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Travis Scott’s ‘Astroworld’ album leaves listeners with empty space

Travis Scott’s ‘Astroworld’ album leaves listeners with empty space

Travis Scott’s ‘Astroworld’ album leaves listeners with empty space
August 09
15:30 2018

By contributing writer Alexander Downs

Houston’s very own Travis Scott is back with “Astroworld,” a new 17-track album fans have been anxious for since his last full-length album in 2016, “Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight.”

After releasing 2017’s “Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho” EP with Quavo, “Astroworld” is Scott’s first solo project in a while, and the result is nothing less than exactly what he has produced throughout his career.

The album opens up with “STARGAZING,” a dreamscape filled with references of drug usage, which — paired with the dark, dreary instruments — gives listeners a vibe that leaves you feeling lost in the proverbial sauce. The best thing about this song is the beat transition halfway in. The change-up in beats and lyrics leads you from Scott’s light, pondering thoughts and toward a darker realm deeper in his psyche — a recurring theme on the album.

“SICKO MODE” follows soon after, and it’s my personal favorite on the album. The song features Drake and has ad-libs from Swae Lee, one half of Rae Sremmurd. “SICKO MODE” leads the listener down a path of anger, intent and cockiness — almost like the song itself has a chip on it’s shoulder. The instrumental of this song really makes it what it is. Without it, it’s just another Drake-twisted song you could throw in the pile of a thousand others, but there’s a special something with this track. This one has some real creative genius in it, and the Tay Keith beat on the second half also just adds to my liking of the song.

A lot of the songs on this album fall flat for me, like “RIP SCREW,” “NO BYSTANDERS” and “WAKE UP.” These songs, both musically and lyrically, seem to either be the same typical Travis Scott sound that does not add up to the bigger picture or are songs that are just on the album to get a longer play time. While “RIP SCREW” has a sentimental value of paying homage to DJ Screw, one of the scene’s pioneers, “NO BYSTANDERS” is the kind of track where I could hit shuffle on anyone’s phone and find a much better track with the same intent. “WAKE UP” just sounds like a generic The Weeknd song with Travis Scott’s “it’s lit!” ad-lib plastered into it.

For completely different reasons, two tracks really shocked me in this album: “NC-17” featuring 21 Savage and “SKELETONS” featuring and produced by Tame Impala (yes, Tame Impala as in that Australian indie psych rock band). 21 Savage really did not bring much to “NC-17,” and his pairing with Scott on this track tries too hard to imitate Drake’s singing-while-rapping style, which just ends up sounding like a seventh grade choir on the first day of school. Alternatively, “SKELETONS” is the most positively shocking track to listen to. The way Tame Impala adds its own unadulterated sound into a Travis Scott recording continues to amaze me, even after multiple listens.

This album follows a few different themes that get extremely muddied up while listening to it. Scott goes back and forth between saying he lives two separate lives — one for his family and one for his friends — and the line he draws in this divide is blurry and inconsistent. In many tracks, he will talk about drug or weapon use, and then on the next he’ll talk about cleaning up his act to pursue the life he wants. Scotts paints the picture that the life he wants is on the opposite end of the spectrum from the life he needs, which is referenced on “ASTROTHUNDER,” an iconic track produced by John Mayer produced where he continues to talk about practicing what he preaches.

With this album, I feel as if Travis tried his best to work on something new, both musically and lyrically. However it seems as if he fell back into his niche as the rapper who has the same cadence in 90 percent of his bars, as well as screaming “it’s lit!” after every single line.

Favorite song: “SICKO MODE”

Worst song: “NC-17”

My rating: 2.25/5

Featured Image: Courtesy Travis Scott Facebook.

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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