IGOR is Tyler, the Creator's fifth studio album that was released on May 17, 2019 by A Boy Is a Gun and Columbia Records.
- Igor's Theme
- I Think
- Exactly What You Run from You End Up Chasing
- Running Out of Time
- New Magic Wand
- A Boy Is A Gun
- What's Good
- Gone, Gone/Thank You
- I Don't Love You Anymore
- Are We Still Friends?
Work on "IGO" began in 2017, with Tyler initially writing the song "Earfquake" for Canadian singer Justin Bieber and Barbadian singer Rihanna, who both turned down the song.
The song "I Think" was recorded in Lake Como, Italy with the help of singers Solange, (whose vocals feature on the track) and Frank Ocean.
Tyler wrote "Running Out of Time" while taking a break from a recording session with American rapper ASAP Ferg, feeling reassured after Kendrick Lamar told Tyler he appreciated his singing.
He produced the beat for "Gone, Gone" in 2013 while on tour for his second studio album "Wolf", choosing to scrap it from both "Cherry Bomb" and "Flower Boy" since he didn't feel it fit either of those albums.
In an interview with Fantastic Man for their Autumn and Winter 2018 issue, Tyler was asked if he had ever been in love, to which he replied: "I don't want to talk about that. Um, that's the next record."
In October 2018, he previewed the song "Running out of Time" for an interview with Fast Company On April 26, 2019, a supplemental financial report from Sony revealed that a new album from Tyler was expected by the end of June.
In early May 2019, Tyler released snippets for the tracks "Igor's Theme" and "What's Good". The album was first announced by him through his social media accounts on May 6, 2019.
Theme & CompositionEdit
The album follows a narrative of a love triangle where Tyler is seeing a person who is at the same time still seeing his ex-girlfriend, who's pulling him back to her and away from Tyler.
American comedian Jerrod Carmichael serves as the album's narrator as it progresses, speaking short lines to make sense of Tyler's. The title character Igor's state of mind. Carmichael first appears on the album's fourth track "Exactly What You Run from You End Up Chasing".
The character Igor is mentioned by name on the tracks "Igor's Theme" and "What's Good". Igor follows the Gothic "Igor" archetype as a villain's assistant and represents a darker, aromantic side of Tyler that comes out.
Igor arrives after Tyler pours out all of his heart for his love interest, though his love interest remains focused on his ex-girlfriend. The arrival of Igor serves as a reset for the strong romantic emotions Tyler was entangled in the album's first half.
Rolling Stone writer Danny Schwartz described Igor as a "rich and messy mélange of R&B, funk and rap". The album is synth-heavy, with neo soul melodies and low-mixed vocals.
"IGOR" debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, making it Tyler, the Creator's first number one album, with 165,000 album-equivalent units (of which 74,000 were pure album sales).
"IGOR" was met with widespread critical acclaim. At Metacritic, the album received an average score of 81, based on 18 reviews.
Roisin O'Connor of The Independent gave a positive review, stating: "The production here is superb. Tyler has never been one for traditional song structure, but on IGOR he's like the Minotaur luring you through a maze that twists and turns around seemingly impossible corners, drawing you into the thrilling unknown. ... This is Tyler's best work to date."
Andy Kellman of AllMusic said: "Tyler and a motorcade's worth of supporting vocalists fulfill the promise and threat with what plays out, a creatively vital and emotionally heartsick set with as much pain, vulnerability, and compulsion as a classic soul LP."
Danial Spielberger of HipHopDX said: "On IGOR, Tyler showcases a more polished iteration of the hazy pop he's been perfecting for years. Though some might be disappointed that he's becoming more of a singer than a rapper, this is the kind of project that should encourage more artists to disavow labels and relish in taking risks."
Rolling Stone critic Danny Schwartz said, "Igor is a heartfelt album that finds Tyler lowering his guard and revealing himself to be a shape-shifting artist who is still growing, and who has fully shed his skin as a vulgar internet cowboy."
Sam Moore of NME stated: "IGOR is an accomplished and evergreen record that's well worth putting your phone down, turning the TV off and devoting your full attention span to."
Clash's Nick Rosebade wrote, "The trademark visceral beats, scathing lyrics and the general feeling of anger and aggression that peppered his previous albums have been replaced with slower beats and irresistible soul hooks. At first this change in tone, and pace, is jarring and you are waiting for it to kick off, but as the album progresses you get into it and dig this new Tyler."
Reviewing the album for Sputnikmusic, Rowan5215 stated: "IGOR is not by any means Tyler's best work, and at times deliberately plays against his strengths in order to keep the listener off-guard—this pays dividends in the stunning "I THINK" and "A BOY IS A GUN", less so on the repetitive and cloying "RUNNING OUT OF TIME" and "ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?". What it is, though, is a form of ragged beat-tape minimalist that Tyler wears extremely well."
In a mixed review, The Guardian's Dean Van Nguyen stated: "It's is no bad thing that Igor downplays Tyler's indomitable personality – but the writing and execution do not quite replace what has been lost. What's left is a fine showcase of ingenuity that too rarely burrows very far into your consciousness."