Sach O: Tyler, The Creator – Goblin

Sach O is a fuckin table. You think you’re sick of hearing about Odd Future? Ask Tyler. Artists hating their own success is a well-worn trope, but the burning glare of the hype machine has...
By    May 9, 2011

Sach O is a fuckin table.

You think you’re sick of hearing about Odd Future? Ask Tyler. Artists hating their own success is a well-worn trope, but the burning glare of the hype machine has never been so swift and vicious: the kid hasn’t even released a CD and yet he’s become the single most discussed, loved, hated and debated artist of the year and suddenly shit is moving way too fast.

Eminem struggled for years and went multi-platinum;.Tyler blew up quick and will never see a royalty check for Bastard. The expectations alone are crushing: one false move and he’s another Charlie Sheen, a fucked up spectacle at the end of his 15 minutes. Whether or not Goblin is a false move is open to interpretation. Anyone expecting more than “Yonkers” will be disappointed: the album is sprawling, brutal, uncompromised, and difficult to absorb. It’s also frequently brilliant and always imbued with personality and charisma.

The title track is a sprawling mess, an almost seven-minute rant against everything that’s pissed our hero off since Inglorious. It’s the little things that bug him: being too busy to skate, brain dead message board trolls, getting pegged as horrorcore. Things drag on too long…and then they drag on so much that they start to get unhinged and interesting again. The aforementioned “Yonkers” is a red herring, as close to a “Real Slim Shady” as you’re likely to get out of him at this point.

“Radicals” is another seven minute monster. What could have been a simple 4 minute-barrage of nihilism and curse words slowly morphs into peaceful paean to youth and optimism. In case you forgot that Tyler grew up on N.E.R.D and Eminem, here’s your reminder. From there, you get “She,” a new addition to a long line of rape fantasies. This one’s got Frank Ocean, it’s pretty damn good.

Then…things can start to drag. While none of Goblin’s songs are downright bad, at 73 minutes long the album can wear out its welcome and a few inessential candidates begin to look disposable. “Transylvania” is a too-obvious extended metaphor. “Her” feels redundant, “Fish” could have been gutted. There’s also more brilliance: “Tron Cat” and “Sandwitches” are some of the most evil shit Tyler’s ever written (think about that for a second) and “Nightmares” may be the most honest – a letter to his mother and the world that accomplishes the rare task of inviting sympathy for someone getting exactly what he wanted. It’s moments like these that redeem the album  – massive rebukes to naysayers quick to dismiss the kid as nothing but shock value.

That wouldn’t be enough to satisfy the massive expectations the world has for this record. No, the world demands blood and it gets it. Without spoiling anything, Goblin’s final third slowly spirals into a firestorm of bullets, hatred, self-loathing and finally…hope. There’s a Taco and Jasper cameo, a surprisingly dope Frank Ocean rap verse, a quasi-Juke instrumental and one of the single most harrowing on-tape therapy sessions in years. This is not the kind of stuff you release when you want to storm the pop charts – this is the kind of stuff you put out when you want to separate the mice from the men and alienate anyone in it for the hype. Biggie killing himself at the end of Ready to Die was disturbing, but somehow Tyler threatening to do it front of the world out of spite may be even worse.

So will you enjoy this album? I don’t know. Half the staff hates this thing. A few love it. Personally, I think it’s great but I find myself skipping tracks– its extended running time doesn’t do it any favors. It’s certainly less approachable than Bastard — where the hatred and bile felt justified and the bizarro-world Doom beats counterbalanced the rage. On Goblin, Tyler only turns inward once he’s raped or murdered everyone around him – we’re talking about a truly bleak record that will test even the hardened listener. It certainly defies expectations; anyone expecting a sell-out move will be pleasantly surprised at first, only to be left gasping for air by the bloody conclusion.

Ultimately, it’s exactly the album Tyler wanted to make and for better or worse, it’ll get a ton of press and attention. Hopefully, he somehow finds peace or at least a semblance of it. The kid may have “a lot of fuckin’ problems,” but to his credit, you still find yourself rooting for him. On the other hand, if things get worse, well…there’s always Wolf.

MP3: Tyler, The Creator – “Tron Cat” (Left-Click)

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