TAKE #13: Tyler the Creator’s ‘IGOR’ – 1 Year Later

Well…I guess it’s technically a year and three days later, but you get what I’m saying LOL. I think I’ve talked about Tyler enough on here for it to be pretty clear how highly I hold him in my mind (and my heart <3). I believe that he is one of the most creative people in the world, he has an amazing eye for details, and his level of freedom to exist how he pleases is something that has inspired me for the last 8 years. He’s really such a special person, and he makes such special projects. IGOR (2019) is, without a doubt, one of them.

I remember how HYPE I was during the initial teasing of this project. Tyler isn’t typically one to talk about how he’s making an album while he’s deep in album mode, so by the time we know something’s coming out, we’re pretty close to when it’s supposed to drop. He started dropping hints around May 3, 2019 – that was when he posted the initial clip of “WHATSGOOD” to YouTube. And I was simultaneously very confused and very excited. I didn’t know WHY he had a blond wig on or what to expect sound-wise from the project (and “WHATS GOOD” was actually a really good track to choose as the teaser because it doesn’t sound like the majority of the project, so there’s a little bit of expectation subversion that happens). But I knew that we were in for something good.

I listened to IGOR (for the millionth time lol) this past Sunday, in celebration of its birthday. Me and my mom were getting ready to go out for the day – masks donned and clorox wipes and hand sani on deck – so I listened to it, while I got dressed in my IGOR shirt I got when I went to see him at Madison Square Garden. I will admit that I could live without “BOYFRIEND,” it’s just….not for me lol but it always amazes me how great this album is every time I listen to it. I talked a little bit on the MFOAT for 2014 Forest Hills Drive about my love for being able to hear the care and love put into a project, and this is a project that’s overflowing with it.

(meta edit: lol i’m re-reading this some hours later after writing the majority of it at 5:30 in the morning yesterday, and it’s a little all over the place, so sorry for that!)

I have the poster insert from the IGOR vinyl on my wall across from my bed. I was looking at it the other day -maybe a couple days ago – and realized how much Tyler looked like Frankenstein’s monster on the cover. Now, this is definitely (probably) known info, but I’ve never come in contact with that information directly before. (edit: just looked it up, it has definitely been a theory that has circulated for a while, so at least I’m not out here on the bs lol) So it was news to my brain. I had always wondered why the top of his hair was cut off and why he chose a photo of him without the wig to be the cover of the project, when the wig makes an appearance in every music video and performance that he’s done for it. But having that knowledge actually makes a lot of things make a lot of sense.

It has always been clear that IGOR is a love album, specifically a love album about how love is made difficult when we lose ourselves in it. But I think that bringing in the story of Frankenstein’s monster, we get something a little bit more complex. On the surface, most people – including the monster’s creator – see the monster as such; the hideousness and otherworldliness of the monster makes “him” suitable for hate rather than love. And when “he” finally sees “his” reflection towards the middle of the story, he begins to see what everyone else is afraid of. That knowledge of how other people see him begins to impact the way that he sees himself. He ultimately wants to have someone that loves him, despite his flaws. To be able to have and hold that love, for him, makes those flaws and that ugliness cease to exist. And that’s something that he really doesn’t get at the end, but we do get a story that moves an individual from thing to human, with (the want and need for) love at the core of that transformation.

Why did it take me so long to notice this LOL!!!!

And i think that that’s a significant part of the IGOR‘s story. It’s one that’s similar to Radiohead’s “Creep.” Tyler presents the story of an individual weaving love and self-worth together, with self-worth being.a direct consequence for loving someone. If IGOR or the “Creep” or Frankenstein’s monster can receive love, that love can make up for the heaviness of their personal and internalized insecurities. But I think what Tyler’s project does differently than those other two is that it shows how “motherfuckin’ dangerous” that is. Relying on love for self-worth gives the person you’re dependent on control over you. And what a message that is!

Listening to IGOR in my room on Sunday took me back to when I saw Tyler last year and back to all the feelings that were coming up, while I was at that concert. And it took me back to all the times where the lines between external love (or, rather, like) and internal self-worth became blurred and ended with me being sad and listening to N.E.R.D’s “Sooner or Later” in my room on the verge of tears. It’s such a powerful album and will be one that people talk about for a long time. The entire world that was crafted for this project was made by someone who has such a severe love for making things, and it’s so so clear. And it makes me happy to see Tyler enjoy the creative process. I’m so ready to see what Tyler has in store for us in the space between the first and second anniversaries of this fantastic project.

I’m sure it’ll be nothing short of greatness.

here’s something else you might like:

2 thoughts on “TAKE #13: Tyler the Creator’s ‘IGOR’ – 1 Year Later

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