After 2 years of anticipation somewhere in between Lebron’s first free agency and the second coming of Christ, Travis Scott has finally dropped Astroworld. Let me properly contextualize the hype. It has now been 2 years since the release of Scott’s Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight which, despite a few gems, was received as a regression from Rodeo. Now, Astroworld was advertised as a needed return to the overall strength and infectious style of his 2015 release, Rodeo. So over 3 years of internet conspiracy, multiple false release dates, and plenty of disappointment, Trav fans have still successfully maintained the hype.
I want to start with what I liked because the positives on this tape really blew me away. The variety of sounds that Travis cultivates in Astroworld is nothing short of phenomenal. Scott’s beats/pacing are unique from track-to-track and are filled with mood-altering distorts. The many switch-ups and rhythm changes add a fun feel of unpredictability to individual songs. The instrumentals seem to pull inspiration from countless styles but still manage to feel coherent. The echoey synths, trap distorts, layered ad-libs on songs like “NC-17” and “R.I.P SCREW” bring a traditional Travis feel that his fans love.
What was surprising though, is how well he drew upon acoustic guitar riffs to create a softer vibe within his style (see. “YOSEMITE,” “WAKE UP”). It is also important to note that Astroworlddisplays his best composition with songs like “STOP TRYING TO BE GOD” structured like a complex symphony. Even the guest features on this tape don’t miss for the most part (*cough* *cough* Nav) and boast talent from the likes of Frank Ocean, Drake, 21 Savage, etc.
The only piece left is Travis’s contribution, an area that fell short. Despite pre-launch hype pointing towards a revival of Rodeo form, he really misses on replicating its infectious nature. Astroworlddoesn’t nearly have the unique hooks and memorable lyrics/ad-libs that Scott generally excels at. This is a key issue, even in a vacuum devoid of prior expectations, because Travis Scott isn’t the best lyricist but instead thrives on memorable hooks/flows. So, whether you consider the hype or not, Astroworld’s noticeable lack of infectious lines is a real hole that can only be covered so much by the production.
Recs: “STOP TRYING TO BE GOD,” “NC-17,” “YOSEMITE,” “5% TINT,” “SKELETONS”