Tyler, The Creator – “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

Tyler, The Creator’s “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?” is a raw expression of yearning for connection and understanding, wrapped in a melancholic and nostalgic vibe. It explores a relationship that’s hanging by a thread, filled with uncertainty and a longing to sustain friendship despite the emotional chaos. Tyler may be addressing an individual or using the concept of friendship metaphorically to express a struggle with his own identity, personal growth, or past self. He wrote the song to ventilate the anxieties that come with transformation, the ambiguity of relationships, and the fear of emotional loss.

Dreams and the repetitive question “Are we still friends?” paint a picture of Tyler grappling with the remnants of a relationship, be it platonic or romantic, while the ending hints at his inability to let go. Tyler uses the song as a poignant outlet to articulate the uncertainty and desperation felt when a relationship is on the brink of disintegration.

If you’ve ever felt tangled in the threads of a relationship, then Tyler, The Creator’s “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?” will strike a chord. A deeper exploration reveals hidden layers of emotional struggle, identity, and personal growth. Stick around, and let’s unravel the intricacies of this intriguing piece.

“ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?” Lyrics Meaning

The song starts with the ethereal chant of “Dream / Just dream”, which can be seen as an invitation to delve into Tyler’s inner world. The following line “Long ago, long ago, long ago” echoes the sentiment of nostalgia and reminiscing, possibly about a time when the relationship was still intact.

The refrain “Are we still friends? Can we be friends?” resonates like a plea for clarity, the repetition signifying his desperate attempt to hang on to the relationship. This could be Tyler addressing a particular individual, or perhaps the personification of his past self, with whom he’s seeking reconciliation.

“I’ve got to know / If we can see each other / Shake your hand, say hi”, exhibits Tyler’s longing for normalcy, or the casual interactions that friendship allows. It’s a manifestation of the simple, yet profound, ways we connect as human beings.

Lines like “I can’t stop you, I can’t rock too / I’ve been back there and I can not die too” suggest a struggle with change and acceptance. Tyler is caught between wanting to hold onto the past (“I can’t stop you”) and understanding that he cannot stay there either (“I can’t rock too”).

“Don’t get green skin (green skin), keep contact (keep contact) / Don’t say, “”Goodbye, smell you later”” (bye, later)”, Tyler hints at the importance of maintaining connection and communication, even when things are difficult or changing. He equates saying goodbye to a final, irrevocable end (“smell you later”), something he clearly fears.

“You’re caught in this matrix, don’t know where you play it / You hate it, it could be your favorite if you make it your friend” seems to articulate Tyler’s struggle with acceptance. He suggests that the situation – perhaps the relationship or his own personal transformation – could be perceived positively if only he could make peace with it.

In essence, Tyler’s “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?” captures a journey through anxiety, change, longing, and the often blurry lines of connection. It is as much a self-reflection as it is a narrative of a relationship hanging in balance.

The Story Behind “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?”

In order to fully understand “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?”, it’s helpful to delve into the context in which it was created. As the final track of Tyler’s fifth studio album, “Igor”, this song marks the conclusion of a narrative arc that explores the stages of love, loss, and eventual acceptance.

When Tyler wrote “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?”, he was at a point of transformation in his life and career. “Igor” as a whole is considered Tyler’s breakthrough into a new style, a move away from his earlier, more confrontational rap to a more melodic, introspective sound. The album is filled with complex emotions, raw honesty, and a great deal of self-reflection, all of which culminate in “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?”.

The lyrics of the song reflect Tyler’s emotional state during the creation of “Igor”. The repeated question, “Are we still friends?” can be seen as Tyler reaching out to his past self, his old style, and his fans, asking if they can still connect despite the changes and growth. It’s a vulnerable confession of fear, uncertainty, and longing for understanding and acceptance.

Moreover, considering Tyler’s openness about his struggle with mental health, the song can also be read as a dialogue with his own psyche. It’s a reflection of his inner turmoil, his journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance. The plea for friendship might not only be towards an individual or his past self, but also towards aspects of his personality that he’s grappling with.

In this sense, “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?” becomes a testament to Tyler’s emotional journey. It’s a raw, heartbreaking expression of his struggle to accept change and his fear of losing connection. This emotional honesty, combined with the song’s captivating musical composition, makes it one of the most powerful and relatable pieces in Tyler’s discography.

In the end, “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?” isn’t just a song about a fading relationship. It’s a reflection of the human condition, the fear of change, and the desperate desire to hold onto connections that give us a sense of belonging and identity.