Relax, it is not an actual Christmas album, but it is one of the warmest and most immersive works we’ve heard this year.
Tyler, the Creator has never been a stranger to experimentation. In the sonic sense and in real life business efforts, Tyler has founded a thriving career under the lasting standard of fearless individuality and creativity. From a discography that is unlike anything else in hip-hop, clothing lines, a fashion show, and a wildly successful music festival that just rocked LA last week, Tyler seems to just do whatever the hell he wants. His newest endeavor that follows his interesting contribution to the new “Grinch” soundtrack is a 6 song project that does anything but stray from this pattern. Titled “Music Inspired by Illumination and Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch” this 6 track and ten-minute effort is short and sweet, converting Christmas themes and emotions to the lush and expressive Tyler landscape, delivering one of the most strangely satisfying and downright gorgeous works of Tyler’s career.
The word “inspired” is a fitting one for this project, as it features no covers of Christmas songs but rather just feels like it. The project is littered with smooth piano chords, uplifting strings, and sweet landscapes that effectively refine this time of year, taking all of the warm feelings and essence of the holidays and removing any corny or played out elements. Tyler’s take on Christmas proves to be the crossover work that we never knew we needed and it makes the constant romanticized holiday dialogue much more bearable.
The project is opened and closed with instrumentals, the first being “Whoville,” a soft piano track that serves as a lighter take on Tyler’s early piano based production. Second track “Lights On,” is bubbly pop masterpiece featuring BROCKHAMPTON collaborator Ryan Beatty and Santigold that bounces along with a sweet and dreamy beat fit for any fireplace relaxation. Later comes “Hot Chocolate,” a collaboration with the deep cut indie personality Jerry Paper. Tyler’s tuned up vocals on the track sing strangely beautifully about hot chocolate preferences, specifically with two percent milk and a little bit of cinnamon on top. The short format overall makes the project a nice and breezy listen with quickly transitioning tracks and satisfying changes of landscape.
For any hip-hop purist, the standout track is surely the explosive and even misplaced “Big Bag,” where Tyler takes twists the idea of Christmas presents into a sporadic banger. The outlandish comparison of Santa’s Christmas bag to moneybags is as crazy as it seems, but in the nature of Tyler, the Creator, feels right at home. The beat glides along powerfully with a quick minute showcase of Tyler’s precision weaving in and out.
“Music Inspired by Illumination and Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch” is no grand opus or earth-shattering thesis, it’s a small and sweet creation that Tyler decided to gift us. A fan of the holidays or not, this project demands a listen in its’ poignant statements and creativity. As the outside world grows colder by the second, this music from Tyler is a warm blanket, a sweet embrace that gives you a reason to smile.