Tyler, the Creator is the bombastic, energetic, and overall mastermind behind three critically acclaimed studio albums. Tyler’s first release being a mixtape under the name Bastard, which would eventually launch Tyler and his group, OF, into superstardom. What seemed like kids getting together to make music, eventually turned into one of the greatest moments of hip-hop history. Watching the evolution of Tyler, the Creator change not just mentally, but also musically was an adventure that I was more than happy to be a part of.
As Tyler’s mind grew more mature, he began reaching more and more into unknown territory with music. Tyler began rapping about what nearly every teenager thought of, he then progressed into what is now a stream of consciousness. Cherry Bomb is a look into the once provocative mind of Tyler, the Creator, but also a look forward into the future.
Cherry Bomb opens with “DeathCamp,” an extremely abrasive and in your face track that throws the rule book out of the window and just lets Tyler do what Tyler does best. Tyler was always a visionary through his music, allowing other opinions to become invalid, chaos to be made, and for Tyler to have total control over his creations. Cherry Bomb is Tyler, the Creator in his purest form, he puts every card on the table, holds nothing back, and releases his most progressive work to date.
The following tracks “Buffalo” and “Pilot” focus more on the current status of Tyler and what has happened in the years prior to his fame. The way Tyler describes “I’m in first class but I feel like coach” on “Pilot” was an interesting hook and the whole song has this catchy drum beat that echoes through the whole track until finally coming to an almost spoken-word section at the songs closing.
The next track “Run” is mixed in so quickly that it was actually hard to understand that it became a different track. Tyler, the Creator has always been an engaging and involved storyteller, Cherry Bomb is no different. Every track is mixed in so well and there really is no separation or down-time between tracks. There is a constant radio interference that reminds the listener of Golf Radio which is a fictional station that has giveaways to drive-ins, and even sneak peeks of upcoming movie clips.
Tyler, the Creator completely changed up his sound with Cherry Bomb, this is much more frantic than any of his past releases, but I would say that Wolf is the closest in actual sound, chords, and feel to Cherry Bomb. Wolf used horns, eccentric drums, and overall a jazzier approach, Cherry Bomb follows the jazzier style, but instead changes constantly between jazz and destructive hip-hop.
Tracks like “2Seater” and “Cherry Bomb” are perfect examples of this jazz-punk fusion. On “2Seater,” the track is a smoother transition between vocals from Tyler and singing from Syd from The Internet. The two musicians create this interesting blend of genres as Tyler is usually not elegant through his vocals, and Syd is just the opposite. Together they constantly complement each other, but also create a duality.
On the track “Cherry Bomb,” Tyler instead ditches the soft and gentle approach to the songs progression. Instead, Tyler brings a literal assault of bass and snare drum beats, aggressive synth static leads, and vocals that are near screams. Cherry Bomb can feel bi-polar at moments, as the way the mood swings from hostile to friendly, but that is the greatest thing about Cherry Bomb. It feels so natural and unforced.
Other tracks like “The Dark Stains of Darkeese Latifah Part 6-12 (Remix)” has again an intriguing beat and an intense feature from Schoolboy Q. The two tag-team this screeching track that constantly changes key, has this rising arpeggiator click, and one of the loudest mixes of a song to date. The track then transitions into totally different beat and style of verse from Tyler. The entire track just feels like being thrown into a mosh pit, it’s deafening, roaring, and ultimately an interesting way to transition into one of the slower songs on Cherry Bomb.
“Fucking YOUNG/Perfect” is another two-part track. The first half is a gentle singing track delivered by Tyler about a lover that is obviously too young. A classic love story that has a twist from the truly poetic mastermind. The second half is where the song really picks up and becomes outstanding, Kali Uchis delivers the best feature on the entire album. She perfectly closes the song, speaking from the position of the woman that Tyler is attracted to, being able to deliver some soft vocalization that is backed by a downright beautiful score of instruments.
The track “Smuckers” which follows has a great delivery from Tyler, Lil Wayne, and Yeezus himself. The beat has this nearly symphonic transition that features background chorus vocals and a 1970’s sounding ensemble of strings, horns, and percussion.
Finally, the last three tracks “Keep Da O’s,” “Okaga, CA,” and “Yellow” couldn’t have been more different than each other. “Keep Da O’s is a song that produces some of Tyler’s most out of place vocals to date, focusing more on money, chains, and stunting. While “Okaga, CA” and “Yellow (which was an exclusive physical track)” follows the lovelier side of Tyler. Bringing about a hopeful look into the future of Tyler, the Creator.
The whole experience of Cherry Bomb is one I seriously recommend and if you are new to Tyler, the Creator, this is the album to start with. It is Tyler in his purest, artist from. The way Tyler lets his ideas convey and speak for themselves, the musical progression, and very way Cherry Bomb is presented makes for Tyler’s most impressive piece yet.