Tyler the Creator Goes Bold With Cherry Bomb

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William Beckman, Co-Editor in Chief

Tyler, the Creator’s fourth solo project, Cherry Bomb, is bold. On past projects, Tyler has tried for a jazzy sound, but it had never taken such a large role until this album. With a focus on jazz and the occasional attempts at new sounds and sub-genres. In many places, he succeeds, with excellently crafted jazzy compositions and great features from other artists, many of whom he has not worked with before. In other spots though, this experimentation with new sounds (namely the Death Grips popularized “noise-hop”, a sub-genre of hip-hop where the beat is disjointed and sometimes louder than the vocals) falls completely flat, leaving much more to be desired on what Tyler says is his favorite album of his own creation.

The most progressive parts of the album are showcased on tracks like “2SEATER” in the composition of the bridge between the first verse and the interlude. In this section of the nearly seven minute song, there is a transition from the refrain, “We can speed, in my two seater” into a soft, lush instrumental with both violins and a saxophone creating the background to Tyler and [Will insert singer when I figure out who it is]’s vocals. Where Tyler delves deeper into sounds that he knows how to make, he hits it out of the park. Another example of this is the song, “F***ING YOUNG/PERFECT”, a neo-soul track featuring, for a second time, Charlie Wilson and singer Kali Uchis. While the lyrics of the song are a little questionable (kind of creepy), Tyler once again showcases his ability to compose a song that can fit multiple vocalists as well as a rapper, blending genres as Tyler as shown himself to be proficient at throughout the album.

Songs like “THE BROWN STAINS…” and “SMUCKERS” are the absolute high point of the record, with excellent features from Schoolboy Q, Kanye West, and Lil Wayne. Tyler showcases his own raps while bringing out phenomenal bars from those named above, especially Kanye, who comes through with a College Dropout-esque verse, with topics ranging from his insecurities to racial inequalities in the US. His most impressive spot on the track come shortly after his opening bars, “They say I’m crazy but that’s the best thing going for me/ You can’t lynch Marshawn if Tom Brady throwing to me.” Wayne also comes with a slow flow, going back and forth with Tyler over a more soulful part of beat.

Where the album fails, however, is in Tyler’s noise-hop tracks, specifically “CHERRY BOMB” and “RUN”. It seems as though Tyler is trying for a noisy, lo-fi sound, and in order to achieve this, he mixes down his vocals and makes the beat louder. These attempts are poor at best and unlistenable at worst. The grating beat on “Cherry Bomb” makes it hard to sit all the way through, and in addition to this Tyler’s vocals are barely audible, making it a waste of the four and a half minutes the song takes to finally end.

On the track “BLOW MY ****”, which I assume is some sort of love song, shows the lingering immaturity in Tyler’s lyrics. Although I can’t write the lyrics in this paper without censoring almost everything, he goes into graphic detail about what he would like to do to a significant other. It is altogether unnecessarily lewd, forgoing subtlety almost entirely. The track isn’t all bad though, with a smooth instrumental(wording). Singer Charlie Wilson (also featured on “F***ING YOUNG/PERFECT”) delivers a soft hook that seems to be what Tyler was really going for with the song.

While the album falls flat in its more experimentative spots, it is a solid project and a good indicator of what Tyler can do well, and what he can’t. The album feels like Tyler is taking his work in a new direction, and I only hope that he can learn from the mistakes he made with this album and make a better album the next time around.

6/10