2015 would be an important year in the timeline of Odd Future. Tyler would release his third studio album titled Cherry Bomb. The release was met with some quite mixed reviews, some praising the album for it’s diversity while some critiqued it’s overall layout, where do we stand on the album three years on?
When I said this was an important year for the Odd Future gang, it was quite a problematic one for fans. Cherry Bomb was really Tyler’s first album that didn’t feature his OF brothers, the Jasper’s and Hodgy’s of OFWGKTA had been replaced with the Kanye’s and Lil Wayne’s of the world. It really was a huge step forward commercially for Tyler and an even bigger leap for him artistically.
That artistic leap can be seen very quickly through tracks one to five. The album kicks off with the rock inspired DEATHCAMP. It’s rebellious and obnoxious, something that can be seen through T’s previous projects lyrically, but the production aspect has improved from that of WOLF or Goblin. The heavy production continues with some distortion up until track five, Find Your Wings. It’s a complete juxtaposition to what you’ve ever heard from Tyler. It’s a soft and mellow RnB track that’s strangely inspiring and brutally honest. This is where a lot of the negativity comes when people discuss Cherry Bomb. It’s unorganised and clunky, but isn’t that half the point?
Tyler has never seen himself as just a rapper, so he threw an RnB track in there and let his masterful production do more talking than himself. I found this entire album to be a perfect reflection of the man who made it. It might have been a chaotic album, but it was beautiful chaos. Chaos is an appropriate word for the song that followed such an RnB jam. Track six, the self titled Cherry Bomb. The production did more talking once more as Tyler unleashed the ultimate mosh pit track of his life. It’s bass boosted, distorted, and very possibly Death Grips inspired.
The second half of the album see’s much more structure than it’s first half as Tyler delivers some more RnB tracks along with some mellowed out rap tunes. It’s also where some of Tyler’s best tracks ever lay side by side, FUCKING YOUNG / Perfect, and Smuckers. The first of the two mentioned tracks is arguably Tyler’s best attempt at another genre. The lyrics might not fit the production but to me it makes it that bit better. It’s not traditional, it’s completely unique and completely Tyler. Smuckers is the albums best out and out rap track as Tyler finds himself placed between to of raps greats in Kanye and Lil Wayne. Both artists give us some classic content and Tyler does more than enough to keep up, easily placing himself towards the top of rap in the process. The album ends with some more N.E.R.D inspired work, yet another turn that had become the norm by the time you’d heard so many crazy twists.
It’s by no means perfect, the first half might lack in comparison to the albums strong ending and there is little to no structure to the album itself. But for Tyler this was a big step, his production had improved massively and it was clear evolution in his musical IQ, something we now take for granted. This was all part of the evolutionary process of an amazing young artist. There’s flashes of Goblin, Wolf and Flowerboy in this album, all the while being a separate entity, an overlooked entity at that.