Breaking into the mainstream conscious with the music video for “Yonkers,” an explosion performance on “Fallon” and record deal with XL, Tyler, The Creator has lead his crew Odd Future to gain some serious traction in the past six months. But with traction comes the price of fame, and Tyler’s been having some sobering struggles handling his new-found celebrity; he’s been overly simplified and vilified by one side and hyped, touted and glorified by the other side. This diverged dragging of character has taken an understandable toll on Tyler, and the effects indicated show up full force on his label debut Goblin.
Tyler and Odd Future have been cranking out tapes for years and Goblin isn’t exactly a deviation from the OF norm. It maintains that home-cooked feel of an OF tape and is still littered with disturbia-filled, black lyrics (see “Tron Cat”). But where Goblin strays from the standard is how Tyler addresses pretty much every criticism of character that’s been shot his way over the past few months, be that the stress of producing since Kanye tweeted about Tyler, people saying he’s a role model, or dealing with Bill O’Reilly (“Fuck Bill O’Reilly”).
The thing to keep in mind, though, is that Tyler is only freaking nineteen years old. Even though he’s achieved a huge amount of success, he still deals with nineteen year old problems like a nineteen year old. He’s got self-doubt, daddy issues, and girl problems, and it’s reflected in Goblin. My pal Bryce pretty much said it best in a text: “heads up its long, really emo, and tyler breaks character :/ it’s still got some bangers on it though.” While a whole lot of Tyler’s stuff deals with super-murky topics, there is another, much more introverted, emotional side to Tyler, which can be incredibly disjointing considering the differing audiences listening to Tyler; when the misogyny-centric track “Tron Cat” goes into the friend-zone-stuck “Her” there’s a distinct moment of “wait, what?” Ultimately though, it’s best that Tyler flashes this delicate side because it shows that he’s not actually an evil Bastard (I mean he does directly tell the audience he doesn’t do any of that shit he says).
In the end, Goblin is just another Odd Future tape with a price tag. It strides with most of OF’s strengths: in-jokes, alter-egos, and OF culture (Free Earl, SWAG), and Tyler’s synth-haunting beats have never been tighter, especially with the surprising, Bowie-esque instrumental “AU79.” After over three years of giving away his stuff for free, Tyler’s not only deserving of some cash, but he’s crafted an album totally worth the cash (given if you have the stomach)
Joel Samson Berntsen (Africa to America Anthem - The Very Best)