Album Review: Tyler, the Creator – ‘Cherry Bomb’

The world’s favourite hip-hop heretic returns with his fourth album, and it’s a bit of a riddle.

Odd-future’s obtuse frontman, Tyler, the Creator, dropped his new album, Cherry Bomb, one week after announcing its existence. For those of you who’ve only just caught up; if you’re into gritty synth sounds or looking for something to decipher, this release could be for you. But if you aren’t up for an aural pandemic of all-consuming bass sounds and unapologetically unruly production, leave it be.

With Tyler’s previous release’s being so successful and exciting, the anticipation of new material is always rife in the Wolfgang wonderland. His boisterous nature means that we never know what is coming next, and Cherry Bomb is unexpected to say the least. The 13-track release is a chaotic volcano of synth and strings, and is much more seriously musical than what we have seen from Tyler previously. On the surface, the album looks monumental, with the giants Kanye West, ScHoolboy Q and Pharrell Williams scattered across the tracks.

Last week saw the release of two tracks to tempt fans into pre-ordering the album – ‘Deathcamp’ and ‘Fucking Young/Perfect’. In true Tyler style, the aforementioned tracks are completely different; polar opposites in fact. ‘Deathcamp’ introduces us to an overwhelming vibe that we haven’t seen thus far in Tyler’s music: the heavy-rock cum electro backing drowns Tyler’s vocals, almost to the point of inaudibility. It proves a challenging listen, and although intentional, the rawness may be a tad too ruthless for some. Conversely to this, ‘Fucking Young/Perfect’ reveals something that OFWGKTA fans may have never seen before – Tyler displaying smooth, pitched vocals alongside Charlie Wilson and Kali Uchis. It is an example of how far he is willing to stretch his musical capacity, and shows us that Tyler is not restricted to the boundaries of the industry. This is most definitely an album for himself ahead of anyone else, and that is not necessarily a bad thing.


Despite Tyler seeming to open up his notorious hard skin with a bit of well-behaved melodic singing, the vintage anarchist persona still lingers. In tracks such as ‘Run’ and ‘Pilot’, it is almost as if he wants his listeners to feel overwhelmed and out of their aural comfort zone. His voice is once again overshadowed by gritty and scratchy synth, and you’d have to have good ears to understand his probably crude lyricism. For some, this is nothing more than Tyler in his element – no conformity, no influence, no empathy and no care for consequences. But for an artist who has definitely been waiting on formal acclaim and recognition for some time, Cherry Bomb could be a risky move. However, undoubtedly the biggest track on the album, ‘Smuckers’, displays a tad more sanity than the others. Featuring Kanye West, the track is much more clearly mixed, and seems to show the Tyler of yesteryear, with his blunt and brutal rapping style.

Tyler’s future was always going to be as unpredictable as it was odd, and the opaqueness of the album points to an artist with a statement – Tyler is a loud-mouth lunatic, and his lust for bedlam is evidently still in full swing in 2015. The aptly-named Cherry Bomb is definitely a fizzy cacophony of excitement, and there are explosions everywhere. Whether this is a positive move or not, this is a musician in his element, and he doesn’t look to be budging any time soon.

Will McCartney

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