The Grinch album art.
The Grinch is the latest movie released by Illumination Entertainment, the animation studio that brought us movies such as the Despicable Me franchise and The Secret Life of Pets. The Grinch is the 3D reimagining of the classic film, which has been reimagined innumerous times as both cartoon specials and live action movies. Danny Elfman composed the film’s score, which includes a song written by rapper, actor and music video director Tyler Okonma, more commonly known as Tyler, The Creator, called “I Am The Grinch.” Tyler also collaborated with Elfman a new version of the classic song “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch”. He also went ahead and released an EP in November, featuring artists Santigold, Jerry Paper, and Ryan Beatty. None of these songs appear in the movie.
Tyler, The Creator is known for his creative and innovative twists to his music and has put forth popular albums such as Flower Boy, Cherry Bomb and Wolf. This 6-track holiday inspired EP sticks out in his discography, though it still contains the alternative elements characteristic of the music he normally releases.
Whoville: The EP starts with the song Whoville, which refers to the name of the town of Whoville from the classic Christmas story “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” This track is mostly piano. Later in the song, the piano is accompanied by a xylophone, trumpets and strings creating a whimsical holiday jazz sound that places you right in the middle of Whoville at Christmas.
Lights On: This next track, slightly more upbeat and features singers Santigold and Ryan Beatty with Tyler rapping. The two singers trade off verses, singing about coming home to loved ones on Christmas, beating all the flight delays, heavy traffic and snow (“Snow is falling, it’s on the ground / First delayed but it’s cancelled now / Late to the train broke myself off / Am I getting closer? / Now am I getting closer?”). There are synthesizers, an instrument frequently used by Tyler, The Creator. This is personally my favorite track in the whole EP, because it reminds me of Elvis Presley’s classic track “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”, and it makes me want to throw on an ugly Christmas sweater. Believe me, it might make you want to do that too.
Hot Chocolate: Tyler, the Creator has said it plain and simple in a tweet: “a song about, hot chocolate”. He raps over the same instruments used in the first track Whoville but played in a different rendition, about, you guessed it: hot chocolate. Hot Chocolate features singer, songwriter and producer Jerry Paper. In the song, Tyler prefers 2% milk, a sprinkle of cinnamon and whip cream in his hot chocolate. Oh, and don’t forget the marshmallows!
Big Bag: “Could you please tell me what you know about skippin' 24, 25 / 'Cause your mom was at her 9-to-5 / Still stacking up the dough…” raps Tyler in “Big Bag”, the fourth track in the song. This lyric might strike a sensitive cord for some whose parents aren’t home for Christmas due to work like Tyler’s mother. The song also mentions Max (“Big bag, fill 'em up with the produce / Quick, fast, big Max with the big bag, I throw 'em”) which is the Grinch’s dog and accomplice while trying to steal Christmas in Whoville.
When the Gloves Come Off: Ryan Beatty returns to the EP in the second to last track with Tyler, The Creator. Beatty serenades us about the sudden chill of winter once the gloves comes off. Chills really ran down my spine listening to his haunting voice against the musical track that is similar to Whoville and Hot Chocolate.
Cindy Lou’s Wish: And to finally top this Christmas tree off, we have Cindy Lou’s Wish. This song refers to the character Cindy Lou Who, the girl who witnesses the Grinch stuffing the tree up the chimney. This jaunty final track is simply instrumental, just like the first, and it consists of piano, and organs played in a happy, concluding style as if it could be played at the end of the movie.