Songs of the Summer 2017: Tyler, The Creator ft. Frank Ocean, ‘911/Mr. Lonely’

Tyler, The Creator has had a lot on his plate recently between a new series on Viceland, curating his own festivals and dabbling in fashion, but he has somehow found time to get back to the music, and thank god for that. The second song released from July’s surprisingly reflective Flower Boy, ‘911/Mr. Lonely’ sees TTC meditating on lost loves and loneliness with help from Frank Ocean and friends. The two parts of the song feel like contrasting takes on the same issue, but it sinks in after the tone break that ‘Mr. Lonely’ might just be the dark emotions of ‘911’ once its sugar-coating of old-school synths and The Gap Band samples have been removed. The first part is smoother and sweeter, with Tyler mooning over the bygone lover who used to cheer him on front row and Steve Lacy and Anna of the North chiming in on the chorus to entice them to “Call me sometime”, while the self-deprecating Tyler of needle-sharp words and wit takes over in ‘Mr. Lonely’ to pathologise his loudness as crushing desolation and call attention to the sinister connotations of 911: “Ask me how I’m really doin’ / So I never have to call that 911.” The track is a cornucopia of sorts, giving us another alter-ego battle, a fresh, vulnerable perspective and a slew of guests with some hazy summery beats to boot.

 

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