Days before the release of his new album, “Cherry Bomb” on Sunday, Tyler, the Creator launched his Golf Media app, reminding us that there is more to Tyler than condensed beats and edgy music videos. When asked to describe this new app, Tyler said in an interview with Whalerock founder Lloyd Braun that it is “basically my brain, in one place.”
To those who read his tweets or who have heard his music, this claim is interesting. Tyler and his music ooze sarcasm and irony. I admit to being interested in the release of this app, if only to justify my love-hate relationship with the Odd Future brand.
According to The FADER, Odd Future manager Christian Clancy calls Golf Media “a bunch of different things that are original, curated and constantly changing,” and says that the app will feature “original series, content, live streaming, radio, tour stuff, golf wang, interactive and whatever other buzzwords that sound mildly annoying and marketing-like.”
I downloaded the app, partly for the sake of this article and partly out of my own curiosity, only to find my efforts foiled by a fee. While the app itself is free to download, it is useless without a $5 monthly subscription.
And here is where my love-hate relationship with Odd Future begins. In the four years Tyler has been making music for the public, he has reserved every occasion to capitalize on the trend of his brand. Since 2011, Tyler has opened a retail store, published Odd Future photography books, produced three seasons of an Adult Swim series and started an Odd Future clothing line. And we now see a similar pursuit with the Golf Media app. All of this would be fine if, along with these endeavors, we saw some defense as to why people feel the need to buy into Odd Future’s brand. Are there people who will cough up five bucks per month to have Golf Media on their phone? Are there people who will pay $60 for an Odd Future button-up shirt trying to sponsor Tyler’s music, or are they trying to endorse their own association with the brand?
There is an odd dichotomy when it comes to Tyler and the five other members of their famed collective in their uniquely branded way of blending light with dark. Their music is grounded in themes of angst and frustration with the norm, yet their upcoming compilation will be feature artwork of a sprinkle doughnut. At times, this dichotomy works to their benefit. Odd Future’s distinctive image is what keeps these guys relevant. I myself am guilty of preferring the majority of Tyler’s and Earl Sweatshirt’s tweets to any one of their songs or albums. It often seems that their personalities are famed first, and are then used to complement the music instead of the other way around.
I see this happening not only with Odd Future, but also with many pseudo-alternative mainstream artists. That’s not always, however, to Odd Future’s extent. Artists such as Lana Del Rey, for example, could be recognized as following this marketing ploy at the expense of the veracity of mainstream music.
On a more positive note, however, Tyler’s new album “Cherry Bomb” is not half bad. Hopefully fans will be distracted enough by this new release to set their phones down, turn off Golf Media and listen to the music.