When Tyler began first tweeting about his next project I was a tad sceptical. The whole message he was trying to get across was that he just wanted a number one album- a high selling piece of music ‘IT DOESNT MATTER MUCH BUT I DO WANT A NUMBER 1 ALBUM’. I would have thought that Tyler would have in a way sold out, at least in his way, but let me assure you, this is very much a Tyler album and religious fans need not be worried. Rather than tear apart the project like an animal carcass, I’ve decided to take the album as it comes and review it the way I listened to it from start to finish.
Cherry Bomb is a perplexing release, exceeding anything Tyler’s put his name on in some instances, and then simply frustrating in others. The explosive opener DEATHCAMP was one of the two tracks Tyler previewed prior to Cherry Bomb’s release, stemming directly from N.E.R.D’s funkrockrap, it’s a strange choice as the first track now that I know what the rest of the album is like. Track 2 uses the same sample as Pusha T’s Number On The Boards, and combined with Tyler’s synths and drum patterns makes for a very crowded and noticeably rough introduction which includes the even more abrasive 3rd track- PILOT.
While much of the above stems more from Bastard with a synth-injection, Cherry Bomb is very much an album on the same thought process as Wolf. Brash bombardments of sound sit side by side with some of the most delicately constructed and layered tracks I’ve heard in a while. Find Your Wings is the best example of this with symphonic strings pulling the song forward ready for a beat and vocal accompaniment that’s introduced around halfway through the song, it works in the exact same way Treehome works.
Following this blip of delicacy we are introduced to the title track, even for Tyler this song is abrasive. Featuring particularly twisted drums, Tyler’s voice is lost in an abyss of distorted white noise, making it simply unlistenable. But again, such a harsh listen is followed by a chilled one, this time in the form of BLOW MY LOAD. The production is noticeably layered and in the end the track is ultimately split into two parts, for the second part Syd Tha Kyd once again stops by to provide vocals as she did on Wolf’s Answer. 2SEATER is the midpoint track and attempts to blend the two polar-opposite aspects of the album together- the brutality and the delicacy, it has a good crack at it, but I’m not convinced.
Tyler, The Creator’s Cherry Bomb continues on in this manner, and by the time the supposedly Pharrell-featured KEEP DA O’S, comes around, for me the novelty had already well and truly worn off. Tyler’s capable of doing both types of his music: the near-horrorcore rap, and the horn-powered, synth-driven, near-R&B, but Cherry Bomb acts as some kind of warped compilation album featuring everything Tyler can do thrown together. The best song on the album FUCKING YOUNG is even arguably ruined with an unnecessary second part, come outro- PERFECT.
The moany vocals at the end of 2SEATER, the Garbage-like beat on track 9, the unlistenable noise on PILOT, dare I say I’m getting tired of Tyler and his scattered vision of what he wants to do? He wants to remain true to his fanbase with the near-thrash concoctions of noise, but also wants to make credible layered gems. However, by the end of Tyler’s fourth studio album, as he moans against the same type of beat on the entirety of the LP, I simply sit here frustrated. Just like on Wolf, there’s some incredible tracks on Cherry Bomb, but there’s just too many shockers making up the rest of it.
Verdict – WWV