Tyler, the creator – Cherry Bomb
Tyler the Creator is an American rapper, he founded Odd Future Records (at around 21 years old). Cherry Bomb is Tyler’s fourth studio album, released April 13th 2015.
Cherry Bomb see’s Tyler taking a slightly experimental approach to instrumentation; using retro synths and instruments. With the occasional soul/blues influence and a mix bag of aggression and down-tempo tracks, cherry bomb starts strong but begins it’s a slow decline passed ‘BlowMyLoad’.
Deathcamp – This track has a good flow, it has the structure and instrumentation of a radio-friendly pop track and is undeniably similar to rock hip-hop group, N.E.R.D. The tempo of Tyler’s vocals is fast paced with an aggressive delivery. A strong start for Tyler’s fourth instalment.
Buffalo – A lower tempo track, features Tyler’s trademark slower, brooding and aggressive delivery. The instrumentation of this track compliments Tyler’s flow, with 80s synth and cheering samples, Tyler’s dark lyrics add a nice contrast, making this an overall enjoyable and solid track.
Pilot – Another track using retro-style synths combined with a tricky beat to combine with a rap flow. Tyler manages to flow over a fairly flooded and overwhelming sound scape. The track is messy and difficult to adjust, almost like a blend of two separate tracks. with the verse feeling very aggressive as it’s stripped back to just bass and drums getting more textured and airy as it approaches the chorus. Overall the track is enjoyable but at times feels clustered.
Run – A fast paced track that runs for only 1:09, Tyler’s vocals have been pitch-shifted, as if sped up to match the up tempo soundtrack. An interesting song with little to offer, as its doesn’t add anything to the following or preceding tracks.
Find your Wings – Retro synths combined with jazzy instrumentation, this track starts off with a spacey, double-bass powered start. As Tyler’s, and female backing, vocals start he remains in tone with the instrumentation. This is a slow, jazzy track taking over a minute to get to the vocals. The song really doesn’t add much to the album it merely slows the pace only for it to be picked up again by the following track, so it feels like a rather pointless interlude.
Cherry Bomb –This song starts with a clearly electronic fuzzy bass drum and deeply distorted guitar chord. Aggressive, bitcrushed vocals accompany a distorted drumbeat, the track is border lining experimental electronic hip-hop. A 90s techno synth replaces the deliberate bad feedback of the previous instrumentation. The track continues with this pattern of switching between the artificial poor feedback instrumentation and techno synths. What is first an impressive move for Tyler becomes a messy track that is tempting to skip halfway through. It does change tempo toward the end of a track with a nice mixture of female backing vocals and a strong deep synthy bass. This section is interesting though short lived and could have added more to the track rather than simply closing it out with a fade.
Blow My Load – Combining elements of Soul with Tyler’s trademark deep, brooding delivery this track seems to be a satirical approach to soul-love with Tyler’s wicked sense of humour. Half way through the track fades and a slow retro keyboard synth upholds the Soul-vibe. Female vocals fade in, only to be disrupted by an 80s-style radio presenter batting the track off as music from “the upcoming film, f*bleep*”
2Seater – Continuing with the slow tempo Soul vibe from the previous track 2Seater features Tyler’s deep delivery with more of those retro synths. The track doesn’t offer much that BlowMyLoad didn’t achieve and missing Tyler’s aggression the track is bluesy but dull.
The Brown stains of Darkeese Latifah part 6-12 (Remix) (Feat. Schoolboy Q) – This song gives a simple but flowing rap to a bubbly synth and keyboard synth. This track has a lot of low end with a extremely deep bass line and a Bass drum that sounds as though it’s been loosened to the point of almost hanging of the kit. The track picks up as Schoolboy Q brings aggression to his delivery. This is one of the rap-heavier tracks of Cherry Bomb, it’s a good track and Schoolboy Q has a fair flow.
Fucking Young/ Perfect (Feat. Charlie Wilson & Kali Uchis) – A track that combines the N.E.R.D approach from Deathcamp (what? Just me? Okay..) and the soul vibe from 2Seater. This isn’t the style of track I’d expect from Tyler.
Smuckers (Feat. Kanye West & Lil Wayne) – Kanye and Lil Wayne are the cameo-acting Samuel Jacksons of hip-hop and R&B. I had low expectations for this track and I’d be wrong to say they weren’t met. The vocals have the aggressive approach I’ve come to expect from Tyler but this track, and it’s featuring artists, bring the egotistical, poor flow and light instrumentation that kills a rap track. This track was most likely produced to instigate sales and nothing more; expect no game-changing flow or production.
Keep Da O’s (Feat. Pharrell Williams) – This track doesn’t offer much in terms of instrumentation, flow or production.
Okaga, CA – By this, the last, track the tempo has fully dropped, the soul-vibe and retro synths remain to influence. The album’s inspiration and key messages have been spent and Tyler comes in with a slow, Sunday-afternoon flow. Perhaps this is a cool-off track to what was a fairly experimental release by Tyler.
Overall this album feel like a bit a disappointment, as it only has a few notable tracks front loaded on the album, the rest feels uninteresting and fails to really feature any strong hooks. There are some moments that show some promise but they’re usually short lived and clumsy. Only listen to this album if you’re a die hard fan of Tyler even then you may struggle to remain interest in the album after the beginning few tracks.