Music Review: Flower Boy

Max Schwartz takes a look at Tyler, The Creator’s latest album


  Tyler, The Creator – often characterized by his aggressive, punk tone and provocative lyrics – defies the paradigm of his music, in his new project, Flower Boy.

  Flower Boy was exclusively produced by himself, Tyler Okonma, reinstating the talent he has as a producer.

  The production departs from his typical sound with a less intense production, and introducing R&B, jazz, funk and melodic instrumentals. These are complemented by strong features by Frank Ocean, Steve Lacy, Kali Uchis and Rex Orange County, all helping to create the vibe for the album.

  The features of the album are very present, taking up large parts of the songs, making the lyrics that Tyler delivers carry more meaning behind them. As opposed to typical filler lyrics provides in most songs for shock value.

  The first preview of the album was Who Dat Boy delivered with a music video. The song was bass heavy with a horror movie esque beat. The lyric delivery was aggressive, and for the most part—expected. This song is definitely a car slapper, but other than that not much else, making it seemed catered to those who wanted another Cherry Bomb.

  The album opens with Foreword, a commentary about himself, in the form of inward questions.

  Though it is rhetorical, the lyrics carry a lot of meaning. The track pulls you in with instrumental resembling a clock. This seems to align with his introspective questions, as if he’s reflecting on his time.

  Throughout the whole album, Tyler opens up his inner emotions that his outward persona doesn’t display. This is similar to his previous tracks such as Bastard, Tron Cat and Golden, a trilogy where he confronts the same emotions, but through alter egos.

  By not including his alter egos, Tyler created a more genuine listening experience, making his emotions sound more direct, and not through a mask.

  The song 911/Mr. Lonely is a prime example of him revealing what is behind his exuberant persona.

  Starting off with a groovy melody along with a smooth feature from Steve Lacy, and lyrics containing pop culture icons such as Beyonce and Elon Musk, the song seems casual at face value. But with the addition of the lyrics,“I’m the loneliest man alive/

But I keep on dancing to throw ’em off”  begins to transfer into the theme of Lonely.

  As the track transitions into Lonely, it takes a very revealing turn into an introspective, fast paced approach into his real feelings about his loneliness.

  Rapping about his McLaren as “the only thing keeping me company”, he addresses an example of the perception of him.

  The song See You Again takes the cake as my favorite song. The beautiful vocals and meaningful lyrics top it off as the most put together song on the album. The narrative about him still thinking of his old partner tied together with lyrics like “I wonder if you look both ways when you cross my mind” perfectly encompass that.

  From a relatively short album from him, running at only 47 minutes, Tyler masterfully created arguably the best album to date.

  In tearing away from his known persona, he has opened a door to a completely new style where he can make the music that fulfils his true artistic potential.