tyler-the-creator-wolf

Wolf

music

Tyler the Creator.  We’re talking about a guy that ate a cockroach to get famous.  A dude that drops the “F-bomb” frequent and willingly to show his obvious hate for people and the world itself (Haley Williams/Bruno Mars/B.O.B/Republicans). He throws carnivals and likes pink doughnuts. Mentions rape and masturbation in verse. All because it is fun for him to swear and act like a kid. HE TWEETS IN ALL CAPS ABOUT MAKING SANDWICHES. His Instagram name is felciathegoat. He hates the radio and ratings that see him as being a failure.  Better run MTV.

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Tyler leads Odd Future, a random assortment of crew members (Domo Genesis, Hodgy Beats, Earl Sweatshirt, Taco etc) that have a destructive demeanor, but yet a colorful vocabulary in their aggressive rhymes and beats that make for an uncomfortable listen to a normal person. Such as this…

I’m a f*cking walking paradox, no I’m not
Threesomes with a f*cking triceratops, Reptar
Rapping as I’m mocking deaf rock stars

Somewhere between talent and psychotic.  Clever with word play for sure, but the imagery goes a little too far.  But yo, that is Tyler and he doesn’t care what you think about him.  He knows he is different and that’s just how he has fun. YDG?

He is a rebel and hearing his different outlook on life is exciting to witness as a listener and especially as a fan that enjoys his creativity and production capabilities.

Just like how a viewer sympathizes for a gangster in a movie, we can do the same for Tyler who in essence has the same desires that we have in life.  Whether it be getting to know and be with a girl that seems impossible to move in on, to being stable in his own mind because a lot of people out their battle depression and anxiety.

Tyler’s latest album “Wolf” is one of my favorite concept albums in recent years mostly for the fact that every song can stand alone.  Through all the schemes, as a viewer I feel so attached to the story and the alter-egos that Tyler represents showing his true feelings and emotions on touchy subjects matters such as the absence of his dad in his life, or cancer “that ate his Grammy up”. It’s a part of a greater story and getting lost in Tyler’s references and messed up mindset is well worth the journey. It can get confusing even after two years of listening, so let’s get funky with it.

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I. Wolf starts off introducing us to two main characters that are a part of Tyler’s self-conscience.  Samuel, a member of Camp Flognaw kicks off the album singing “F*ck you” to everything and everyone over a piano based angelic tune.  Professor TC, the camp director, applauds Samuel for his performance and introduces him to Wolf who is a new member of the camp.  The camp serves as an escape to the outdoors (which Tyler actually appreciates in real life) for each character as they suffer from mental problems and social issues.  Samuel disregards Wolf’s conversation about Jazz music and just like the song in the beginning of the album says he does not mess with him and wants him to stay out of his way.  The album continually switches perspectives between Wolf and Samuel.

II. “Cowboy” shows the the lonely side of Samuel  flirting with the imagery of shadows and smoking at the dock to portray somebody that is on their own quest and no matter how much it seems they have, they still believe it isn’t enough to make them whole mostly because of self-awareness and lack of belonging.  This shows the side of Tyler that  speaks to his line “I’m as lonely as the crackers that super models eats.”  The story sparks  Wolf to ask Samuel about a girl that passed by.  Samuel angrily responds that it is Salem, his girlfriend and to stay away from her.

Wolf ignores his threats and pursues his girlfriend in “Awkward” as it was his first official date.  This track which shows a side of Wolf who lacks confidence and is insecure in his abilities to talk to Salem, who has him going crazy in his head. Her name is his password.  His feelings are locked up in a zip lock bag and he is claustrophobic in his attempts trying to find the courage to break open the seal and make his relationship with her normal.  They still hold no title after the date and it causes Wolf to search more desperately in his internal struggle.  The track hints at young love and how everything is awkward at first when it comes to liking each other.  Also, how we get caught up in feelings for girls so easily and fall so hard because we never tasted the actual physical presence of love before.

Samuel continues his cowboy thrill ride on his bicycle “Slater” without his girlfriend which I think this illusion is created in his mind.  The story is told through the success of Tyler the Creator which is the opposite of what Samuel has, nothing. Tyler lives a life of a star “kickin it in the burbs” and going crazy at shows because he holds a title. This is a false perception that Samuel has of himself as his conscience gets hazy. Frank Ocean says to Samuel “I guess you’re a cool guy, you’re talking to a f*cking bike, loser.” Samuel must have tried to persuade him about the lavish lifestyle he lives, but in the end he was talking to an object that wasn’t living.

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This all leads to “48” which portrays Samuel as a drug dealer selling crack and deepening his wounds and his life in general.  The Nas interview talks about how crack messed up the streets, the individuals that took the drugs and the sellers.  Samuel gets caught up in this lifestyle because he has nothing and ends up doing more damage to himself and the people he sells to.  He supports his family, but in reality he is lost at sea and “nobody wins” as Nas says when it is all said and done. His conscience is fading away and he hates it because he knows what’s right, but he has to survive somehow. Also, this song pokes at the struggles in the black community of drug trading in less privileged communities because it isn’t fair how they ended up because of racial inequality, but somehow they had to get by.

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Party/Campfire/Bimmer

A breath of fresh air at night in the great outdoors.  Wolf comes out of his shell and approaches Salem with a new acceptance of how different he is compared to everyone else.  For this reason, she should take a chance with him. He’s excited to be at camp and embraces his struggles in “Campfire” with a new outlook on life and appreciation the little things like marshmallows, chocolate and just being outside. An upbeat transition to “Bimmer” reveals Wolf and his new found life of sex.  The awesome car is a metaphor for how special Salem is to her.  Bimmers are amazing looking cars inside and out. “The perfect two seater”.  Tyler is so exuberant in his word play with sex and the different parts of the car comparing the ignition and the key to the act as well as the drive of the car in motion to Salem and Wolf’s sex drive.

III.  Tensions start flaring after the three part song. In the next skit, a fellow camper and drug user tells Samuel that Wolf has been seeing Salem and they went to the lake.  Samuel is furious not only because he told Wolf to stay out of his way, but his only love is with somebody else (as demonstrated in IFHY)

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What a perfect song. Not only the various instruments and beats, but the conception that Samuel is stuck in the middle of love and hate.  He is pissed because Salem left him for Wolf. Salem is an addiction for Sam and she has more highs and lows for him compared to the drugs he substitutes in place of her.

Cause when I hear your name I can not stop cheesing
I love you so much that my heart stops beating when you’re leaving
And I’m grieving and my heart starts bleeding
Life without you has no god damn meaning
Sorry I’m passive aggressive for no god damn reason
It’s that my mood change like these god damn seasons
I’ll fall for you, but I love you
Tyler is so back and forth with his word play and those thoughts that stream in his head are thrown in our face. We can all say that we were a victim of somebody that mentally messed with our brain all because of the game of love.  We love that person because we think they’re beautiful, but they moved on from us and we hate them.  We get trapped in this mind game where we would do anything to have them back and like Tyler said without that special person life isn’t worth living anymore.
After IFHY, Salem tells Wolf that Sam is “actually a dweeb” and he is messed up from not having a dad “Answer” and getting bullied back home “Pigs”.
Answer, my favorite track on the album, goes into Tyler’s real life depression of not having a father in life through Sam’s perspective.  He hates his dad for not being there for him and blames him for the facial hair he has and for beginning his career that propelled his music of dark emotions and hate for everybody.  In essence, if he called him, Tyler hopes he could talk to him and receive an explanation as to where he was all of Tyler’s life.  I feel it’s a part that would make Tyler whole since his father was missing his whole life.  The song feels like he is floating on a bubble in a dreamy colorful location reminiscing and thinking of what could have been.
“Pigs” begins the rampage of Samuel who is coming after all the bullies in the world as well as anyone that gets in his way, in particular Wolf for stealing Salem.  It’s weird because we come back to the theme of Tyler contradicting his thoughts saying he wants to kill everybody like a mass murderer (pumping like his inhaler) ,but at the same time he’s a kid that wants peace (wouldn’t hurt a fly. or even join an army) and just wants to be left alone.
The skit after “Parking Lot” reveals Wolf becoming aware that Samuel wants to kill him.  He lashes back and says “not if I get to him first”.
It’s on.
IV.
Samuel gets to Earl after Wolf recruits him and Domo and kills him at the end of his verse that contemplates suicide in “Rusty”.
“Trashwang” is war.  From the screaming and bombing at the beginning, the viewer can tell it’s about to go down.  This is where Sam and Wolf’s crews go after it.  Wolf’s crew is flaunting the whole time.They have so much fun throwing parties with ferris wheels and being absolutely vulgar promising Sam’s crew they can’t be messed with.  They have tanks and goons with aim.
Don’t let the skateboards fool you,
Know n*ggas that pull triggers
tamale
“Tamale” is definitely the weirdest song I’ve ever listened to and masturbation and sexual acts are used throughout the song.  This surprisingly is apart of the story as Wolf gets sent to TC for getting caught in the act at camp. The background Tamale voice is the most annoying cartoon creature voice.  It’s such a Tyler song and if any other artist produced the song, it wouldn’t work at all.
V. The album ends with “Lone”. Lone Wolf. Get it?  The last and first song in all of his albums correspond. TC takes the role as a therapist asking Wolf why he’s been getting in such mischief with fights and unnecessary foolishness. Wolf is lonely with all the stardom and wants to quit , but can’t.  He has responsibility now and the money helps him have the excitement and go to different places to reek havoc. “Life is paying for thrills.” The last half of the first verse talk about Tyler using the challenges and the tough times he’s been through paint a picture for all to see.  He uses music as a creative outlet to get his pain off his chest and a lot of listeners like myself can relate to a certain extent.
“A year ago I was broke, now how can I afford this
I started off with disposables now I have an assortment
And I’m using these negatives to develop a portrait
Now the frame is a pain in the ass to get it in
Without a scratch or stain on the glass
But that’s not important, just as long as it’s printed”
Tyler has more pressure to support his family and friends ,but in the end he is still the same outgoing kid.  Not everything and everybody is going to accept you for the changes you make, but deep down you know you still fit the frame.  Some things just got left out. Tyler can stay sane getting these thoughts down.
Even sadder in this song Tyler talks about the time when his grandmother passes away.  It’s different for Tyler to actually care about something and I think death does that to us, it changes us in the strangest way.  The fact that he had just saw her last week and that she is gone now is awkward to him. He doesn’t know how to deal with this situation because he never dealt with death before so he is stuck in his emotions, trying to adjust his seat to find the right way to feel.  At the hospital where his grandmother is, he can’t even look when he talks because it’s awkward to him.  She was weak and there was nothing he can do about it.  She died that night. The dreary chords work perfectly in this song and piano playing in the background go along with the storytelling of Wolf’s pain.
We end our roller coaster ride with TC sympathizing for Wolf saying his story was deep.  TC also says to Wolf that Sam was looking for him.  Wolf responds back angrily saying he hates him and if he saw him he would have killed him.
oakwood tyler
What can we take from this story? A lot actually, but i think the loneliness aspect is the most important.  Throughout the story the protagonists are going through a struggle to find themselves and cope with tragedy.
Sam goes crazy because he is so alone and loses his girlfriend.  He moves toward drugs and revenge to satisfy the part in himself that was missing.
As for Wolf, he starts off new at the camp alone searching for new adventures and a way to calm down the demons that float within him.  Towards the middle of the album he is content and his in a relationship with Slater and the fame and fortune seem to be going his way.  At the end of the album he feels so alone and it doesn’t matter who he has to back him up in his feud with Sam. He is going to be lonely because he can’t find the happiness deep in himself and he has more responsibility now.  He doesn’t feel worth it and doesn’t think he can amount to much floating in his thoughts and feeling bad for himself.
The Lone Wolf (as the album suggests by way of track-listing) shows us the journeys these guys have to take to show the different sides of Tyler’s mind.  Tyler is the lone wolf. I think the softer side of Tyler wants us to understand that everybody will go through a tough time and feel like they are not meant to exist.
The back and forth thoughts in our head make us question what is right, or wrong, but we keep on pushing on in hope to be whole and apart of a bigger something.  Maybe that’s over analyzing because I think Tyler wanted to mostly entertain his audience with great production and show off his growth as an artist, but digging deeper shows his true story.
tyler the end
yeezus

Ready to Die (Round up #1)

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Does the “current day album” still have value, or is it considered a dying breed? (Here today gone tomorrow)

Go to Spotify.  Pick a random song (probably your jam).  Pick another band.  Play two of their songs at most, different albums. *Commercial* Then continue the process and commercials and we have this unusual mix of chaos that defines how we as people listen to music these days.

In today’s day and age music and the significance of albums have changed drastically.  Most albums today survive off singles and are easily accessed whether it would be by streaming, or downloading.  The new mediums and diets as a music consumer such as the ones explained have changed the way we listen to music and have shied away from listening to whole albums because of some of the fluff music that gets put in albums to broadcast 3-4 good songs.

Some artists will unlikely be able to survive off making albums explained in David Bryne’s post on the streaming era and it’s affect.

With that being said, how can albums survive and still manage to send whole messages with people listening to random songs all the time?  I am guilty, I admit.

We all adapt to what is going on in the world, but what would it take to go back to the days of Pink Floyd and Led Zepplin where real music and philosophy existed.

“The youngsters are streaming singles and the oldsters are staying home.” Wise words here from Bob Lefsetz. You might ask “what’s so important about this”?

Personally I think myself and a lot of others don’t feel that albums have the same value.  And when do you ever hear of them coming out? I feel like albums were more anticipated.

Kanye West has his new album coming out in less than a month, shout out to Yeezy! I can see him getting a lot of exposure with this new album, I hear it’s going to be a happier album similar to Graduation. But did you know Big Sean came out with an album recently? When was this!?

Amazing how a lot of people talk about and download “Blessings” which was a big hit the past few weeks with features from Drake and Yeezy, but the whole album has never crossed my path.  There’s no spicy talk about any of the other songs.

Ray Wolfson calls most of the music coming out “fast food music” and there is barely any human condition analysis.

We bump to music that has little meaning, but it sounds cool so we continue to blast it and look for more songs that brag about lavish lifestyles.  Followed by a stupid dance.  Then it goes viral. Cool man.

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Bobby Shmurda and his one hit wonder “Hot N*gga” is such a catchy tune and it blew up.  There is no morals especially since the hit song mentions in the chorus about his friend killing somebody….(about a week ago) and his crew being so gangster.  Congratulations.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t “Shmurda” my way through first semester, but I just feel singles like these show that we have started to miss the point along the way.

Jimmy Smith, an amazing and successful jazz player, said it best in Drake’s Nothing Was the Same album.

“Good God Almighty. Like back in the old days. You know, years ago they had the A&R men to tell you what to play, how to play it and you know whether it’s disco and rock but we just went in the studio and we did it. We had champagne in the studio, of course, you know, compliments of the company, and we just laid back and did it. So we hope you enjoy listening to this album half as much as we enjoyed playing it for you. Because we had a ball. Only real music is gonna last, all the other bullsh*t is here today and gone tomorrow…”

There is more to life than this nonsense and this was probably the only good song on the album.  People need great stories through a great outlet like music to impact their lives.  The crappy music that most people make today are enjoyed by the public and it lowers the standards that great bands and artists have set for us.

I think there was a special time period where people would go out and buy albums and they got to enjoy the whole experience.

I don’t think their is a right, or wrong way to listen to music because people should have the right to listen to what they want, when they want especially when we live in this digital era.

I just hope people can find good music along the way again.  In this day and age it is hard to find something that flows and is creative the whole way.  And even when it is I feel like people are not patient enough to listen all the way through.

In the Duff Mckagen interview it mentions the make-up of an album and messing around with the order of songs disturbs the whole story it tries to reveal, which speaks volumes to how great an art form albums are.

One of the most recent examples of great storytelling through concept albums is Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D City.

“A true classic is an album that stretches boundaries and influences future artists”, says Edward Bowser of Soul In The Stereo.

Kendrick tells a narrative of his evolution of being violent with his friends and is apart of murders and drugs.  He is a product of his own environment and has dreams of getting out of the hood where in one song he is so caught up in evil revenge that it costs his friend to die in his arms. Making something of his own life so he can give back to his “bad city” makes the album a wonderful and powerful story narrated by various skits, along with thrills of Sherene, which is a girl K Dot is perusing in a roller coaster adventure .

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The important fact to note about this album is the fact that most of the songs had a rightful place and were all valuable in relation to putting the album together. In other words this album wasn’t just made to promote “Swimming Pools”, or “Money Trees”, but instead to inspire others in poor communities to change their ways for a better quality life.

I think if concept albums in the future relay powerful messages just like Kendrick’s debut album, the products that artists put out will be listened to more than a few months and can even act as social reform to spark changes in the lives that we live today.

camp

Camp

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All of us have weird rituals and traditions.  We allow them to be acceptable in our schedules and not having them can be compared to forgetting to mix in the eggs while making brownies.

I know as a football fan these traditions are relevant when it comes to consuming the NFL games all Sundays.  We monitor our fantasy rosters like clockwork and even go to games shirtless in negative degree weather and dress up in costumes. Or even worse…Raiders attire…

raiders suck

Regardless of how weird you think your rituals are, they are your bread and butter and you live and die by them.  My blog holds certain traditions pertaining to music and concept albums where my analysis on certain albums and social commentary is important to the flow and community aspect.

Stealing music from each other.  I need some thieves up in my crew so if you’re good at that come join.  Just like good writers steal, I want people in my community to take something they heard that I posted about, or somebody recommend and jam to it.  This might attract some addicted torrenters, but hey whatever it takes to get some followers.

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Another tradition we have is reviewing concept albums and the great stories they have.  I want my followers to be able to tell me what their take on it is because lyrics and song meanings are open to discussion.  The different perspectives can help us reach a better understanding of the albums.

My goal for myself is to review albums I never gave the chance and listen to artists like Pink Floyd and listen to their critically acclaimed album “The Wall” and uncover their deep meanings.

I also want people to tell me about why they listen to music and what albums and artists have opened them up to new ideas and new music styles.

If you have any questions, or discover some cooler traditions let me know and I will consider all options!

Songs for the Deaf

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My community is open to everyone but primarily folks that will relate and most likely view my blog will be…

1) An avid music listener (or hope to start)

We are in it for the music! I want people to open those ears and hear it play.  I’m going to be experimenting with a lot of genres which will increase my target audience.  When I say “music listener” I don’t just mean radio either.  I strongly believe that my blog will promote great music that is not just catchy, but holds meaning.  If the radio is all you listen to I think you’re just limiting yourself to the wide variety of music we have available to us.

2) Enjoy narrative and great storytelling

2 (25) Monkey business - Big Caesar 060

Gather around like we’re hearing the great myth of “Stoop Kid”, or that campfire story that brings the marshmallows to the fun.  Concept albums, if you listen, have these thrilling and inspiring stories that make you want to hear more.  My people are anticipating my interpretations of how artists reveal their stories and what I take away from it pertaining to life itself. Ask what’s this artists style like? Will I enjoy the voice and chords that connect me to their music, or should I try somebody that takes a different approach?

“If music is the food of love play on, play on” – Of Mice Men

3) sharing creative ideas/ being open to new views

We are an open community with an overflow of ideas.  We all have something to offer and are different in upbringings and views. Bring something to the table and let me know.  Maybe you think Nas is the best lyricist of all time and Illmatic was the best rap album ever. Maybe express your love for Dance Gavin Dance, but despise ADTR and their cliche lyrics.

We are here BECAUSE OF THE INTERNET and the cool thing about this blog is that we are here for a common reason, for the love of music.  As much as I despise the term ‘good vibes” I hope they can be brought to this blog and we can evolve our understanding of music and develop them to impact our society and ourselves.

Inside Wants Out

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Start your journey.  Yeah life is a plot-less adventure that may sometime seem meaningless, but songs put matters in perspective for me and a lot of people in the world. Songs are used as a form of  expression and sometimes the only way to describe a situation, or the way you feel is by listening to music and sympathizing for the artist, or character.

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Drake could have squeezed that in one of his songs easily. Sorry to be so corny guys, but come on at the end of the day we want music that we can relate to. We want to be involved in the thrill of the story.  Man on the Moon, Kid Cudi’s debut album dives into the messages of loneliness and being different. Believing in himself when everybody doubted him and his talents.  We all can relate to this at some point in life.  I sure can.  A part of being different is shying away from original ideas and being creative.  Especially when it comes to something you enjoy, like for me when I make videos I want to switch it up with different shots and create different moods for my viewers. Man on the Moon connects me to these messages and I feel like I have personally felt his pain and compared it to mine.

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Concept albums give us a story to follow and they can be all types of genres.  That’s what is so great about them!  Hopefully somebody that is not exposed to these great pieces can dive in and branch off from different artists and the spectacular themes they have.  You don’t have to like the whole album too.  For instance, a single may be able to stand it’s ground and over power the whole album.  Every song has a piece to the story and you can think of it like acts to a play.  It’s tougher to follow the story in song form and I feel like you need to truly indulge in the album to complete the puzzle.   And that my friends is where you get to enjoy the view from the balcony seats.

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(Ahhhhhhhh) Music heaven!

Brand New Eyes

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Hey what’s going on out there everyone? Zach Johnson here to present my Because The Internet blog inspired by Childish Gambino and awesome music.  Music is such a powerful art form that we have today and when we connect songs together to make a concept album, the messages can be truly inspiring.  The stories and themes that we have available to us in concept albums makes me wonder why we use the radio frequently and listen to the same 5 songs day in and out.  As much as I love doing my touchdown dance to Katy Perry and her overplayed songs, I would much rather vibe out to some less mainstream music.  Perhaps some Tyler, or From Indian Lakes, even some old school stuff like Queen of Stone Age.  I’m surprisingly open when it comes to my music (except for country).  Experiencing different genres has been a special aspect of my life, especially how I have changed my listening habits from only hip-hop, to post-hardcore, alternative, techno, electronic and a few others.  This blog would be beneficial to anyone trying to here some new funky artists and bands that can really rock out and change the way you look at matters and how we perceive the world.   I think the idea of doing this blog specifically is the exchange of information.  Rather than keeping my thoughts on a paper, why not get other people involved and learn something new.  Also, I think just about anyone wants to hear a good story.  This leads to some great conversations with your friends and you might even meet some cool people just by breaking the ice with the music I talk about.  I’m going to do short reviews of concept albums from time to time and expand my music horizons by doing albums that I’m not so familiar with.  Can’t wait for this to take off guys so please if you have any questions, or suggestions please don’t be afraid to reach out.