“This newest release is a victory lap to all those that doubted him…”: Jamie Halliwell reviews Tyler, The Creator’s newest release, Call Me If You Get Lost.
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Viewing Tyler, The Creator’s albums as just his music would be a disservice to all other avenues of his creativity. The success of his brand, GolfWang, as well as how far the once incredibly controversial rapper has come in terms of mainstream success shows his staying power.
The prior hype of IGOR (2019) was coated in his sudden revelation of him being allowed back into the UK after being banned by then-Home Secretary Theresa May which was met by me and thousands of other eager English fans swarming to Peckham to get a chance to see him perform live. This was then swiftly shut down by the police due in large parts to the sheer amount of cuffed dickies descending upon a glorified car park to get a chance to simply see Tyler in the flesh.
In essence, Tyler can often be seen as more than just a rapper but rather an artist whose albums are only one aspect of his creativity; Tyler’s music often encompasses that of fashion, films and community too. You can imagine then how quickly the hype began when on the 9th of June a mysterious billboard popped up simply stating “Call Me If You Get Lost” and a voicemail attached, a glistening hope that Tyler was back from what has been an extremely dreary two years since the release of IGOR. It was then confirmed shortly afterwards that Tyler – now under the new pseudonym Tyler Baudelaire – is back.
This Tyler physically appeared different from Wolf Haley or the titular Igor. Instead of long tube socks and Supreme five-panels or pastel suits, Tyler now seemed more opulent; adorning sweater vests and luggage trunks he immediately seemed to be channelling more of himself from times in Geneva and Capri, yet for such a high fashion look, Call Me If You Get Lost contrastingly takes us to a more aggressive version of Tyler not seen since Cherry Bomb.
Taken from the single ‘Lumberjack,’ the incredibly apt use of the ad-lib “It’s different, it’s really different” is used for many modern era Tyler fans who became aware of his existence from Flower Boy onwards as a warning for what’s to come. Tyler’s natural evolution led from him moving away to rap and production drowned in synths to more soul-inspired vocals.
Surprisingly, in his newest release, Tyler moves to blend these two distinct eras into one powerful sound. No greater can this be seen than in ‘HOT WIND BLOWS’, the beautiful Penny Goodwin vocal sample is contrasted by aggressive rapping from Tyler and Lil Wayne and choppy piano chords accompanied by booming drums that wouldn’t be misplaced on a record Tyler made when he was 19.
This is where Tyler stands as a legend among modern artists as he has a legacy of self-production on his albums which gives him the ability to easily blend earlier concepts into one masterpiece. Each song has sections that wouldn’t sound amiss on any of his older records which could come across as daunting in concept, yet in actuality, these all come together miraculously as a love letter to those who have been with Tyler since Frank Ocean was no more than a member of the Odd Future skate collective.
To listeners who hadn’t heard a Tyler album before Call Me If You Get Lost, it may come across as messy and the lyrics may appear to be too full of self-gratification. Lyrics speak of Tyler’s opulent lifestyle: of buying a car, instead of partying, to celebrate his Grammy win and spending his time in South-East Europe living an incomprehensibly lavish life. However, to long-time listeners this does not come off as bragging, but rather as a celebration of the mainstream finally recognising his musical talent; Tyler himself mentions this on ‘MANIFESTO’ saying “I’ve come a long way from my past… I was a teener, tweeting Selena crazy shit” in reference to his past offensive behaviour. Tyler, therefore, can be seen as addressing and growing from his past, returning to his old production style to do so. Now that he is successful he may want to demonstrate that, if needed, he can deliver on pure hip-hop.
This is not, however, a hip-hop album. Songs like ‘WUSYANAME’ and ‘SWEET / I THOUGHT YOU WANTED TO DANCE’ demonstrate that Tyler still is influenced by Flower Boy in the way he sings more than raps over a Bossa Nova beat. This is where the album truly starts to shine and the bragging starts to make clear sense; there are not many contemporary artists who can perform two genres so flawlessly and execute them with such envious ease. Tyler has always been a machine when it comes to his creativity, only being bested by Taylor Swift in the way he can, in a year, release multiple seasons of his fashion company and collaborate with Coca-Cola and Converse, all whilst creating an entirely new album and directing Wes Anderson-quality music videos.
Call Me If You Get Lost shows a new, mature side to Tyler, greatly influenced by all of his past works but unapologetically himself and moving sonically and artistically in a new direction. He demonstrates a microscopic level of detail in the moulding of his music to fit his new opulent aesthetic and bragging demeanour which makes us question why it took ten years for him to get the recognition he truly deserves. This newest release is a victory lap to all those that doubted the Odd Future founder in him being a serious artist. Call Me If You Get Lost cements Tyler as the artist of a generation with each release both challenging his prior work and demonstrating immense growth. Undoubtedly, Tyler silences the purists who saw him as horror-core-turned-pop, and shows himself to be the most suited candidate to call himself a true “creator.”
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