius, and like he says, he doesn’t give a fuck what you think, he says stuff to piss off blogging faggot hipsters like yourselves.I think he is amazing, his word play, voice, lyrical metaphors, and story telling are amazing, he even produces all his own beats, this guy is a genius beyond his years, better than most of these old ass rappers and these faggot ass new rappers.  Fuck you people, most of you are shit and will never understand music.  I bet you care about the “mainstream” and “the underground” haha.  Listen to what you want,and do what you want. You people care too much about what people think about you, that makes you all FAKE so none of you can give advice, ratings, or anything.  Good day, I am Zeus and I have had fun crashing your dreams of you ever being important to anyone other than yourselves.

hmmm
May 22, 2011 at 5:57 am

 never has a review made memore angry. fuck you. obviously this album wasnt made for faggots who know or care what “myopic nihilism” actually means. fuck you

mv7400
May 17, 2011 at 9:16 pm

I think it’s kinda stupid that people say “if you don’t like it, don’t comment.” isn’t that the whole point of commenting? being able to voice your opinion on something wether you agree with it or not? Personally I like tyler I think he’s amazingly talented and agree fully with MJ miami about the character creation, but you ca’t solely rely on the shock of a rapist serial killer to carry a whole album. Which he doesn’t and i think the highest points of the album is when he moves away from that theme a little bit. But hell he’s 19/20 years old that in its self is amazing when you consider what he’s achieved   

Tyler
May 18, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Yeah because young rappers haven’t been manufactured through over-hype and publicity > long-standing effort before.

That Guy
May 14, 2011 at 6:29 pm

 He wrote this for himself. Most of it was written before he even went big, so a 3 star review on CoS isn’t gonna break this kid. Everyone has an opinion. I’d give it 3 1/2 stars maybe. Bastard was better, only because Earl was present. FREE EARL

Tyler
May 14, 2011 at 5:01 pm

 the way I see it, either:
- He’s making a career out of stereotypical hipster irony, where all of his lyrics are mocking rap and hip-hop tendencies. I remember a lecture by Ian MacKaye where when asked what he thought of the reliance of artists on irony as a platform he said: “Eh, fuck irony.” It’s totally devoid of any meaning and just attacks others who try to have a purpose; it shows that the artist is just stuck in the mire of post-modernism. And how lame is it that Tyler and all his fans can sustain such a weak joke for so long, with so much faux-enthusiasm? It’s been done before and it wont last.
- or, he’s simply rehashing the same bullshit every other rapper has done for the past 20 years, and all of his fans are just desperate to cling on to something relatively obscure. E

Chadeo
May 13, 2011 at 8:52 pm

He’s talented; yes.  He’s got a good voice, Imaginative mind, and sits well in the pocket of a beat.  There is nothing original about what he does.  Horror-core rap has been around since the early 90′s  I wouldn’t buy his album, but I would like to see where he is in 10 years.  I’m hoping there’s some growth.

NJmiami
May 13, 2011 at 5:41 pm

For all of the haters here… obviously no one is forcing you to listen.  Okay.  Great.  But Jay-Z really captured these criticisms very well in his book.  If you think that Tyler is really out there smoking crack, raping nuns, and puking on schoolchildren, I’ve got news for you… Matt Damon does not go out between Bourne movies and kill CIA agents.  Pacino… he wasn’t really in the mob.  Since everyone here should be able to agree that being a musician TODAY is about more than what your music sounds like.  People create images.  They create characters.  These are the characters that these people have chosen to create.  If you don’t like those characters, retreat to CBS where it is nice and safe.

@34e228154c8d20a086fcdb21717ea9b8:disqus Chill out, man.  I’m sure that your farts stink just fine… just like mine.

Michael Roffman
May 13, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Good points, but flawed – somewhat. They may be creating characters, but it doesn’t come off that way to plenty of people. Look at what happened in Boston. Go watch the video on Pitchfork: http://pitchfork.com/news/42513-riot-breaks-out-at-tyler-the-creator-signing/ The fan himself says it best, claiming that’s what they’ve come to expect from them. I think there’s a difference here, simply because there’s a new evolution going on right now. There’s less of a barrier between fans and artists, given Twitter and Facebook, and especially for a group like Odd Future which was born from that, so many folks consider it real. It’s similar to the way some viewers think reality television is just that…reality. It’s not, but…it doesn’t change the fact that some people take it that way. Now, you can make the argument that this sort of reasoning could be applied to a variety of formats – as you have with Bourne and Pacino – but when the lines are so blurred as they are here with such a new and innovative group, you’re going to see some very impressionable people. The Boston incident is a great example of that. So, yes, you’re right, they ARE characters, but to counterpoint, or just play Devil’s advocate, Odd Future keep their foot in the door between reality and fiction.

Stacey
May 13, 2011 at 10:06 pm

 Actually, as happens many times with people who play their music so loud in their cars and drop their bass so it rattles my core, I will probably be forced to listen to this. Knowing that the person playing this music is getting enjoyment out of listening to lyrics about my gender being raped and desecrated is absolutely terrifying. Music doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

hank
May 15, 2011 at 6:05 pm

I see your point that all artists create characters whose attitudes and beliefs may be different from their own personal style.  But to compare movie characters’ actions to that of musicians’ is a little far fetched.  So many movies – especially the ones you listed – are sensationlized to the point that it’s obvious the characters do not carry these practices over to their personal life.  No duh Matt Damon isn’t killing CIA agents.  Music is different though.  There have been generations upon generations of artists/bands who use music as a medium to speak their thoughts, beliefs, and morals.  Their craft and their real-life actions are one in the same.  Not saying that this is always the case with Tyler, but when the (mostly) vulgar subject matter of his music mirrors his actions on Twitter and in reality, it’s hard for people to distinguish the two. 

Or maybe he’s just music’s Borat.   

FnF_UP
May 13, 2011 at 3:23 pm

 I agree with @ab18afa58c9b01e7d1353023e23d4b28:disqus . If you guys don’t like the critics evaluation, why even read it. You guys obviously sat and listened to the album, or you didn’t and are just saying thats its garbage. Its a form of expression. He’s creative, and hes the one willing to go where other artists wont. And thats what ART is. You have to go beyond common boundaries to get yourself out there. Thats why he made those comments about Bruno Mars and B.o.B. he doesn’t hate them directly, he justs hates the brand of music they put out because he sees no originality and creative process about it. He’s an artist, in its purest form. All artists speak through their upbringing, and he has had a troubled youth. And this is s how he voices himself. His dad left him, his mom left him. How angry wouwould you be if your parents left you? All he’s doing is expressing himself. Granted, the violence and sadistic tendencies are overwhelming at points, but dont you think people were overwhelmed when someone painted the first icture of a naked woman. or a picture of a couple having sex. or the first slasher flick. itss expression. nothing more nothing less.

Adrian Garro
May 13, 2011 at 3:37 pm

you say “if you don’t like the critics evaluation, why even read it?”

how would anybody know the critic’s evaluation was negative without reading it at all? 

Adrian Garro
May 13, 2011 at 3:11 pm

 I wonder how many people said things like this about Eminem early on in his career…

Remember, Tyler didn’t make this album for “bloggers”, he made it for “himself”, or whatever. That said, I do agree with some of this review, as it’s very disjointed and I absolutely despise “Bitch Suck Dick”. There’s no hiding the fact that Tyler is pretty talented, and the beats on Goblin are great, but I also think he has a lot of room to grow.

kmh
May 13, 2011 at 2:45 pm

I’m glad I’m not the only one who sees this album and artist for what it really is, utter shit. 

Michael Roffman
May 13, 2011 at 5:22 pm

He doesn’t believe it’s “utter shit.” He champions the artist, in fact. It’s unfair to the author to say otherwise.

NJmiami
May 13, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Your reading comprehension skills are lacking.

jchristian
May 13, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Popmart00 is right on! That all of the “Cool” people will be listening to this as if it is Hendrix or even Public Enemy is laughable. I am surprised that CoS didn’t give it 5-stars; they are usually the sycophants when it comes to this type of bullshit. Tyler, the instigator, useless garbage. But he’s got us talking about him, and that’s all he really wants. Lets make another moronic idiot a billionaire. Sad state of “music” today.

Taysfmx
May 13, 2011 at 1:53 pm

and if you’re going to diss the website that posted this, then why are you even on here?!? dude, get a life and go comment on something that you actually ARE interested in.  

Dan
May 13, 2011 at 8:28 pm

I think it’s funny that you call him a “moronic idiot”. If you listen deeper to the music, you would realize that he is actually a very intelligent person.  He built Odd Future from the ground up with no help from a large record label, built his legacy by giving his music away for free, has one of the best selling g albums in the world, and he’s 20 fucking years old.  Yeah, he must be really stupid. 

Dan
May 13, 2011 at 8:28 pm

I think it’s funny that you call him a “moronic idiot”. If you listen deeper to the music, you would realize that he is actually a very intelligent person.  He built Odd Future from the ground up with no help from a large record label, built his legacy by giving his music away for free, has one of the best selling g albums in the world, and he’s 20 fucking years old.  Yeah, he must be really stupid. 

Taysfmx
May 13, 2011 at 1:12 pm

@popmart00   If you don’t like the music, don’t listen to it.  Nobody wants to hear how explicit music is ruining the youth.  Don’t like it? Don’t comment on it? Tyler is really talented and thats what matters. Nobody wants to hear your comments about this.

Popmart00
May 13, 2011 at 12:25 pm

 I know that most people don’t care anymore and that they are going to curse me out for saying this stuff. No wonder this country is messed up, when people listen to this kind of music with profanity, sexual garbage and violence, they think it is all right. First of all don’t give me that crap about freedom of speech, freedom of speech is not about behaving or acting like this, if the founding fathers who wrote the freedom of speech found out that it would end up like this they would be devastated. When I look at the kids today they all have filthy things coming out of their mouth with no respect for anyone, sleeping around with everyone, no wonder half of them are suffering from STD’s and other sexual diseases. This kind of crap has to stop, again I know you want to curse or beat the hell out of me, but I know that there are still decent people out there who think that this kind of stuff Is wrong and it is wrong. We have taken freedom of speech and threw it in a toilet ball with raw sewage swimming around it. The way society is going the way it is (Lack of respect, STD’s, Violence, Divorces, anything goes and nothing is wrong any more) imagine how bad it is going to be in another 25 years, we have to change our ways and become decent with high morals or this country is going to go down. Again I know most of you reading this don’t give a crap and are laughing at me really hard, but that’s the truth.

Dnl_parra
May 13, 2011 at 3:00 pm

If you listened to his music, you would understand that he’s being sarcastic and just doesn’t care. If you’re going to blame the music for things like Columbine ask yourself where the parents went. That’s all Tyler raps about. How his parents didn’t care. He wants people to feel like they mean something.

Mkick64
November 28, 2011 at 3:08 am

Your Just Making tyler More And More Famous, Your Feeding him, Tyler is a guinuine Rapper not even horror-core just guiness Lyrics, yes they might be “rapey” but in a song named “Radical” He say’s, and i quote, ” im not saying go do crimes or stupid shit” . Ect he Might be A bad influence But he defiently has Good morals, and i hope you understand that the world is fucked up Because people like you are just feeding bad influenses.