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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ‘Wolf’ is nothing but typical Tyler, The Creator


    As the first track begins, all that’s audible is the low, sultry sound of jazz chords on a piano, building up over what seems like a rapturous eternity to include a glockenspiel and falsetto vocals, then blossoming into a full-fledged neo-soul assault.

    Could this really be the new Tyler, The Creator album? Were all Tyler’s reports in the lead-up to Wolf’s release about leaving his gory and homophobic raps behind to focus on production really true? Has Tyler, The Creator grown up?

    To Tyler’s credit, he doesn’t make you wait long for the answer. Precisely 31 seconds into Wolf’s eponymous intro track, Tyler gleefully slams the brakes on the jazz chords and growls, “Fuck,” his smile audible.

    Turns out we’re in for just another Tyler album. Excessive homophobia shrugged off on account of a close friendship with the famously bisexual Frank Ocean? Check. A tired cavalcade of alter-egos and therapists? Check. A horribly misguided M.I.A send-up called “Tamale”? Inexplicably, check.

    Of course, reviews discussing the musician rather than his music are exactly the reason Tyler’s feeling so depressed these days, and to his credit Wolf has its moments. Wolf’s first proper song, “Jamba,” is a fine return to the world of Odd Future, with a welcome cameo from Hodgy Beats and a surprisingly on-point opening line from Tyler: “Poppa ain’t call even though he saw me on the TV, it’s all good.”

    Other tracks are more par for the course, such as the brooding, off-kilter “Cowboy,” which only lacks punch on account of its being exactly the kind of track that Tyler’s mastered since his debut, 2009’s Bastard.

    The moody pitch-shifting of “Awkward” fares well, but better still is “Answer,” another in the long line of Tyler songs about his absent father. Tyler’s at his best when he’s reminding you he’s human, and the heartbreaking refrain of “I hope you answer” serves as a nice counterpoint to some of his more insipid material.

    Surprisingly, Wolf’s weakest songs don’t come from misdirected hate-mongering, as they have in the past. Rather, songs like the seven-minute-plus “PartyIsntOver/Campfire/Bimmer” and Frank Ocean-feature “Slater” suffer from a plain old lack of ideas and melody.

    Of course, on the other end of the spectrum there’s something like “Trashwang,” an absolutely insane posse cut in which Tyler incorrectly thought it was a good idea to throw a bunch of Odd Future’s non-rappers (save for the always-welcome Jasper and Taco) on the same track as one of his Waka Flocka beats and the lead singer of Trash Talk.

    Nothing’s quite as nauseating as “Colossus,” though, Tyler’s very own “Stan”, in which he plays the part of an adoring and — wait for it — gay fan. Then he reverts to himself, shouting homophobic slurs and asking you to feel bad that he gets hounded for autographs all the time.

    Overall, Wolf is pretty standard fare for Tyler, The Creator. Some good tracks, some detestable ones, some filler. If nothing else, with the Wolf trilogy done, maybe Tyler can finally ditch those concepts and go make an album with Earl Sweatshirt or something.

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