RAVE: ‘Cherry Bomb’ – Tyler, The Creator

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First impressions: abrasive, sonically generous, and – wait for it – sweet. On the (shallow) surface, it’s industrial – typical Tyler anarchy reminiscent of Goblin (2011). But all the brash production, hard-hitting verses, and maniacal visuals (save maybe for “She,” which features Frank Ocean) that came with the Odd Future ringleader’s debut are still there, but in traces. If anything, Cherry Bomb sounded like the consummation of his past works, Wolf (2013) included. His sophomore album was a transition, and forgive me for this analogy, but it’s like Wolverine in the process of adamantium bonding into his body. If there’s a personification of the idiom, “Don’t let your mouth write checks your ass can’t cash,” then Tyler embodies it fully.

To be honest, I’m typing this as I listen to the album and will listen to it again with my undivided attention. But phrases and thoughts kept popping out of my mind that I had to write them down. One moment, you’ll hear serrated Death Grips noise, the next, it’s jazz, slow-dancing music. Tyler was not kidding when he mentioned his influences while working on this album, and it’s hard not to miss those embedded sound, with assistance from Chaz Bundick (Toro Y Moi/Les Sins), Charlie Wilson, and Cole Alexander (The Black Lips).

I’ve noticed that most tracks are like miniature collages of sound, shifting slightly or drastically in mood. Most of the first halves begin heavy and then wind down to smooth, The Internet-esque vibe. This kind of exploration leads me to believe that this is Tyler, The Creator’s finest record so far. I cannot help but think the parallelism between Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly and Tyler’s Cherry Bomb when it comes to the title. It conveys contrasts, a songwriting trick – I’ve learned (but also not uncommon when writing poetry – I have maybe abused this a couple of times). Like two sides to a coin, cherry and bomb are polar opposites when it comes to utility, not just in nature. I might be going out on a limb here, but I really don’t care. I’m ecstatic, I’m on fire.

And oh, did you catch that Drake sample on “2SEATER?”

See? Lots of things to enjoy in this album.

I’ve also streamed his 45-minute Coachella set earlier today. Worth your time, I’m telling you.

Cherry Bomb is now available on iTunes.

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