'Flower Boy' Manifests a Refined Tyler, The Creator
    • FRIDAY, JULY 21, 2017

    • Posted by: Peter Hammel


    "This is a crucial subject matter", Tyler, The Creator spits on "Garden Shed", a track that differs from the rest of his discography. His verse follows a 2'45" introduction that calls upon Mac Demarco's jingle guitar, heavy synth seven chords, a hint of shoegaze, and Frank Ocean's art sounds from Blonde.

    Flower Boys' opener initially feels like a typical Tyler song, sonically transforming into something more delicate. With slightly dissonant, high pitched percussion, what ensues is oddly timed guitar strums topped with atmospheric synths and pretty vocal features, a dramatic outro for a track given the responsibility of "Foreword". Frank Ocean whips out his elevated vocals from "Nikes" on the next piece. From melodic choices to aesthetic intentions, Tyler's work here is more restrained, less angry, and, simply put, pretty.

    Flower Boy manifests qualities that other Tyler albums never gave off. "Sometimes…" tersely prepares "See You Again" with a sample from a radio interview. "See You Again" then preps itself with downbeat piano block chords and collection of gorgeous vocals, topped with glockenspiel embellishments and quiet synth pads. The only track that revives "old-school Tyler" is "Who Dat Boy". It's produced in slight discordance with a resonant, deep bass. A$AP Rocky hops on the track and shouts out Vince Staples, and the conclusion has A$AP and The Creator tastefully trading fours.

    Between its prettiness, perceivably flamboyant album title, and insecure lyricism, it's hard not to call this album a coming out piece. There are blatant bars about sexuality ("I've been kissing white boys since 2004"), but the album's point is more than a potential coming out party. "Boredom" is Flower Boy's centerpiece, as it emphasizes loneliness and confoundedness, the recipe for a wandering mind that wants time to think things through. Conclusively, a lack of free time is what keeps the mind intact. And, according to Tyler, "boredom got a new best friend".

    While Tyler appears to be in a state of unrest, Flower Boy is a refined Tyler, both in his mental state and creational process. At 45 minutes long, this album is Tyler's shortest project yet. Again, it's considerate and pretty, not quite demonstrative of a "new" Tyler, just a refined one.
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