Favourites: Foreword, Garden Shed, November, I Ain’t Got Time, Boredom, 911/Mr. Lonely, Who Dat Boy, Droppin’ Seeds
Tyler, the Creator finally did it. That “it” being writing and producing his most personal and cohesive album to date, and i’m basing that off of the lyrical content and the production…man that production though, beautiful sound waves for your ears.
“Scum Fuck Flower Boy” really shows how having complete creative control on every element of your songs enables you to make art that only your mind could truly conceive. Tyler’s albums have always been surrounding his life, whether fictional or non-fiction, except for possibly “Cherry Bomb” which is a bunch of eccentric song ideas “exploded” onto an album… but the difference between Flower Boy and the rest of his discography, is that you can really feel how sincere and open, out on the table, “out of the Garden Shed”, he is being with himself. I don’t want to get too into Tyler’s sexual orientation, because firstly there has been WAY too much coverage on this topic, like..mainstream coverage, and this blog is to explore the music, not the artist’s personal endeavors. Tyler really is “coming out” in this album it seems though, and is discussed quite heavily on this project, mixed with songs about his depression, and a couple songs regarding wanting to live in the past, where everything’s a bit more happy.
The album kicks off with “Foreword“, and does an excellent job at setting the tone and mood of the album. You notice right away the more serious tone he has, and the dude is spitting like he’s never before, he’s finally taking himself seriously. This song is about where Tyler’s at, and the depression he’s been facing in the recent couple years. Also it features the band “Can” which is a band from the 60s, so I have no idea how Tyler got connected with those guys, but thats kind of amazing? Here’s a great song by them, “Sing Swan Song”, that might be familiar to you if you’ve heard Kanye’s track “Drunk and Hot Girls”. “Foreword” brilliantly segways into “Where this Flower Blooms” where he personifies himself as the Flower blooming, it discusses the days before success and fame, and his process of getting himself to where he is now, “Rooted from the bottom, bloomed into a tree” (Drake analogy?). I love the bridge, which happens after Frank Ocean lays down the chorus. “I glow (I glow)
I rock, I roll (What you say?), I bloom, I glow (I glow). Sometimes… is a quick interlude of a radio show with Shane Powers. A mysterious man calls into the radio show, and asks to hear a song about him. Which makes perfect sense in context to the next track “See You Again” which is this “requested” song about a certain someone in Tyler’s love life that he only sees in his dreams. Tyler explains how he can only see the love of his life in his “Daydreams” or when he closes his eyes, so he’d prefer to be asleep than awake without this guy. Definitely getting to the more personal, and real side of Tyler from this point of the album… until, out of nowhere, “Who Dat Boy” creeps into your headphones/speakers. This was the first song to come out as a single for this album, and I remember how stoked both myself, and the rest of the world were for what he was about to drop. The beat on this thing is so haunting in contrast to the rest of the album, and features the most “Banger” appeal in the track list. Who Dat Boy? Tyler him is! Can’t forget to mention Asap Rocky’s contribution to this song, one of his most skillful verses that i’ve heard from him, and the way he goes back and forth with Tyler is fucking incredible. Anyways yeah, great track…and here, the video is just as good if you haven’t had a chance to check it out:
After Who Dat Boy we get hit with “Pothole” another personification of a Pothole being obstacles that he’s had to dodge and parry throughout his “driving” through life. Jaden Smith provides a nice layer of vocal range in the chorus “watch out for the pothole.” The next track “Garden Shed” may or may not be Tyler’s “coming out of the closet” track, but instead of a closet, its the Garden Shed of course. I love this track, definitely top 3 for me. The beautiful way it goes from those clangy, reverb-y, simple chords into that ride cymbal and delayed snare, switched the feeling of this track immediately for me. Near the end you get a collage of words spit at you by T. “Boredom” has my favourite lyric from the album. “Find some time, find some time to do something”. So simple, and it reminded me of the simplicity within Audioslave’s “Be Yourself”: “To be yourself is all that you can do.” the song revolves around that message, and the instrumentals are beautiful, with the really nice flanger filter on the drums; sounds fantastic in my opinion. In “I Ain’t Got Time” (which is a nice little juxtaposition on the previous tracks chorus) Tyler goes on about how people are only interested in him for his fame, and that he doesn’t got time for them anymore. The beat itself reminds me of “The Brown Stains..(not going write that one out aha)” on his last record.
911/Mr. Lonely was the song at the end of the “Who Dat Boy” video, love the cheesy vocals at the beginning, and the funkiness of the chorus “911, call me sometime (call me)” it all seems so happy based on the vibe of the song, but the lyrics are depressing as hell. Especially when it gets to Mr. Lonely, when he exclaims that he’s the [loneliest one in the room (that’s me)]. Lil Wayne shows a small appearance on the next track, and provides the very short verse on “Droppin’ Seeds” where he really is dropping those seeds (bars), I’ve never quite enjoyed a Wayne verse like i did with this one, and that lil “Mula” ad-lib is a nice change from his usual “YUNNNNG MULLLAAAAHBAAAAAHHBBYY!!!”. Love, love, love the next track “November” where he uses the month November as an analogy for one of the best sections of his past, it seems he may or may not want to go back to that. (Sarcasm sucks via text eh). Again, more depressing undertones to an otherwise happy toned song on the surface, this seems to be the general theme of the album…and its dope.
Alright, so the last two songs are “Glitter” & “Enjoy Right Now, Today” which to me are the weakest tracks on the album…not a big fan of the singing provided by Tyler on Glitter..its just awful and i can’t take it seriously. But i do like the way it transitions from November into this track, in the end of November, Tyler leaves a voicemail to his crush: “hope we can be more than friends” and the song Glitter goes on about that topic. “Enjoy Right Now, Today” is a lovely instrumental to end off the feeling of the album, a positive feeling at that.
For me, and probably for a good chunk of Tyler’s listeners, this is his best work. Conceptually, its the most solid records he’s ever put out, he’s matured, knows exactly what he wants to say, and knows exactly how he wants it to be portrayed in this album. I’ll be looking forward to see what he can put out next, because this one will be hard to top.