Tyler, The Creator: ‘WOLF’ – Review


Tyler, The Creator has treated us to another studio album: WOLF. This ferocious 18-track album outlines parts of Tyler’s past, such as his fairly unpleasant childhood as well as discussing his current fame and how he and OFWGKTA, as a team, seem to be running things. This album promised a lot, and it hasn’t disappointed.

Where else to start but with the intro, named after the album, Wolf: “Fuck. Fuck yooou. Fuck yoooooouu” and various other phrases including the word “fuck” calmly repeated over a serene, yet slightly uplifting piano tune. A hilariously ironic, yet somehow appropriate way of introducing what proves to be a fairly dark, hateful and aggressive album.

One of the most hard-hitting tracks is “Pigs” which outlines the album’s dark/aggressive theme. Speaking about his difficult childhood, Tyler mentions his abusive step-father, and how he’d like to “light a fire up in his ass” as well as mentioning bullies, rejections from girls amongst other common childhood troubles. Sirens and screams can be heard in the background throughout the track, creating a mental scene of panic/havoc. The unity and fame of OFWGKTA is reiterated all the way through the track, with lyrics such as “Odd Future hooligans causing up a ruckus, it’s us, nigga” present from start to finish. Towards the end, the lyrics become faster and more high-pitched deepening the impression of panic. Very clever.

Another stand out track is “Colossus” which describes and mimics bandwagon fans that have become all the more common as OFWGKTA’s fame has increased in recent years. After a couple of listens you notice similarities to Eminem’s “Stan” which outlines the life of an over-obsessed fan, but not as extreme. The majority of “Colossus” is a monologue which impersonates a fan telling Tyler how much he loves, idolises and appreciates his existence. Clearly this isn’t the sort of thing Tyler himself enjoys.

“This FLOG GNAW badge looks good on this brand new jacket” once again the success and wealth of Tyler and his Wolf Gang is the message that’s being put across, this time in the second instalment of the fantastic three-part track “PartyIsntOver/Campfire/Bimmer” which features soothing vocals from Lætitia Sadier (Campfire) and Frank Ocean (Bimmer).

Looking at him, listening to him and reading about him, you’d think Tyler, The Creator would be the sort to steer clear of the whole ‘love’ thing but “She” and “Her” (both on Goblin) seem to be two of his most popular tracks, so when “IFHY” was featured on the album, it looked certain to impress. Starting with calm lyrics about how he doesn’t like “the thought of you with somebody else,” Tyler proceeds to deliver his lines in a more aggressive manner, saying he hates “you” and mentions stalking in the dark, “fucking up your evenings” then moves back to more affectionate, and somewhat cringeworthy, lyrics like “you’re good at being perfect.” Pharrell’s strong backing vocals paired with Tyler saying how he’d like to “strangle you, until you stop breathing” so he could be the source of her air is the start of a very mellow, strange, yet somehow enticing end to the song. It’s a romantic gesture only Wolf Haley could profess.

Despite being a very angry album with more swear words than usual, it seems a lot more tranquil than ‘Bastard’ and ‘Goblin’ – probably because it doesn’t mention rape and murder (as much). On balance it’s a great album, maybe his best. WOLF tells more of a story than the others and seems to have more depth to it, with multiple messages in every song and not just outright aggression.  There’s even a mention of “the lake” that has become ever-present in Odd Future discography.

Ferocious, twisted, genius.

By Myles J. Burrell (@MylesBurrell)

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