#9 Album of 2017 - Tyler, The Creator - Flower Boy
For some critics and music writers out there, this project was termed 'too incongruous', or worse. For me, what makes this project as beloved as its ranking has it, is due in large part to it in fact being incongruous. Tyler has been all over the map in his career, but most folks are familiar with Tyler's violent, abrasive, and disconcerting side - for example, in the music video for 'Yonkers', he eats a live cockroach, and pretends the hanging of himself. With Flower Boy, what I believe to be his true side shines in full view for fans and critics alike. Songs like 'Boredom', 'See You Again', and 'November' show off his ear for melodic, modern day r&b tunes, while incorporating his cherished style of strings that seem to be plucking at his heart with each note. With the skill and talent on display here, it was no surprise the incredible features he got on the album - Jaden Smith, Rex Orange County, A$AP Rocky, Frank Ocean, just to name 4.
The album invokes very specific feelings at times, but then routinely does a complete 360 to either wake you out of the dream-like state of a track like 'Boredom', which he follows up with 'I Ain't Got Time', one of the more in-your-face beats and vocal arrangements from Tyler. He seems to have detailed the pains, angst, and frustration of young love throughout this record. On 'See You Again', Tyler details an earnestness to find that special someone, and dreams up a perfect person that he contemplates theoretically: "I wonder if you look both ways / When you cross my mind". My personal favorite track is 'November', for the nostalgic lyrics, insecurities announced, and the snappy drums, forming a track worthy of a lazy fall day staring up into the clouds.
Tyler proves on this album that he is not the same artist as he was when 'Yonkers' came out, and has perfectly placed what he wanted to create into an album form, unlike the album Cherry Bomb, which was savagely broken down for not having a clear sonic direction in mind. Let's take a moment and appreciate the growth, raw skill, and beauty that fills this 14-track stunner of an album.
Where does this album rank in your end of the year list? Let me know your thoughts on the album in the comments/social media!