Today’s entries are in numerical order.
Katherine St Asaph: Like Tyler’s sophomor(ic) lead single was really gonna be “weird hippie music for people to get high to” and not another “Yonkers.” The difference is that “Yonkers” sounded stop-you-cold striking; this is serviceable, but also kinda like someone remaking a Mike WiLL beat with an old Yamaha keyboard and a Game Boy Camera. As for the Rodney King/One Direction/”no homo” stuff, I’d gotten desensitized to that around thinkpiece #120.
Patrick St. Michel: Sounds like Tyler really wishes 2010 had never ended. Outside of Frank Ocean’s rise and the interest surrounding Earl Sweatshirt, the Odd Future camp has seemed insular, catering to a very devoted fan base and ignoring the outside world. “Domo 23” is partially built for people who don’t have to think twice about what “Golf Wang” means, but also finds Tyler trying to recreate the attention-grabbing “Yonkers.” He shoves in a Pitchfork reference, threatens to kill another pop star (One Direction gets swapped in for Bruno Mars) and generally sounds like he hasn’t changed at all since we last heard from him. This is reheated edginess designed for people who still get excited at the prospect of an Odd Future show, the song totally outclassed by the (Frank-Ocean-featuring?) preview tucked away at the end of the video.
Anthony Easton: I like this idea of aggresive fellatio as a way of disputing homophobic accusations — in fact the sexual fluidity of Tyler’s crew gives column inches, but seems to be closer to the lived experience of how the world is now: in a kind of island of lost boys (he calls his cock Peter Pan, and it makes you wonder what exactly happened with Peter waiting to fight Hook).
Ian Mathers: Tyler was never as revelatory or as uniquely dangerous as the partisans on each side insisted; if the video suggests anything it’s that he’s in danger of becoming — or being — the rap Adam Sandler. He gets an extra couple points for a coda where the production gets way, way better, though.
Alfred Soto: Proving beyond a doubt that he’s the Lilo & Stitch of hip-hop, Tyler strings a new collection of would-be erotic horrors, holding them together with his stentorian cough. If he were to staple the “slow jam” portion of this track to a Frank Ocean track, we might have Method Man-Mary J crossover potential.
Brad Shoup: So much has happened since Goblin that this sounds more like a comeback single than a regular portion of the cycle. Bragging about his house comes off as a kind of maturity, while the Rodney King and One Direction jokes imply Tyler’s a little too invested in late-period Eminem. If he doesn’t know where he’s headed, that’s fine; it happens. Musically, he’s still working the horrorscape. When the falsetto “fuck that!/Golf Wang!” bit comes in, that’s the fun I was hoping he’d allow himself by now.
Alex Ostroff: Less abrasive and shocking than anything Tyler’s done before. Less fun, too. Somehow he’s managed to go through Eminem’s entire early career trajectory in three years. The homophobia’s boring, but so is the homoeroticism. The tone of his voice still grabs me and makes me pay attention, and his beats still have life in them, plus it’s always possible that he’ll end up somewhere interesting eventually, once he finds something new to say. At the very least, Wolf will probably have Earl and Frank features, right?
Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: Tyler’s running with success as the biggest threat now — if he can get a four-floor home off “eating a roach” then that’s surely more terrifying than the previous bouts of balaclava therapy-rapist-anarchist trolling? This isn’t to say that he’s stopped trolling us all. Here he’s settled in his snapping triple-time flow over Mannie Fresh-esque horns, baiting OF haters, boybands, the PC brigade and people who like in-tune singing. “Domo 23” is lacking the X factor that singles like “Yonkers” held, and perhaps that is due to the shock of the new having worn off. So we have a reunion rather than a rallying call, stating that if you’re not knee-deep in the OF world of non-sequitur humour, gnarled vocals and left-field influence-stacking, you may find it difficult to keep up. He kept his word from “Sandwitches”: “they are them, we are us.”