Track-by-Track Review: Tyler – Goblin

Tyler, the Creator doesn’t really need an introduction now does he? It’s widely known he doesn’t care about music critics but we’re analyzing his highly anticipated second album “Goblin” anyway, whether he gives a fuck or not. The album definitely evoked a lot of different opinions and might be the most discussed release at the moment – within Truancy circles this isn’t any different. A trinity of Truants (Donny, Aidan and Immy) assembled to do a track by track review of the record. Tyler, The Creator – Goblin out now.

1. Goblin

Aidan: “With this powerful intro track Tyler establishes the state of play – reminding anyone who didn’t know already that he raps about rape but that doesn’t stop everyone from giving him mad love, Kanye included, and that that love isn’t by any means reciprocated – while at the same battering us over the head with his world view, which, as we’ll find out later, is basically Fuck Everything. His conscience is a clear thematic device, one which allows him both to acknowledge the criticisms levelled at him for his homophobic language (among other things) and to ignore these criticisms anyway. Whutevah, Ah do whut ah want!”
Immy: “Although Goblin is a more than just a “decent” artifact, on a first listen it was a bit of a downer for me that Tyler aimed a good amount of his messages towards critics, making the album harder to relate with for the non-famous and subsequently losing part a good amount of his charm. The inclusion of this track was probably needed so Tyler could get all this off his chest without making it a running theme. Unfortunately it did turn into one. The production on this one is tight though.”
Donny: “I think it’s actually pretty great that Tyler decided  to set everything straight with the first track. The fact that he continues to do this throughout the rest of the album though, is a big disappointment and hurts the record more than it helps. He should have just said what he needed to say here, and moved for the rest of the record. That said, I love this line; “Pressure’s on me like this top hat/ Bastard intro, how the fuck am I gonna top that?” That was actually a thought I had before going into this album. It made me pretty happy that he addressed that.”

2. Yonkers

Aidan: “What can we say that hasn’t already been said? Context doesn’t add to or take away from this track – even if you’ve heard it a hundred times (or probably more) already it still makes for damn compelling listening – don’t we all want to dance around the house in all-over print panties?”
Immy: “This track has been over analyzed to bits already and the main reason (or felon, as bitter Odd Future purists would say) for the hype that escalated over the last few months, so we can leave it at this.  It made me feel kind of relieved it’s on here though, same goes for Sandwitches and that’s because I knew it was going to be on the album. After a few listens I don’t really understand the entirety of Goblin sequence-wise, as opposed to his debut that made sense to me as a conceptual album. I guess the majority of Goblin is ‘shuffle material’, not necessarily a bad thing but this might be the reason why so many people are troubled by it – the narrative being the only line that runs through the record with the exception of two or three transitions.”

3. Radicals

Aidan: “Don’t do anything that I say in this song’ – if you’re gonna scream ‘Kill people, burn shit, fuck school’ the message is diluted more than a bit with that kind of disclaimer. I ain’t feelin’ this one guys.”
Immy: “The disclaimer is off putting, for someone who doesn’t give a shit about what people think he cares enough to implement an ironic introduction. Slight Neptunes vibes on this one, which would’ve been a good thing if the track wasn’t so cheesy. It has turned into an Odd Future anthem in a short amount of time and although it’s a guaranteed weapon of destruction for their live shows, the energy doesn’t translate well into a studio version. I don’t hate it though, but it’s a bit superfluous.”

4. She (feat. Frank Ocean)

Aidan: “This mah song! Frank rapping? Supreme nunchucks will sell the fuck out when this track drops. Frank’s chorus is – to me – reminiscent of Erykah Badu’s guest spot on You Got Me, and his cries of ‘He’s at your window’ have a genuine air of fear about them. Tyler screaming ‘gawjiss’ is similarly unsettling, though the girl’s screams in this song really have nothing on the scream half-way through epaR.”
“Not really feeling this one and I’m like in love with everything else by Mr. Ocean. I like the subject matter and lyrics but this beat is just incredibly boring and the song goes nowhere. At least that’s how I felt on first listen. It’s grown on me since, but not much. The only real “stinker” for me on the album so far.”

5. Transylvania

Aidan: “Tyler rapping at double-speed. Why wouldn’t he identify with Dracula? Another alias, another character for him to embody. He rides for Miss Piggy but he’s sick of Buffy. ‘I can’t eat pussy cause I might leave cuts, then there’s blood on the sheets but that might be a plus.’ This kinda line is amusing, but this is another of those ‘kill bitches’ tracks that raises eyebrows – like he’d give a fuck, as he keeps reminding us.”
“Probably my favorite track on first listen. Left Brain kills the production. Love this dirty sound and the dirty drums/bass kick is perfect here. “Bite her in her fucking neck! Bite in her fucking neck! Bottom of the fucking lake! Bottom of the fucking lake!”

6. Nightmare

Aidan: “So ‘brain damaged, therapy is the only thing I regret’ – is this a shout to Eminem? The spirit of Marshall Mathers is heavy in this one, and Tyler’s self-hatred and apathy is reminiscent of dude’s early work. We get references to his newly uncovered family begging for the trappings of fame just like on Marshall Mathers, but then that same honesty is counterbalanced with a twisted pitch-shift and cries of fiery deaths. GZA and Plain Pat are calling but it’s all too much for the aspirational sell-out – ‘I ain’t killed myself yet and I already want my life back.’”
“Love that line, “I ain’t killed myself yet and I already want my life back.”

7. Tron Cat

Donny: “This track is epic. So much better within the context of the album. This is like Tyler’s “Just Don’t Give A Fuck.” I’m in love with the break where he says, “Victim, victim, honey you’re my fifth one…” Great timing on that break.”

8. Her

Aidan: “This is pretty moving. Probably the track I for one can identify with most, like hating someone but knowing that if they call you’re just going to smile. And not having the balls to own up to it. Still a lot of bitch talk though.”
Immy: “I like it. This is Goblin’s Sarah, “another love song about shit” from his first album. Comparing them, the instrumentals on Her are better whereas Tyler’s flow on Sarah is sharper. This is the case with most tracks if you set both albums side by side. His productions have gotten better (not good enough to base an entire record around however), but I wish he would stop focusing on old material. He can still grow as a rapper and with enough experience he’ll be even more stupefying in three years. Point in case, his third album “Wolf” is already finished, which means that at the end of the year we’ll be hearing a side of Tyler some people have already gotten tired of today. If he could balance producing and rapping I’d gladly tell him to experiment all he wants if I got the chance, but I think it would help his output if he focused on his actual rapping and get some other Odd Future member (or Pharrell) on the buttons while he can concentrate on evolving as a rapper.”

9. Sandwitches (feat. Hodgy Beats)

Aidan: “Like Yonkers, it’s hard to talk about this with fresh ears, but that new intro rides hard.”
Donny: “I was familiar with the intro because I own the Itunes version so it’s even a bit staler for me. It sounds like they’ve mixed it again since then though sounds nicer but I’ve still played the hell out of this track. Hodgy’s verse is still a favorite of mine though and I still find it enjoyable months later so that’s a plus.”
Immy: “Hodgyyyyyyy.”

10. Fish / Boppin Bitch

Aidan: “With his second reference to Taylor Swift we see that the all-American princess is the opposite of the skinny tall black dude. It’s almost like he’s saying ‘I’m everything you hate – come at me bro’.”

11. Analog (feat. Hodgy Beats)

Aidan: “As above – ‘This is not Dawson’s Creek’ – it sure as hell ain’t.”
“I know “She” is gonna be the next video (they shot a video for it) but this should be the next single. A lot of potential in this track. One of the less offensive tracks and it’s a great beat. I can definitely see some great remixes of this in the future. Summer track right here.”
Immy: “They performed this two days before the release of Goblin on BBC Music – and although they supposedly weren’t into it, it sounded quite promising. And indeed, this is one of my favourites off the album. It’s just so innocent compared to the rest of the LP which I think is a good thing. Very sunny, catchy too.”

12. Bitch Suck Dick (feat. Jasper Dolphin & Taco)

Immy: “I hear the spirit of Bricksquad in this track. It’s just silly though, in a cute way.”
“Okay in short, this song sucks. Hearing this you almost think ‘Oh shit, this is just some teens left in a studio to do whatever the hell they want…’ And isn’t that what it is? Not everything that Tyler shits is gold. But he’d just say fuck you anyway. And hey, by the end of the track, he’s shot Jasper and Taco. As we’ll later find out, it’s not just cause of this song, but cause that’s just what he’s doing, but on my first listen I assumed he was embarrassed at how bad this track turned out. I can but dream.”
“Yea, I’m not entirely sure why Tyler thought it was a good idea to put Taco and Jasper on a track. This song is definitely one of those tracks that people will use as an example of them just being stupid, and loud kids that we’ve given too much attention.”

13. Window (feat. Domo Genesis, Frank Ocean, Hodgy Beats, & Mike G)

Donny: “I like the idea of this song but not a big fan of the excution. There are some good verses here (Frank’s and Hodgy’s in particular) but I think the fact that the song goes absolutely nowhere beat wise hurts it. It’s too long and pretty boring. By the time you get to Tyler’s verse, you almost want the track to end but then it just goes on for another two minutes. It would have worked better as a short interlude with some quick, smaller verses. The weird thing is this is supposed to be a ”look at us” track and it’s boring as hell. I’m sure Tyler thought he was being clever making a slow swag rap track but it’s not very good or clever, just boring. I would’ve cut this, Bitch Suck Dick, and She.”
Immy: “Co-sign. It’s just too slow to make any real impact. The instrumental is really simple compared to the rest of the tracks on the album, which would call for some weighty verses and although the contributions by the others aren’t bad, they don’t blow my mind. I usually like Tyler’s skits too, but it takes too long to build up to the one at the end, by the time we’re arriving at the Odd Future Massacre people will have lost their attention. If you finally make it through to the end after a couple of attempts, I have to admit that the part where he shoots Hodgy is quite sad.”

14. AU79

Aidan: “This is one fat beat. Is he sliding from one time signature to another? Does it matter? Head-nod shit to make you break yo’ neck.”
Immy: “Busta Rhymes should get on this, quadruple-speed.”

15. Golden

Aidan: “The culmination of everything. ‘Niggas sayin Free Earl without even knowing him, see they’re missing an album – I’m missing my only friend.’ How can you go from Sandwitches to this? This utterance shows the contradictions and inconsistencies that fame and visibility bring you. ‘You have a huge following – these white kids?’ He knows all the answers, as the title-track showed he knows just what to say to demonstrate how clued-in he is, but ignores his own advice and just says whatever. Conflicted and compelling. Just like the album.”
“Great way to close this album. Not to draw more Em parallels but this definitely does feel like “Still Don’t Give A Fuck.” Completely airing shit out and setting the record straight so to speak. I don’t know how anyone could not know where Tyler stands by time you get to the end of this track.”
Immy: “This is the only song with shock value that gets me. I feel like most other darker tracks on the album are on it just for the sake of being offensive, 666 and all that, they are not quite disturbing enough to make you feel bad after listening nor are they joyous enough to dismiss them as a complete joke. Although I hated on the first track because he was complaining about his success so much, having him break down over his success in such an emotive way is quite heavy, going through the record I was definitely not expecting a track like this to come to light at the end. It also includes the table line everyone was waiting for. Definitely a Goblin climax.”



Aidan: “This is one hell of an album – it’s not always an easy listen and Tyler makes you work. I could easily say a few tracks need to be left off but then whatever about my opinion, this is about the identity and mentality of OF, so without the cries of ‘kill people, burn shit, fuck school’ the lament of Her and the conflict of Nightmare just don’t carry as much weight. Anyway, as he states he’s making music for the guy in the mirror. A little bit too much self-aggrandising, and maybe he needs to spend a little less time taking pot-shots at critics, but there’s plenty for everyone to sink their teeth into. At the end of the day, we all know this will be the most talked-about album of the summer. Over to the floor…”
Immy: “The more I listen to Goblin without actually trying to think about it, the more I like it. Although we just did the opposite, this album isn’t one to overanalyze in order to enjoy it to the fullest especially with the semi-random arrangement of the tracklisting. It’s good fun though, a record by Tyler aimed at his friends and fans. He’s not out to please a wider audience at the moment and I think Tyler has made this much clear himself, but if he wants to appeal to more people or step it up a level in general he should get people involved from outside his own collective. I’m not necessarily talking popstars (although he would love that and so would I), just other good rappers or producers. I think it’s a good record though and it’s probably one of the better hip-hop records out there at the moment, but it will be forgotten about in a matter of time. A good Summer album, though. Some beautiful jams on there – my favourite tracks being Golden, Analog and (forever) Yonkers. On a bit of a Tyler O.D. here though, let’s hear it for an official Frank Ocean release or get Jasper and/or MellowHype in the studio.”
Donny: “Aidan brought up the potshots towards critics, and what I think is funny about that is this feels like a critic first sort of album. I’m not sure what a lot of newcomers or even Tyler’s target audience (high school kids and skaters?) will get out of this. Most of the songs are too long to be consumed in any sort group of session and there aren’t any memorable hooks. Tyler talks a lot about selling out but this is the least commercial rap album I’ve heard in awhile and that’s even comparing it to more “underground” and blog rap artists. I like the album and I appreciate what it’s doing but If I can admit to it being a hard listen, what are less analytical and younger listeners going to think/say? Bastard is an easier listen and that’s something I wasn’t expecting to say when we finally got to listen to Goblin.”


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