Tyler, the Creator, “Okra”
Tyler, the Creator’s newest single “Okra” is a throwaway song from his most recent record, Flowerboy. Drawing in the listener with a discordant piano riff, the song booms into bass-fuzz trap over which Tyler smoothly raps about chicken nuggets, Timothée Chalamet, and Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver. The LA rapper’s usual idiosyncratic passivity often lurches into impassioned exclamations, ending with a title-drop that dissolves into a gutteral and playful shriek.
Poo Bear, “Hard 2 Face Reality”
Known for working behind the scenes on other artists’ albums, Atlanta record-producer Poo-Bear finally stepped out into the spotlight with an unfortunately underwhelming and laconic single “Hard 2 Face Reality.” Despite the impressive host of talent accompanying him, Poo Bear gives a standard and uninspired heartache-lamentation that never emerges into anything catchy or substantial. Justin Bieber’s mellowed temper proves more jaded and juvenile than cool or candid, while Jay Electronica makes cringe-inducing references to Flat-earthers—his typically impressive poetic bravado fooling no one on this washed out pop single.
Grouper, an ambient-drone artist based in Astoria, Ore., is known for her drowsy and often dream-like compositions. In “Driving,” a single from her upcoming album Grids of Points, Grouper crystallizes a style that is more formal and elemental, discarding heavily layered seas of synths for an icy piano melody that conveys the emptiness of memory. The silent opening, where only the bare traces of sifting wind or footsteps is audible, proves Grouper’s unique ability to establish an extremely strong atmosphere through the most minimal mean possible. Grouper’s vocals drag alongside the daintily plucked melodies, like the solemn chime of a music box or nursery rhyme. Her subdued whisper, rising and swooning among swathes of piano reverb, renders only a handful of lyrics comprehensible. When we do understand them, their sparsity evokes a vast and mythical sense of scenery. Grouper only completely articulates her message with the final line, ”a tunnel made of sun rays,” which is delivered promisingly and with half-hope, as if she intends to finish the sentence. But the song stops there, leaving us to bask in the warmth of a never-completed moment.
Featured Image by Odd Future Records