Tyler’s Flower Boy (2017) is one of those albums that I can’t imagine my life without. Part of that might be because I LOVE him, but a large part of that is the circumstances that existed in my life during the time Flower Boy came out. I won’t get into too much about my appreciation for Tyler – we’ll save that for another M.F.O.A.T., but you should already know by now that he is one of my favorite people.
The summer that Flower Boy came out, I was working at a computer camp as the program coordinator, after my sophomore year of college. And that year was actively one of the worst I’ve ever had in my life. From my parakeet dying from a respiratory infection, to my mom breaking her ankle at home (by herself!), to me falling asleep in class everyday because I was going to work at my college’s day care several mornings (and in between classes) during the week, to my grades slipping because I was also doing a lot of other extracurricular things that were taking up a lot of my time, to me not getting more than 4 hours of sleep a night because I was working on trying to learn how to code because I thought I was gonna be a computer scientist but all I got was stress and failed tests – I was going through it. And on top of all of those things, I was feeling more and more separated from my friends.
And separation was really one of the most difficult things for me to deal with. I’ve never been very good at making friends lol I’m just a nice person (I hope!) and people just seem to want to talk to me? So I usually make friends that way. I’m trying to learn how to put myself out there more, but since that hasn’t been something I’ve been able to do yet, I still struggle with that aspect of my life. Self-doubt, self-confidence issues, blah, blah, blah. So as a result, once I have some friends (especially close ones!), I try my best to keep them in my life longterm, and it really does bother me when that doesn’t happen or when I start to feel riffs in those friendships.
I’ve lost close friendships before, so I know how it feels and the signs when it’s about to happen, and that’s what I was starting to feel in some of my more important friendships that year. I started feeling the distance the second half of that academic year; I was feeling like plans were being made without me; I could feel myself being in my room a lot, struggling through my personal stuff. It was hard. And not having someone to talk to made that harder. Of course, I would still talk to my friends, but definitely not as often as we were before. It continued like that until the end of that academic year in May (it got worse and worse as the year ended lol). After that, I immediately started my job at the computer camp, where I worked the summer before. And during that summer, Tyler dropped Flower Boy.
In it, my favorite artist talked about his own loneliness and feeling isolated from his friends, feeling alone even though he was around people. And it was just such a wonderful thing to have someone be able to express what I was having difficulty with. Tyler made saying those things look easy. He made vulnerability and uncertainty sound beautiful; he mixed questioning the world and his own existence with glittering synths and chords straight out of all of my daydreams. And while that didn’t magically make me feel better, it made me feel like I was being heard. And Tyler’s music has been that for me since I was in high school, dealing with some of the same things I was dealing with as an adult. It felt like his music was growing with me; it was really a beautiful thing. He also gave us non-sad boi bars that were also AMAZING.
Boy, my bedroom floor is a cereal burial, I’m serious I ate ’em all, dry boxes, bodies, yeah I caught ’em If we’re talkin’ ’bout real meals, ask my stomach, he ain’t saw ’em I’ve been in this fuckin’ room so long my eyeballs are turning to drywall my friends suck, fuck ’em, I’m over ’em “Hi y’all, y’all ain’t hit me all-day What the fuck is the problem? Is it me? ’cause I’m not solved, I’m… bored.”Tyler the Creator, “Boredom”
FUN FACT: I listened to Boredom, while writing this and started crying. Memories + Music = my soft heart falling to pieces!!!!
Not only all of that, by Flower Boy-era T gave us amazing music videos (like always but WOW he really did that for this album) and a great conversation with Jerrod Carmichael on the album that I’ve seen multiple times because it’s beautifully shot and such a blessed conversation.
It’s really difficult to put this album into words. But I think that I would have had a really difficult 2017/18, had this project not come out. It really is the true definition of music heals.
And that’s what makes Flower Boy one of my favorites of all time!
here’s something else you might like:
Because Miss Rona (aka COVID-19) is out here in full force, my social-distancing has led to a strong creative urge. So I’m starting another story series on thursday email called “My Favorite’s of All Time.” This series – and the accompanying list that will exist here, once I’m finished setting it up (if you click … Continue reading My Favorite’s of All Time #1: Lupe Fiasco’s “Superstar”