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Astroworld: A Heavily Biased Track-By-Track Album Review

zackw 2 years ago

Has Travis Scott ever disappointed? No. Why would he start now? Astroworld, which gets its name from a Six Flags theme park that was shut down in 2005 to make room for new apartments, is incredible. It is littered with lowkey bangers and peppered with murderous flows that are guaranteed to get you off your couch and have you bumping on full volume. His tenacity coupled with his melodic genius creates a truly magnificent work of art that allows the listener to get inside of Travis’ mind. Giving a nod to his Houston roots, Travis includes Big Tuck, Big Moe, Big Hawk, and Fat Pat on the album in one way or another, even dedicating one track to DJ Screw.

Lacking the first-play value that his previous albums have had, Astroworld needs to be combed through and explored. You have to really dig into each track to pick apart the lyrics, beats, and features in order to gain total insight into the project. As you do that, you’ll start to realize how amazing Astroworld is. Then, after every listen, it will just get better and better.

I’m impressed with how Travis has developed and how he investigated different musical avenues to experiment with, without damaging the quality of his album. Astroworld is an incredible album cover to back and houses zero skip-songs. Below is a track-by-track review of Astroworld:


1.     Stargazing Produced by B Wheezy, 30 Roc, BKorn, Sonny Digital

 What a way to start off the album. I would expect nothing less from Travis. The beat switch in the middle of the song is fire and leads into Travis absolutely murdering the second verse, making it a fitting introduction to Astroworld.


2.     Carousel (Feat. Frank Ocean) Produced by Hit-Boy

 The way this beat comes in is so nice. That echo of people saying “ooh” worked into the beat is crazy. Obviously, Travis kills his part and Frank Ocean comes in effortlessly beautiful as usual. This is a gorgeous track where Frank really outdoes himself.


3.     Sicko Mode (Feat. Drake) Produced by Tay Keith, OZ, Cubeatz, Hit-Boy

 Ahh. Classic Drake. You gotta love it. What a great combination on Astroworld. This song allows both Drake and Travis to showcase individual skills with multiple beat changes (4 to be exact). I can already see all the Instagram captions quoting this song. Oh, and something about that little Swae Lee ad-lib is incredible. Travis is the king of knowing how much of an artist is needed on each of song even if it’s a single word. When Travis says, “Who put this shit together? I’m the glue,” he couldn’t have made a more accurate claim.


4.     R.I.P. Screw (Feat. Swae Lee) Produced by FKi 1st, Travis Scott

 I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful performance from Swae Lee. He naturally weaves in and out of the beat while leaving room for Travis to float in with his own timeless flow that we all know and love. This isn’t a banger, but instead, it’s a display of their melodic talents on a cohesive track.


5.     Stop Trying To Be God (Feat. James Blake, Kid Cudi, Stevie Wonder) Produced by Cubeatz, Travis Scott, Mike Dean, JBeatzz

 I must admit that on the first listen, I wasn’t entirely sure about this song. However, this song has only gotten better and better every time I’ve listened. That being said, I’ve decided that it is masterpiece and should be displayed at the MoMa. That Kid Cudi hum is unbeatable and mesmerizing. The song would have a completely different feel without the darkly hypnotic trademark Cudi hum. But really… how could you go wrong when you include a soulful Stevie Wonder harmonica solo? The answer is that you really can’t. This song is a production work of genius. I mean, with Mike Dean, Travis, and Cubeatz on the tables, magic is expected.


6.     No Bystanders (Feat. Juice Wrld, Sheck Wes) Produced by Gezin (808 Mafia), WondaGurl, Mike Dean

 Juice WRLD kills the hook, but Travis comes in so hot gliding back and forth between syllables. It forces you to bump your head. Try listening to the song and keeping your neck still. The Sheck Wes “Bitch!” ad-lib really pumps me up. Listening to this track’s verses makes me feel like I should be speeding a motorcycle past everyone who’s stuck in traffic. Then when the chorus hits I should be gliding through the air on the back of a giant eagle. Something about Travis’ flow on this track is crazy. He just really knows how to get his fans going.


7.     Skeletons (Feat. The Weeknd, Pharrell Williams) Produced by Kevin Parker (Tame Impala), Pharrell Williams, Reine Fiske

 To me, this song is characteristic La Flame. It has a bit of a 90210 feel at the beginning, which really taps into my deep love for Travis as an artist. It has an airy beat layered with piano notes that bring it all together just before the beat drops to provide a heavier coating. I think The Weeknd was more of an enhancement for the beat rather than a feature for the track, but he added to the light feel very well. Travis spits with an ultra Kanye-esque vibe, even annunciating some words how I would expect Ye to. This track is extremely well put together.


8.     Wake Up (Feat. The Weeknd) Produced by Sevn Thomas, Wallis Lane, Frank Dukes

 This is a very solid track. When Travis comes in with, “Please don’t wake me up…” I get a warm feeling. It’s only the first line but based solely off the flow, you know Travis will not disappoint you with the rest of the song. It’s his way of saying, “I gotchu.” He has a ridiculous knack for knowing which melodies sound amazing.


9.     5% Tint Produced by FKi 1st

 Holy shit. Let me just say that this is the epitome of a mean muggin’ song. It makes you want to scrunch your face and just rock back and forth with your arms crossed. It goes way too hard. And, the best line on the entire album comes in the second verse: “Who the f*** is this? That somebody baby mama inside of VIP.” The way that Travis spits this line with mysterious ferocity makes it such an alluring couple of lines. The rest of the song is just as amazing and it doesn’t suffer in terms of quality.


10. NC-17 (Feat. 21 Savage) Produced by Allen, Ritter, Cubeatz, Boi-1Da

 So, this might be the only song on the album where the feature outperforms Travis. Without warning, 21 Savage unremorsefully pops onto the track with his monotonous “grim reaper” flow and absolutely destroys his verse. He leaves us with potentially his best line to date: “Your bitch gave the Kid Cudi, but I’m not signed to Ye / I nutted on her cheek, her new nickname is Baby Face.” Wow.


11. Astrothunder Produced by Frank Dukes, John Mayer, Travis Scott, Thundercat

 I think this song is unreal. The lyrics sound a little bit lazy for Travis, but I think they work incredibly well with the flow he chose. It’s a vibey song that I feel would’ve fit in perfectly on Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight. John Mayer helped produce this track and you can hear him playing the guitar in the background. The guitar strumming in conjunction with the space/alien noises helps create a lively and light atmosphere.


12. Yosemite (Feat. Gunna, Nav) Produced by Turbo, June James

 This song slaps. It does. But it does sound awfully similar to Sold Out Dates by Gunna featuring Lil Baby, which was also produced by Turbo. It makes sense that the beat is reminiscent of another one by the same producer, but it’s Gunna’s flow that is also eerily similar. Nonetheless, Gunna kills it as usual. The more I listen to it, the better it sounds because I start to pick out everything that doesn’t sound like Sold Out Dates. However, I still have no idea what they were thinking adding a basically muted Nav outro. It sounds as if Nav recorded his verse while his mom was in the room on the phone and he needed to keep his voice down. This is a very dope song overall though.


13. Can’t Say (Feat. Don Toliver) Produced by WondaGurl, Frank Dukes

 Like a combination of Star Shopping by Lil Peep and Tunnel Vision by Kodak Black, this beat makes you think you’re about to delve into a deep dark song. However, Travis brushes over the beat with an uplifting spew of lyrics echoed by an upcoming artist named Don Toliver. Don Toliver’s standout verse is up there with 21 Savage as one of the best verses on the album. Like a combination of Young Thug and T-Pain, Don Toliver graces the beat with charisma and heart that you can feel.


14. Who? What! (Feat. Quavo, Takeoff) Produced by 30 Roc, Cardo

 This song goes hard, but I’m not crazy impressed. It sounds like every other Travis banger. It seems like this track would have fit better on the Travis Scott and Quavo collaborative album, Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho. I’m not mad about it, but I feel like the Quavo and Takeoff features could have been a little better as well. It’s just nothing too special.


15. Butterfly Effect Produced by Murda Beatz

 Murda on the beat, so it’s not nice. That should be enough said. We were blessed with this song quite some time ago, as it was the only single released off of Astroworld. This song is quintessential Travis Scott. And I love it.


16. Houstonfornication Produced by Sevn Thomas, Wallis Lane

 Possibly my favorite song off of Astroworld, this song is an all-around incredibly well written and produced song. Calming, dark, and melodic all at the same time in the most perfect way possible, Houstonfornication embodies everything amazing about Travis and the music he makes. Something about this song is so special. The flow of Travis and his ability to make a song this catchy will never cease to amaze me. I f*** with this track really hard.


17. Coffee Bean Produced by Nineteen85

 This song is so good and interesting. It is our first taste of this non-autotuned Travis. And I want more. Travis sounds like Joey Bada$$’s long lost brother. A feature from Joey would have been insane. He would compliment Travis so nicely on this track. This track is a great example of just spitting cold bars over a chill beat. It seems as if Travis stepped outside of what we thought was his comfort zone with this one, and we are not upset.


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