Our season long analysis of Flower Boy continues with the song “Where This Flower Blooms.” Tyler contrasts his childhood roots in poverty with the initial feeling of “making it” as a successful musician. But the song ends with a cliffhanger -- what exactly is Tyler hiding?
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Spotify Studios, this is dissect long for musical analysis.
Broken into short digestible episodes of your host for fish.
We continue. Our sea relies analysis, a flower boy by Tyler the creator, our last episode. We dissected the Alps opening track forward
There we heard Tyler established the majority of the themes and symbols that will be developed and export over
course of the album, because these
be key and our understanding of flour. Boy, I'd like to take a few moments now. To recap: what we heard club
likely forward, finds Tyler questioning his success. His motives and is mature,
realistic lifestyle, as he searches for something truly mean
for his life itself.
The relation leads to an existential crisis, the fear of losing everything in a deep
underlying loneliness, he feels, despite being surrounded by friends, material goods. We heard how
loneliness and alienation stems from not only a lack of meaning in his life, but also from both his position as a blackmail in America as well, as is closeted sexuality, symbolic,
Lee Tyler presents to opposing large scale structures, material objects and nature. These help
center flower boy within a larger thematic framework, material objects like sports car chains and is multi for man.
In contrast with natural objects and elements like the ocean, water, trees and flowers, we can reach
These opposing symbols as a conflict between the material versus the natural, the superficial,
as the meaningful if this conflict that seems to be at the heart,
Tyler distress and instability, a conflict,
Look to resolve in various ways over the course of flour, boy, beginning with the arms next, on the subject of episode today, where this
flower blooms where this flower blooms is written and produce
Tyler the creator
Additional writing credits are given to Frank Ocean who performs a songs, her ways. It's there
or any of where this flower blooms uses a descending three court progression. Beginning
the sea sharp minor, seven at nine
the major seven and nine
and be minor seven at nine. Now, I'm going to say
a good amount of time, pointing out a few key attributes of this court progression while may seem
Dreamily granular know that the techniques we're going to discuss or Hallmark De Tyler's compositional identity,
spending the time now to define a few. These key compositional features will allow
to use them as reference point throughout the season, as has run into them time and time again and towers work.
So as we discuss briefly last episode. Tyler rarely plays by the
rules of traditional harmony that
is, he rarely writes a cord progression that stays in one key, which has one
It sounded so distinct. An interesting Tyler gets away with
non traditional harmony by using a number of compositional techniques that allowed
bend the rules without totally alienating the listener. I personally like to think about these compositional tricks as musics equivalent of sleight of hand, techniques that deceive our ears.
And allow Tyler to do some really interesting things harmonica now, where this flower,
blooms as in the key signature of sea sharp minor without going
on the rival of key signatures, just note
within a certain key signature there, the set of courts at are true,
usually used, and as long as it can
those are sticks to the courts in the set one, can move pretty freely between the cords without
and the key of sea sharp minor. It's nothing out
ordinary that where this fire blooms begins with the sea, sharp minor cord, that's pretty standard, but the progression SEC
Cord c major, seven at nine, is accord that traditionally falls outside the key signature of sea sharp minor amused,
in theory, we call this a borrowed court, because your quitting quote borrowing
or from another key signature to effectively use borrowed cord. He ought to be very considerate. That is a composer especially composer popular music cancer,
we jump to a court outside their key signature without jarring the listener to smoothly move
from the sea sharp minor cord to the barred, courtesy Major Tyler applies to quote unquote sleight of hand, compositional techniques technique now,
One is well known as common tone common tones referred to notes
two cord share or have in common, the sea, sharp minor cord and borrowed courtesy, major we ve been discussing have two notes in,
I'm in a and b
the seashore, sharp minor seven court at nine is comprised of the dome
see sharp e g b d, sharp this
major seven add nine court is comprised of the notes, see the common tone e g per second to be indeed
now I'll play these courts back to back, while emphasising the two carbon tones, the two notes
between these courts
So, even though
transitioning to a borrowed cord accord outside of our key signature. To of the five
in these courts or the same exact pitches which helps to smooth transition.
This is the reason why cobblestones working connecting to unrelated cords. It gives our ear something familiar
the latch onto the two of our fight pitches, stayed the same that
the smooth transition between the unrelated courts, but what about the other three notes, the
where the second sleight of hand technique comes into play. The remaining three notes utilise with cod step wise motion step wise motion occurs within a move to the closest neighbouring note directly. Next to it so, for instance, and the two courts we ve been Anna
using the first note of our court is a sea sharp and our second cord that note lose down one half step
see natural, this move
lemme, see sharp to a sea natural. The smallest in.
People in our western tunic system
that is to say, there's no note found in between them, see sharply
see natural is, what's called a half step apart,
which is the shortest possible distance between two notes and music. The remaining two notes in the courts
examining also you step wise motion and the same exact way. Our g sharp moves to achieve that
and I d sharp move to a d natural, this step wise motion and know that move to the closest note directly. Next to it. This
works a sleight of hand, because, even though removing two notes that fall outside the key signature, the two notes are so close together
that our ears accept it. That is, we don't find it too jarring. You can think about this, like a volume knob that goes from zero to twenty,
the music playing at a volume of eight you'd, probably know
If someone suddenly turned the boy up to twenty, but you probably wouldn't notice
if someone turned the buying up from eight to nine, a similar thing,
earth totally with step wise motion. The notes are so closely.
I gather that you dont really noticed the shift, even though we're moving to know said: don't belong in our key signature. So, let's recap: Tyler moved from a standard cord to a borrowed court or court outside the songs, key
signature by using two sleight of hand, techniques to of each of the court's five notes are the same: their common tones
giving our ears something familiar to latch on to
he notes in our cord. You step wise motion, that is, they move
the closest neighbouring no possible following our
you're into not noticing these notes are outside of our establish key signature. So what about the third court and the three core progression used on where this fire blooms? Remember? We had a total of three cords, see sharp my
c major and be minor.
Tyler relies exclusively on step wise motion to transition from the second cord c major to the third cord, be minor the sea.
Move down one half step to its closest neighbouring now be the e boost to a D. The Gmos
down one half step to an app sharp, the BBC doing
the Debo Dressy sharp
and now the entire progression again
Now, like I said
for we started the segment and took this much time to explain the inner workings of this court progression.
Because Tyler will return to these compositional techniques. Time and again, and now that you have a basis
understanding of the concepts I can point them out when they occur Tyler uses.
Records just discussed, as the primary progression will hear throughout where this flower blooms we first here.
Beneath the songs, lush orchestral. Like introduction,
to this end
action marks the beginning of flour, boys narrative
As we noted on our last episode on forward, the word forward means an introductory piece of writing that comes before the beginning of a book. True to form
For the song is an introductory track, followed directly by the beginning of the narrative of flour, boy, the sweet.
Being string, inter we just heard, sounds to me like the sonic, equivalent of two grand double doors, opening into some kind of dream world something Tyler spoke about. In conversation
but drug car, Michael
When you do when you does on love, you start all where this flower, usually anything like that
Is it a longer interim EPA, so one is
I wanted to timer a sound like a Disney score, decide very magical in her fate. Little indie movie,
fucking round, like the album cover, looks like the album cover looks like, but it turned into you know what it turned into, but where this flower blooms, this really beautiful, longer in charge, showing it a big butt,
It sounds like the beginning of weeping and I start to shows with their because it's like bringing them into my world in Vienna, drops it it's crazy way.
Well anyway. How long did you? Why did you trim and not just like? Go just binding cut the fact
This album be no long in a forty five minutes and I think we he'd like forty five and thirty six seconds or forty six minutes and I was like ok, converse sure disgust
to be short and get to the point.
After the orchestra,
drink opening that serves as the introduction to far boys world a narrative,
Tyler allows a solo piano to take centre stage playing our palliated versions of the three core we just discussed at length as he enters with first one,
he'll, let take it back to them date. Count sheep on, say that Hannah Flo Carpet with my baby Mama eighty dollars, profit from the coffee. I poked rent a center calling their day, nobody home a knocking on the door, Knob Skrt, Skrt, Skrt Skrt, the boys. I only dream that I can afford two notch road
fitting that here, at the beginning of the Alps, narrative how the rhapsode verse dedicated to character development, he begins with his childhood sing. Let's take it back to them days. County sheep, on safety Hannah's floor carpet was my baby mama. As we know from the first episode of the season, Tyler moved often during his
youth attending twelve schools and twelve years, mostly in the LOS Angeles area, say behind
Tyler Tyler's, grandmother, Tyler, told spin magazine quote my mom had to move up to Northern California. So I stayed with my grandma. There were nights. I went without either
but she made sure I had a place over my head. I slept on the floor for like three to four years. Unquote, Tyler continues diverse rhyming eighty dollar profit from the coffee. I poured referring to his job. At a start
some LOS Angeles, a position he held for over two years before being fired in two thousand. Ten Tyler continues: rent asunder calling every day nobody home the knocking on the door.
Rent a centre is a rent own furniture, an appliance store and their phone calls
two Tyler's house implies that monthly payments were late further,
abolishing the families low income in what is a lyrical occur.
Went to a flash forward and Film Tyler
and from his childhood routes and poverty to his now successful,
lifestyle. He rhymes now a skirt
boys. I only dream that I could afford Tyler one
again chooses to represent his success. Vs sports car, which cleverly calls a toy tying it
the verse about childhood. Here your reference to
Fourth car so early into the song reinforces the key.
As a main, thematic symbol of wealth materialism. He established on the previous track forward. Tyler ends averse sing now role through a cargo. Oclock is not
real place, rather refers to a fictional location and tatters imagination.
The final song on his previous album cherry Bob, his titled Oconnor, California, the
Is it do it with Alice Smith? The two fantasy
about running away together to this fantasy location of cod.
With a cargo California,
being the final song on cherry bomb and where this
our blooms being the first song in the narrative, a flower boy. We could speculate that this is a direct link between the two albums
The line. Now I role through a cargo on where this far blooms Tyler is reached
destination he fantasize about in the closing moments of cherry bomb,
oh cargo may also be the destination alluded to in the songs title. Where does is far bloom, perhaps in a cargo as a song continues Frank Ocean interests to perform the songs hook, but first a word
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to learn more had to Maytag dot com will come back to dissect before the break. We discussed the end of where this flower blooms
birth. There we heard tie the reference, the fictional fantasy location of Oconnor, which we tied back to the last song of cherry bomb, knowing
a colleague, is located in California. It makes sense that Frank Ocean enters where
this fire blooms referencing. The state directly
Oh Jesus says so slow,
narratives speaking on the hook of where this fire
the signals Tyler's moment of arrival, Frank Sings. I ride to California these frog oval goggles, as noted California, here seems to be a direct reference to a cargo. California Tyler ended his verse on frog. Oval goggles seems to make reference to what are known as club goggles bug. I'd round. Why
frame sunglasses. These sunglasses had been made famous by number celebrities over the years, including Kirk, obeying the nineteen nineties, riding through California and sports car. With these clock
this is on ties into Tyler's, newfound life of wealth and success. He established at the end of his verse ocean continues
leaning out the window Oj C,
sitting on me. Simpson shining on me here, Frank uses, OJ and Simpson
to refer to the California Sun shining on his face. These both make reference to the infamous football player, Oj Simpson,
Bishop Lyric sheet of where this far blooms has Simpson spell.
Two words since, as I M p and son S, U n a sip typically refers to a man who is infatuated with a woman who most fine undesirable, arrogant
in the context of the song and tatters newfound success, we might speculate that Saint Pierre applies to the California son
that is Tyler's infatuated with his new life of success and the glamorous golden state of California. But, as we know from the feelings expressed on forward
Success is not in reality. The fantasy world be imagined, it be from a distance we might speculate.
To be. The reason Oj Simpson has alluded to hear a celebrity who obtain incredible, fame and fortune, but
mentally ended up on trial for murder, after lengthy carcase through the freeways of LOS Angeles OJ, represents the dark side of fame an example that fame is in a cure, all doesn't forever immune. You have conflict NGO,
Eddie or the whole host of negative emotions and hair in the human experience after francs per
warmth of the songs hook, the sonic landscape, of where this
our bloom shifts dramatically. The most
This will shift. Is the entrance of drums
layered atop. This drumbeat isn't
page guitar playing the cords that were previously heard, a piano.
We also have
into. This makes a really nice single line, melody played by a synthesizer.
This event is followed by another. Higher fluttering sent thrift quick aside, it was actually this little to second syndrome
that personally sold me on top of the creator as a composer. This riff is completely orchestral and character, something that would most likely be played on a flu in a traditional.
Extra to hear this kind of brief, but completely spot on detail in one's head and executed in a quota quote hip hop song. Well just tells me that Tyler's musical mind is more akin to a composer than a typical hip hop producer anyway. Here both of these
in incorporated into the drama guitar parts we just heard, because this music
material is so interesting and entertaining on its own Tyler has to do very little vocally. He adds a simple, vocal part accentuated by a number of acts.
Running running running Tyler compares is good.
There's a person to a blooming flower. This helps to further
establish the various nature, symbols that ground much of the Alps Somatic material. The contents of this on the album up until this point it would, if he's referring to his growth from a kid living in poverty, to a successful
Current quote: rockstar living in sunny LOS Angeles California, of course, were still in the character development stage of the album and as foreshadowed on the song forward. Tyler has a lot more growing to do where this far blooms continues with first
no money for tee, but that is making money, but don't be too cool you, my free, because makers get stuck in a cold ass ice sheet wasted time. What do you got among countries and excited by the pilot was throughout this second verse Tyler shares at internal dialogue, as he thinks more critically about a success. It begins with the boastful statement, a nobody fuckin with tee, but quickly counters himself, saying, but not just maybe my ego, but don't be too cool. You might freeze, because Edwards get stuck in the cold. We did hear an ad lib man. Look at this ice. There's a number of metaphor is woven into these lines. We first think of the last
Eliza Forwards, opening verse and which Tyler express his fear of going cold as he perceived as career to be in jeopardy. Sullivan wanna see I'm gone on where this
our bluebirds tellers,
expressing a similar sentiments. He recognizes
our ambition and personal growth are stunted by ego, specifically for those who find fame and wealth that success, because validation of who they are constantly being cater to and have billions of adoring fans if one doesn't checked himself that constant validation could create of armour of ego.
And the Super star feels flawless and invincible. Of course, if you see yourself without flaw, if your quota quote to cool as Tyler puts it, you don't recognize where he can improve, where you can grow, he becomes stunted and free.
The death Tyler also works and materialism. When he adds ad Lib man. Look at this ice commonly touted by wrappers. I,
the slang for jewellery similar to Forward Tyler's imply.
That using material goods as ones main motivation has its limitations chase ice too long and freeze to death. While we will do what I say rather, for example like though, but I came, I want that Lambeau wag bad Bower, all they may get it in his I'd, know more motivational. Anything has given them go, and so there is, but me, like a success
I wanted to make good music. I more have in that's like stuff that you can't just great right. I gonna work hard for that, so referring to
ice or jewellery Tyler continues.
First to wrapping shit ways a tonne
This is a similar sentiment to the phrase heaviest ahead that, whereas the crown more evidence that Tyler feel success in celebrity is more complicated than we often assume or perceived from afar
Tyler then offers an alternative ideology as he rhymes. What are your garden by Edward and stunt? Tell these black kids they can be who they are dire, hair, blue I'll, do it too?
in one of the more poignant and powerful lines of the album. Tyler offers words of encouragement to african Americans that feel alienated from their com
It is due to their alternative interests and preferences that fall outside black norms. This subject has been appointed emphasis throughout tallish career, stemming from his own experience as a black teenager, who is teased by his black peers. First atypical up
parents and interests some Arabia's that follow me our
a charter had so fucking the shiny, fucking little accessories like all black
black focused sled nodded good shyly tv shades?
Please call me why boyish hated actually like what can I do to me a fucking
The sheriff Snoopy will bring raisin and dumb she
We cannot just be a fan of the new thinking. I fucked up
black community. Black community is already giving a shit like that. Toby's workers they can people, they argue it would
Then it's a? U just ain't that so, like the word saying I say nice to meet, you will like it's it's
it is no one saying that two key that look like me or to anyone. I looks like me: we have this conversation just wanting this snowboard when I was twelve someone saying: oh that's why people she black people know you don't do that. Don't put a damper on me and tell me what I came in
and be just because of the way everyone else was. That's my sang color and I just feel like
you are like going to tell them. Might now be? U Tyler continues first,
Accentuating is more feminine idiosyncrasies. He refers to it
now, Cologne, his cocoanut oil lotion and says quote: I never grip with my manicured nails. A mall grip refers to a way of holding a skateboard, specifically when one holds aboard by the trucks and the skateboard hangs lengthwise from one
And to the ground and skateboarding, this is a tell that you're, either new to skateboarding or oppose her Tyler doesn't want a ball grip because he doesn't want to mess up his manicure nails against the metal, dirty skateboard trucks again, accentuating is more feminine attributes,
such a free expression of one's feminine side is a rarity in Hiphop a shot
music, that's historically viewed femininity as a weakness in its place, currency and blackmail. Masculinity coming up the line. Tell these black kids they can be, who they are,
Tyler freely detailing his femininity works. To show cases.
You're. Listening when expressing himself props, inspiring others of his color to do the same Tyler,
his birth to by tying and how societal expectations might contribute to the black community feeling limited in their expression.
The politics of the men in Somalia are seen in Moscow. When I get my tie, the wraps went from statistics millionaire see an undoubted cause, my skin his dark Tyler. Here's likely referring to this statistic that one third of black males are either dead or face jail time by the age of twenty five CNN seems to be used here to exemplify mass media societies. Low expectations for black males in America, Tyler is, of course, beat the odds found a way to dodge these low expectations and fine success with the last line. Colored knowledge is how that success puts him in another case,
ass, an helps immune from the kind of racial assumptions just discussed. He says, then they forget when I get my car and we hear the sound of an accelerating sports car. This is akin diverse to forward and which Tyler Details, Hellas wealth and fancy car helps them to avoid the racial tension
a routine traffic. Stop middle class log book is on the one on draw. Them is usually trying to fool, and my eaglewood possessions will not let me being one be cause. I've got a makeshift amazing us. After citing the death, a black man at the hands of police, Tyler acknowledges how's, quote ego and possessions will not. Let me be one that is his wealth and success put him into another class and immune from the dangers of lower class black men, the meaning behind the line, and then they forget when I get my car, is the same because of his wealth and celebrity again civilized here by sports. Car Tyler is viewed differently than the average blackmail he's able to hide behind the tinted windows of his luxury car as his wealth.
Elevates him into a higher class status and thus is afforded privileges that the average blackmail doesn't receive, because Tyler is questioning the limitations of his possessions and the name
materialism itself. It's only natural that you'd question this juxtaposition of class and race
questions: why wealth supersedes race in the hierarchy of american society after Rep?
titian of the songs hook where this flower blooms continues with first three
Let's go to me booty from the bottom floor to a treat took a little while and they can make it leaves, keep it in my brother's family. Can you favorite color green energy is strong, given niggars life worthy in the be dropping them seeds? Not what you want to know what I keep in the trunk
toddlers summarizes the message an arc expressed in the first two verses to do so. He frames is essential from his.
To poverty to a status as wealthy, celebrity within a metaphor of a growing tree.
Describes his transition from humble beginnings to success, as quote rooted from the bottom bloomed into a tree. He says making leaves to describe the money. He earns then plays off the phrase family tree to describe the financial support he gives his family saying quote: keep in the branches, so my family can eat
in the branches, so my family can eat. Tyler them uses, aligned, favorite color green two reference, the money he makes, the color of most plants and trees and his signature.
Green golf hat, the latter being so
the latter being something Tyler has referenced several times throughout his previous albums Tyler works toward the conclusion of verse. Three by continuing the nature metaphors quote:
grow, hair on a man unicorn green hat fans going to the team uniform
works towards the conclusion of verse. Three by continuing the nature metaphors quote: giving Edwards lifelike birdie and the bees drop in them seeds, not what you want here. Tyler seems to be boasting his influence, claiming to fall
sometimes im just like its a lot of things that- and I don't want to take credit, but there are a lot of things I was doing and people were like what is he doing and like in two years? It's what everyone's doing, whether it's the way videos are doing or do stupid, pop up shop things or whatever and im not taking credit, but its like. I was doing that and no one ever puts me on any of these list or even respects me in the sense that I want it. So I was with these lines. Tyler also employs a
double entendre, playing off birds and bees being a euphemism for sex. How things are created and following with the line about seeds, which birds eat and are also things like plants, trees and flowers are created.
and following the line about seeds which birdie and is also things like plants, trees and flowers are created.
All these lines lead up to the final and most significant line. You don't know what I keep in the trunk trunk, as in tree trunk, of course, relates to
Central tree metaphor, this verse is constructed upon, but it can also be heard as the trunk of a car
so be heard, is the trunk of a car again, just like we heard on forward Tyler's weaving together this dichotomy of contrasting symbols. The sports car in the tree, the material and the natural, the superficial and meaningful, and just like the woods we heard about an forward together yet again, hints to the audience and he's hiding something with the songs final line. You dont know what I keep in the trunk, perhaps as the reference to emotional baggage. Perhaps a reference to his car
sexuality. In any case, it seems we're getting too close for emotional comfort as Tyler's versus cut short, and we hear him. Exclaim aw shit,
followed by a musical interlude without buckles, indeed save for a few ad Lib, where this flower blooms contains no more further vocals making the final
cliffhanger as we wonder what it is. Tyler might be hiding in his trunk, given league of life already in the breeze, dropping them seeds. Not what you want to know what I keep in a trunk conclusions
Where this flower blooms is the narrative beginning a flower boy as such Tyler spent
Most of the track establishing the Alps protagonist himself begin.
With his childhood and teenager to poverty. This,
to be the meaning behind the songs, title where'd, you go
where's bloom in dirt from the ground up a metaphor for Tyler's humble beginnings,
The narrative than flash forward to the time in which Tyler escaped the statistical odds of his upbringing and found success as a blackmail in America,
there's moment of arrival is epitomised in the songs hook, a dream:
Lush passage that describes
adding to the sunny streets of California wearing Clock, glasses, he's a feeling of make
and audio form with the song second verse Tyler
Hence to examine his success more closely in knowledge that ego and the temptation to boast about one success can start your personal, create growth and for me, if this point that's worth revisiting it take,
Tyler just for bars to express this idea, but it's one of those passages amused.
They contain a lifetime worth a wisdom was won t
just make we might go, but don't be too cool you, my freeze, because members get stuck in a cold ass ice shows a time. What do you got a Monday
he's an excited by pollution due to tell.
Intuition causes an involuntary boast, but his conscience quickly, tempers. His ego he's observe too many of his peers rendered frozen becoming stunted by
Success obsessively chasing the privileges of success, while Cybele too
please neglecting the ingredients responsible for their success. In the first place, it's like the snake who eats its own tail.
Get help sustain you, but if it's not tempered, it also has the capacity to completely devour you. That's because, when carried out to its extremities
excessive ego ends and self destruction, ego forever
and your inadequacies, avoids learning
stead overestimates one's own abilities as Tyler points out. That's a kind of death, because you
loser capacity to learn and grow
also only thinks of itself. It does not
Consider the thoughts, feelings and experiences of others eroding once capacity for empathy. This ultimately
leads to self imposed emotional isolation. Another kind of death confidence on the other hand as much different than ego.
Confidence allows you to accept your inadequacies, but is not defeated by them because,
Your confidence in your ability to learn confidence
as you to admit when you're wrong, because confidence under
and you were never a finished product and accepts the fact that you are in a constant state of becoming confidence wealth.
Failure, because it sees it as an opportunity to grow and its
dichotomy of ego versus confidence that Tyler presents averse to of where this fire bluetooth. He felt
his bars about ego with bars about companies using dying once hair blue as an example of having the confidence to do something outside the inherited social norms. We often feel pressure to uphold
in the same way Tyler's rejection of
go as a typical for someone, indisposition and class status and seems to be the
section rather than the norm, but his car-
victory as it may sound. It takes true. Confidence to reject ego
because extreme ego is a function of insecurity. Its attention seeking and constantly
craves external affirmation because there's not enough internal conflict.
To sustain oneself. Competence, on the other hand, is a function of self security of true self accepted,
and as this notion that brings us to the end of where this far blooms verse three is all about
growth Tyler likened the story to that of a blooming tree. The final
It leaves us and mystery as Tyler and such
alluding to something he's hiding something that seems to be plaguing him emotionally. Something we suspect stunting is growth because he done
the confidence to accept this about himself, much less
while we have our suspicions at this point, the narrative- we don't accept
we know just what Tyler's hiding just what's hindering is growth, but with the
The next two tracks sometimes and see you again, we'll get a little bit closer to finding out that's next time
and I say
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Transcript generated on 2021-01-28.