Monday, September 5, 2011

Goblin delivers dark and twisted journey into rap's netherworld

I'm a blogger, and I write reports about hipster indie music. Do you think Tyler the Creator wants to stab me with a pitchfork?

Goblin, the Odd Future phenom's sophomore album, hit under a huge wave of hype following the release of the initial single "Yonkers."  Dark, brooding, and methodical, "Yonkers" was able to conjure many feelings that rap hadn't really been able to generate for awhile. But it also created very high standards for the rest of the album.

Does it live up to the hype?

There's no disputing that Goblin does many things well. Like Bastard, his previous album, Goblin is set up as a conversation between Tyler and his counselor. Most of the tracks create a dialogue between the two, which Tyler uses as a vehicle to take us on a tour inside of the mind of a mentally unstable young man. Lyric wise there's quite a bit of gritty stuff that you're going to need to take with a grain of salt.

"Transylvania," which features some of Tyler's sickest rhymes and flows, is an easy standout. The vampire themed lyrics are humorous and serve as a  nice touch. "She" features my favorite beat and boasts a red hot slow jam chorus from Frank Ocean, which delivers a liberal dose of sensuality.

"Her" is Tyler's best work lyrically. It tells of romantic inclinations he has toward a particular girl. Just when he's about to make his move, she gets back together with an ex. He does a great job of describing the sense of heartbreak and wounded pride:

"I could tell them the truth and just say she didn't like me much
but instead I lie and say she moved to Nebraska."

There are a pair of tracks around the album's midway point, "Nightmare" and "Tron Cat," that are totally laid back with mellow R&B beats. I wasn't too impressed with either of these initially, but I came to appreciate how Tyler is able to work with a wide variety of beats and establish a very tangible mood on these tracks.

"Sandwitches" and "Radicals" are both aggressive and hard hitting tracks, but "Radicals" suffers from being a bit self indulgent and floats around in too much ambiance. The verses are killer though.

There is, however, a run of weaker tracks near the close of the album. "Fish/Boppin Bitch" is nothing special, but Tyler does find a demented flow near the start of the song.

That is followed up by "Analog" which mainly features Hodgy Beats, which is just a weak track in general and doesn't seem to serve any purpose.

Then you get "Bitch Suck Dick," which is an abrasive in-your-face track that comes out of nowhere and disappears before you have time to realize what's even going on. "Window" is okay, but I don't like to listen to the last part.

Goblin is certainly a solid effort, but it's not without its flaws. Tyler seems to put too much focus on shock factor here, and the album tends to wander at points. But Goblin is a very unique record, which sees Tyler establish a strong personality while also exhibiting great rap skills.

It's not rap album of the year, but you aren't like to find anything that leaves an impression on you like Goblin does.

Score: 83/100

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