Igor (album)

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Igor
Igor - Tyler, the Creator.jpg
Digital cover; the CD release is available with a pink, yellow, blue or green background.[1]
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 17, 2019 (2019-05-17)
Recorded2017–2019[2]
Studio
  • Chalice, Coldwater, Conway, and Westlake (Los Angeles, California)
  • O'Shefia (Atlanta, Georgia)
  • Paramount (Hollywood, California)
  • Shangri-La (Malibu, California)
  • Villa Batell (Lake Como, Italy)
Genre
Length39:43
Label
ProducerTyler, the Creator
Tyler, the Creator chronology
Music Inspired by Illumination & Dr. Seuss' The Grinch
(2018)
Igor
(2019)
Alternative cover
Special edition vinyl cover, by Lewis Rossignol.[5]
Special edition vinyl cover, by Lewis Rossignol.[5]
Singles from Igor
  1. "Earfquake"
    Released: June 4, 2019

Igor (stylized in all caps) is the fifth studio album[a] by American rapper Tyler, the Creator, released on May 17, 2019, by A Boy is a Gun and Columbia Records. Produced entirely by Tyler, the album follows the 2017 release of Flower Boy. It features guest appearances from Playboi Carti, Lil Uzi Vert, Solange, Kanye West, and Jerrod Carmichael, along with backing vocals from Santigold, Jessy Wilson, La Roux, CeeLo Green, Charlie Wilson, Slowthai, and Pharrell, among others.

Igor received widespread critical acclaim from critics and debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, becoming Tyler's first US number-one album.

Background and recording[edit]

Work on the album began in 2017, with Tyler initially writing the song "Earfquake" for Canadian singer Justin Bieber and Barbadian singer Rihanna, who both turned down the song.[2] The song "I Think" was recorded in Lake Como, Italy with the help of American singers Solange, whose vocals feature on the track, and Frank Ocean.[7] Tyler wrote "Running Out of Time" while taking a break from a recording session with American rapper ASAP Ferg, feeling reassured after Kendrick Lamar told Tyler he appreciated his singing.[7][2] Tyler produced the beat for "Gone, Gone" in 2013 while on tour for his second studio album Wolf, choosing to scrap the song from both Cherry Bomb and Flower Boy since he didn't feel it fit either of those albums.[2]

In an interview with Fantastic Man for their Autumn and Winter 2018 issue, Tyler was asked if he had ever been in love, to which he replied "I don't want to talk about that. Um, that's the next record."[8] In October 2018, Tyler previewed the song "Running out of Time" for an interview with Fast Company.[9]

On April 26, 2019, a supplemental financial report from Sony revealed that a new album from Tyler was expected by the end of June.[10] In early May 2019, Tyler released snippets for the tracks "Igor's Theme" and "What's Good".[11] The album was first announced by Tyler through his social media accounts on May 6, 2019.[5]

Composition[edit]

Rolling Stone writer Danny Schwartz described Igor as a "rich and messy mélange of R&B, funk and rap". The album is synth-heavy, with neo soul melodies and low-mixed vocals.[4]

Themes and narrative[edit]

The album follows a narrative of a love triangle where Tyler is seeing a person who is at the same time still seeing his ex-girlfriend, who's pulling him back to her and away from Tyler. American comedian Jerrod Carmichael serves as the album's narrator as it progresses, speaking short lines to make sense of Tyler's and the title character Igor's state of mind. Carmichael first appears on the album's fourth track "Exactly What You Run from You End Up Chasing".[12]

The character Igor is mentioned by name on the tracks "Igor's Theme" and "What's Good". Igor follows the Gothic "Igor" archetype as a villain's assistant and represents a darker, aromantic side of Tyler that comes out. Igor arrives after Tyler pours out all of his heart for his love interest, though his love interest remains focused on his ex-girlfriend. The arrival of Igor serves as a reset for the strong romantic emotions Tyler was entangled in the album's first half.[12][13]

Promotion[edit]

A music video for the song, "Earfquake", was released alongside the album's release on May 17, 2019.[14] It was sent to rhythmic contemporary radio on June 4, 2019, as the album's lead single in the United States.[15]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?7.9/10[16]
Metacritic81/100[17]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[18]
Consequence of SoundA−[19]
The Guardian3/5 stars[20]
HipHopDX4.4/5[21]
The Independent5/5 stars[22]
The New Zealand Herald4/5 stars[23]
NME4/5 stars[24]
Now4/5[25]
Pitchfork8.0/10[26]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[4]

Igor was met with widespread critical acclaim. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 81, based on 18 reviews.[17] Roisin O'Connor of The Independent gave a positive review, stating "The production here is superb. Tyler has never been one for traditional song structure, but on IGOR he's like the Minotaur luring you through a maze that twists and turns around seemingly impossible corners, drawing you into the thrilling unknown. ... This is Tyler's best work to date."[22] Andy Kellman of AllMusic said, "Tyler and a motorcade's worth of supporting vocalists fulfill the promise and threat with what plays out, a creatively vital and emotionally heartsick set with as much pain, vulnerability, and compulsion as a classic soul LP."[18] Danial Spielberger of HipHopDX saying "On IGOR, Tyler showcases a more polished iteration of the hazy pop he's been perfecting for years. Though some might be disappointed that he's becoming more of a singer than a rapper, this is the kind of project that should encourage more artists to disavow labels and relish in taking risks."[21] Rolling Stone critic Danny Schwartz said, "Igor is a heartfelt album that finds Tyler lowering his guard and revealing himself to be a shape-shifting artist who is still growing, and who has fully shed his skin as a vulgar internet cowboy."[4] Sam Moore of NME stated: "IGOR is an accomplished and evergreen record that's well worth putting your phone down, turning the TV off and devoting your full attention span to."[24] Clash's Nick Rosebade wrote, "The trademark visceral beats, scathing lyrics and the general feeling of anger and aggression that peppered his previous albums have been replaced with slower beats and irresistible soul hooks. At first this change in tone, and pace, is jarring and you are waiting for it to kick off, but as the album progresses you get into it and dig this new Tyler."[3]

Reviewing the album for Sputnikmusic, Rowan5215 stated "IGOR is not by any means Tyler's best work, and at times deliberately plays against his strengths in order to keep the listener off-guard—this pays dividends in the stunning "I THINK" and "A BOY IS A GUN", less so on the repetitive and cloying "RUNNING OUT OF TIME" and "ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?". What it is, though, is a form of ragged beat-tape minimalist that Tyler wears extremely well."[27] In a mixed review, The Guardian's Dean Van Nguyen stated: "It's is no bad thing that Igor downplays Tyler's indomitable personality – but the writing and execution do not quite replace what has been lost. What's left is a fine showcase of ingenuity that too rarely burrows very far into your consciousness."[20]

Commercial performance[edit]

Igor debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 with 165,000 album-equivalent units, of which 74,000 were pure album sales. It is Tyler's first US number-one album.[28]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks produced by Tyler, the Creator. Credits adapted from Tidal and liner notes.[29][30]

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Igor's Theme"3:20
2."Earfquake"3:10
3."I Think"
  • Okonma
  • Bodiono Nkono Télesphore[a]
  • Bibi Mascel[a]
3:32
4."Exactly What You Run from You End Up Chasing"Okonma0:14
5."Running Out of Time"Okonma2:57
6."New Magic Wand"Okonma3:15
7."A Boy Is a Gun"
3:30
8."Puppet"2:59
9."What's Good"Okonma3:25
10."Gone, Gone / Thank You"6:15
11."I Don't Love You Anymore"Okonma2:41
12."Are We Still Friends?"4:25
Total length:39:43

Notes

  • All track titles are stylized in all caps
  • "A Boy Is a Gun" is stylized with an asterisk
  • "Igor's Theme" features vocals by Lil Uzi Vert
  • "Earfquake" features a rap verse by Playboi Carti
  • "I Think" features vocals by Solange
  • "Exactly What You Run from You End Up Chasing" features vocals by Jerrod Carmichael
  • "Puppet" features a rap verse by Kanye West

Samples

  • "Igor's Theme" incorporates uncredited elements of "Attention", performed by Head West; and "Scatin'", performed by Dâm-Funk.[31]
  • ^[a] "I Think" incorporates elements of "Get Down", written and composed by Bodiono Nkono Télesphore, and performed by Nkono Teles; and "Special Lady", written and performed by Bibi Mascel.
  • "Running Out of Time" contains samples of "Hit It Run", performed by Run-DMC.
  • "New Magic Wand" incorporates elements of "Vsichni Praznj", written and performed by Siluetes 61.
  • ^[b] "A Boy Is a Gun" contains excerpts from "Bound", written by Bobby Dukes, Bobby Massey and Lester Allen McKenzie, and performed by Ponderosa Twins Plus One.
  • ^[c] "Puppet" incorporates elements of "Today", written by Mick Ware and performed by Czar; and contains excerpts from "It's Alright With Me", written by David Smith, and performed by Part Time.
  • ^[d] "Gone, Gone / Thank You" contains excerpts from "Hey Girl", written and performed by Cullen Omori; and interpolations from "Fragile", written by Alan O'Day and Tatsuro Yamashita, and performed by Yamashita.
  • ^[e] "Are We Still Friends?" contains excerpts from "Dream", written and performed by Al Green.

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Tidal and liner notes.[29][30]

Musicians[edit]

Technical[edit]

  • Vic Wainstein – recording (tracks 1–3, 5–12)
  • Tyler Okonma – recording (tracks 1–3, 5–9, 11)
  • Kingston Callaway – recording (track 10)
  • John Armstrong – recording assistance (track 1)
  • Ben Fletcher – recording assistance (track 1)
  • Rob Bisel – recording assistance (tracks 1, 3, 9)
  • Ashley Jacobson – recording assistance (track 2)
  • Thomas Cullison – recording assistance (tracks 2, 10)
  • Josh Sellers – recording assistance (tracks 5, 6)
  • Derrick Jenner – recording assistance (track 7)
  • Neal H Pogue – mixing
  • Zachary Acosta – mix assistance
  • MeMiceElfani – mix assistance
  • Mike Bozzi – mastering

Charts[edit]

Chart (2019) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[33] 3
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[34] 7
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[35] 5
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[36] 40
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[37] 2
Czech Albums (ČNS IFPI)[38] 5
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[39] 4
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[40] 3
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[41] 6
French Albums (SNEP)[42] 43
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[43] 29
Irish Albums (IRMA)[44] 4
Italian Albums (FIMI)[45] 32
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[46] 2
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[47] 3
Scottish Albums (OCC)[48] 44
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[49] 5
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[50] 14
UK Albums (OCC)[51] 4
UK R&B Albums (OCC)[52] 3
US Billboard 200[53] 1
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[54] 1

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Igor is Tyler, the Creator's fifth studio album release on a record label; however, Tyler has referred to the project as his sixth album, considering his debut mixtape Bastard as an album.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "LIMITED SPECIAL EDITION IGOR CD PACK". Golf Wang. Archived from the original on May 18, 2019. Retrieved May 18, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Skelton, Eric (May 23, 2019). "Tyler, the Creator's First Live Performance of 'IGOR': Everything We Learned". Complex. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Rosebade, Nick (May 17, 2019). "First Take: Tyler, The Creator – Igor". Clash. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e Schwartz, Danny (May 20, 2019). "Tyler the Creator's Surreal, Summery 'IGOR'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Tyler, the Creator Announces New Album IGOR". Pitchfork. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  6. ^ Tyler, the Creator [@tylerthecreator] (May 16, 2019). "igor is album 6" (Tweet). Retrieved May 18, 2019 – via Twitter.
  7. ^ a b Saponara, Michael (May 23, 2019). "Tyler, The Creator Performs 'Igor' Album In Full For Intimate Los Angeles Show". Billboard. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  8. ^ Flynn, Paul. "Men: Tyler, THE CREATOR". Fantastic Man. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  9. ^ Wilson, Mark (October 18, 2019). "Tyler, the Creator is in full bloom". Fast Company. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  10. ^ "A Sony Financial Report Claims New Tyler, The Creator & Calvin Harris Albums Are Dropping Soon". Genius. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  11. ^ Sawyer, Jonathan (May 7, 2019). "Everything We Know So Far About Tyler, the Creator's New Album 'IGOR'". Highsnobiety. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  12. ^ a b Hunt, El (May 24, 2019). "The hidden symbols in Tyler, The Creator's 'Igor'". NME. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  13. ^ Chesman, Donna-Claire (May 20, 2019). "Tyler, The Creator's 'IGOR' Is What Happens When "November" Ends". DJBooth. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  14. ^ Hann, Rachel (May 17, 2019). "Watch Tyler, the Creator's New "Earfquake" Video". Vogue. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
  15. ^ "Top 40 Rhythmic Future Releases". All Access. Archived from the original on June 2, 2019. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
  16. ^ "Igor by Tyler, The Creator reviews". AnyDecentMusic?. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
  17. ^ a b "IGOR by Tyler, The Creator Reviews and Tracks". Metacritic. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  18. ^ a b Kellman, Andy. "IGOR – Tyler, The Creator". AllMusic. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  19. ^ Thiessen, Christopher (May 22, 2019). "Album Review: Tyler, the Creator Blossoms on the Masterful IGOR". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  20. ^ a b Van Nguyen, Dean (May 17, 2019). "Tyler, the Creator: Igor review – impulsive artist takes the rapping off". The Guardian. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  21. ^ a b Spielberger, Danial (May 20, 2019). "Review: Tyler, The Creator's 'IGOR' Is A Fantastic Continuation Of His Artistic Transformation". HipHopDX. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  22. ^ a b O'Connor, Roisin (May 17, 2019). "Tyler, the Creator review, IGOR: His best work to date". The Independent. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  23. ^ Yates, Siena (May 23, 2019). "Album review: Tyler the Creator, IGOR". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  24. ^ a b Moore, Sam (May 20, 2019). "Tyler, The Creator – 'IGOR' review". NME. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  25. ^ Ritchie, Kevin (May 28, 2019). "Review: Tyler, The Creator explores romantic disconnection on Igor". Now. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  26. ^ Strauss, Matthew (May 20, 2019). "Tyler, the Creator: IGOR". Pitchfork. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  27. ^ Rowan5215 (May 21, 2019). "Review: Tyler the Creator – IGOR". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  28. ^ Sisario, Ben (May 27, 2019). "Tyler, the Creator Beats DJ Khaled to Hit No. 1 With 'Igor'". The New York Times. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  29. ^ a b "IGOR / Tyler, the Creator – TIDAL". Tidal. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  30. ^ a b Igor (Media notes). Tyler, the Creator. Columbia Records. 2019.CS1 maint: others (link)
  31. ^ Hunt, El (May 24, 2019). "The hidden symbols in Tyler, The Creator's 'Igor'". NME. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  32. ^ Tyler, the Creator [@tylerthecreator] (May 19, 2019). "IGORS HELPING HANDS" (Tweet). Retrieved May 23, 2019 – via Twitter.
  33. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Tyler, the Creator – Igor". Hung Medien. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  34. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Tyler, the Creator – Igor" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  35. ^ "Ultratop.be – Tyler, the Creator – Igor" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  36. ^ "Ultratop.be – Tyler, the Creator – Igor" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  37. ^ "Tyler the Creator Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  38. ^ "Czech Albums – Top 100". ČNS IFPI. Note: On the chart page, select 201921 on the field besides the word "Zobrazit", and then click over the word to retrieve the correct chart data. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  39. ^ "Hitlisten.NU – Album Top-40 Uge 20, 2019". Hitlisten. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  40. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Tyler, the Creator – Igor" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  41. ^ "Tyler, the Creator: Igor" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  42. ^ "Le Top de la semaine : Top Albums Fusionnes – SNEP (Week 21, 2019)" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  43. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Tyler, the Creator – Igor" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  44. ^ "Irish Albums Chart: 24 May 2019". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  45. ^ "Album – Classifica settimanale WK 21 (dal 17.05.2019 al 23.05.2019)" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  46. ^ "NZ Top 40 Albums Chart". Recorded Music NZ. May 27, 2019. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  47. ^ "VG-lista – Topp 40 Album uke 21, 2019". VG-lista. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  48. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  49. ^ "Veckolista Album, vecka 21". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  50. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Tyler, the Creator – Igor". Hung Medien. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  51. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  52. ^ "Official R&B Albums Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  53. ^ "Tyler the Creator Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  54. ^ "Tyler the Creator Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved June 14, 2019.