Probably the shittiest album to come out of 2011 if you factor in how much hype this one got; we’re talking a grand total of one decent song – “Yonkers” – that I suspect got more attention for the music video than the music.
Just so we’re clear, I don’t think Goblin is a fucking terrible album because of its lyrics; if you didn’t know that there would be offensive lyrics, homophobic slurs and women being raped as per the Odd Future modus operandi, well congratulations, but you’ve clearly been chilling under rocks for the past two years. What’s worse than these topics (and make no mistake, homophobia and misogyny are some of the worst things to still exist in a post-Hitler world), is how they’re delivered. Tyler, the Creator just isn’t very good as an MC; when he tries fast-rapping as on “Transylvania,” it sounds ridiculously awkward more than impressive. Rhyming “Umm” with “Them” is a cop-out, made dumber when you draw attention with it. Rhyming “Umm” with “Month” is a no-no. “I wish Thebe was here,” he says on “Goblin,” a reference to Odd Future’s best rapper, Earl Sweatshirt, and trust me. We all do. Elsewhere, “Yonkers” begins “I’m a fucking walking paradox, no I’m not / Threesomes with a fucking triceratops, Reptar” which makes, oh, makes as much sense as homophobia and misogyny existing in a post-Hitler world, but I guess it’s kind of cool that he rhymed “paradox” with “triceratops.” Meanwhile, hilarity ensues in that line where Tyler, the Creator tries to say that his (and OF at large’s) stuff isn’t horrorcore on opener “Goblin.” Yes, Tyler, a conscious track every now and then really makes you eclectic.
Also, the beats suck. Tyler being Tyler, you can expect slow ones with cheapass sounding synths (that can be effective as on “Yonkers” and can be absolute shit as on the rapid high-interval oscillation of “Bitch Suck Dick,” whose title tells you everything you need to know about the song itself). But as opposed to Bastard, the ones here are inexplicably stretched over ridiculous song lengths: the 7-minute rant of “Radicals” or the 8-minute “Window.” The beat of the opener and title track’s a goodie: the piano is sprinkled throughout for a horror house effect, like you’re really inside Tyler, the Creator’s mind, but the main problem is Tyler, the Creator decides to up his psychiatrist persona about ten notches, and the constant interruptions (here and later) come off as exceptionally distracting. And you know what the world really needs? Tyler, the Creator instrumental tracks. 70 minutes? At least Bastard had the courtesy of being short.
Some random other notes: repeating “WOLF GANG” ad nauseum over a boring beat makes for a garbage hook; I’m sick of rappers still referencing “Juicy” in 2011 (Notorious B.I.G had other songs, you know…); I’m sick of people using the word “faggot” unless they’re British and are talking about cigarettes (and no, despite the fact that Tyler, the Creator (claims that he) is not homophobic, the majority of his fanbase is perceptible enough to be and he’s not helping anyone); Frank Ocean’s a really slick guy, but even his presence couldn’t save “She”; I don’t have a father either but I resolve to not let my Oedipal issues seep into my daily speech and to be a better father myself one day (the lines “Now competition missing like that nigga my mom fucked / He still hasn’t called me yet / But that’s a whole fucking different argument, shit, I got over it” would be so much more believable if you stopped bringing him up for the rest of the album).
Steve Albini nails this fucking group’s stupidity and I’ll just have him close my review, “I am well aware good people can make ugly art and that ugly people can make good art. I am one hundred percent behind Odd Future’s right to rap about what they wanna rap about, but they go out of their way to make it clear that this is not a case of regular people making music about assholes, but assholes making music about being assholes.”