Welcome to Feature Fridays! Each week, AU Music Library staff highlight a CD or artist from our collection. This semester our reviews will feature recent additions to the collection. This week Student Assistant Elisabeth McCarren reviews Flower Boy, by Tyler, the Creator.
Released in 2017, Flower Boy is Tyler, the Creator’s fourth studio album. Although Tyler’s earlier work is considered highly controversial - even resulting in him being banned from the United Kingdom for three to five years - Flower Boy is considered by many critics and fans to be Tyler’s “course-correction.” The album is inclusive, meditative, colorful and nostalgic; listening to it feels like walking in a daydream. Flower Boy received rave reviews from critics and was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards. According to Sheldon Pierce of Pitchfork, “Flower Boy is transformational, lovestruck and penetrating. Finally, Tyler gets to the essence of ideas he’s been chiseling at all along: the angst of a missed connection, the pain of unrequited love, navigating youthful ennui. These are hopeful and sincere songs about finding yourself and trying to find someone who values you completely.”
The ideas of loneliness, isolation and a search for self-acceptance are the overarching themes of the album. The opening track “Foreword” finds Tyler rejecting material possessions and dreaming of “the woods with flowers, rainbows, and posies.” He also apologizes to women he has used or misled in the past, rapping, “Shoutout to the girls that I lead on/For occasional head and always keeping my bed warm.” The album’s centerpiece is “Garden Shed,” a song dedicated to Tyler’s internal struggles surrounding his sexuality. The album also includes Tyler writing love songs (“See You Again”) and leaving his lover voicemails (“Glitter”).
Flower Boy is the first real glimpse into a softer Tyler, the Creator and gives listeners an inside look into the artist’s experience with love, sexuality, friendship, and loneliness. This album showcases Tyler’s narrative arcs and ability to flawlessly blend many genres into one album. Flower Boy is definitely one of Tyler, the Creator’s most critically acclaimed albums, as well as my personal favorite.
Flower Boy is new to the Music Library’s collection, as is Tyler, the Creator’s most recent album, IGOR. Both are available to loan on CD.