Finally, ASTROWORLD season has arrived.
We've waited over 2 years since Travis Scott announced his third studio album would be called "ASTROWORLD", and on Friday, it has officially released. ASTROWORLD is one of the most hyped albums of this decade, with Travis' team putting a lot of effort into marketing it and getting our hopes up. Travis has said that this album "was supposed to drop after "Rodeo'" which dropped in 2015 and that ASTROWORLD is a continuation of Rodeo, which is widely considered his best album. With the people we've seen in Hawaii with Travis and how long the process of making this album took, ASTROWORLD has some very high expectations set for itself. I'm looking to see how creative and versatile Travis is with this project, I'm very excited for the features, but most of all, I can't wait for more Travis Scott music.
For the people reading this that don't know, Travis Scott is my favorite artist in all of music. I began listening to him after "Days Before Rodeo" dropped, and then became a big fan after "Rodeo" and "Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight" released. So this review is likely going to be biased, as these are my opinions of the album. After listening for a couple days, I will review each track with my first reaction and in-depth thoughts of each song. Since all of ASTROWORLD is on YouTube, I'll also post links to every track as well so you can hear the album while reading this article, whether you have listened to it or not.
Travis chose the lighter album cover to be the official cover art, and while some don't like this, I think that this cover explains exactly what Travis wants this album to be like: an amusement park. For those who don't know the meaning behind this album, AstroWorld was an amusement park in Houston, TX that was around for about 40 years, until it was torn down in the mid-2000's. This devastated the city and Travis' goal with this album is to bring back the nostalgia of AstroWorld and the happiness, excitement, and energy that came with it. Travis was born and raised in Missouri City, TX which is close to Houston, so ASTROWORLD has deep meaning to Travis. I find the huge, golden head to be hilarious and it's similar to the Texas Cyclone ride at AstroWorld. A family is stepping into Travis' glowing mouth, which to me, seems like it's a metaphor for how this album is going to be like a roller-coaster ride. Travis did release a darker cover of ASTROWORLD that is much more explicit, so I wonder if that will be used for a Deluxe edition.
Travis has a common theme of not putting his features alongside the track and surprising listeners instead, which I think is cool and makes the listening experience more entertaining. On Thursday night, I talked to my brother about the release and we guessed the features that were on the album. Here were my 10 projected features:
Gunna, NAV, Drake, Kanye West, Kid Cudi, The Weeknd, Don Toliver, Sheck Wes, Quavo, Stevie Wonder
There are 17 tracks, which is around the same amount Travis usually has on his projects. Will there be 8 lighter songs, an interlude, then 8 darker songs? Not really sure, but I'm very excited. Without further adieu, let's buckle our seat belts and dive right into ASTROWORLD!
Words can't describe how excited I am for this album. I've heard this song through concerts and the trailer so many times. This sounds amazing in HD now. I'm just happy we can finally hear the complete version of this song. Psychedelics got me going crazy! Such an addictive chorus. And then there's inaudible Travis, a constant on his projects. This beat SLAPS. I love this flow he's using right now. The production in the first 2 minutes of this song is incredible. Okay, the beat slowed down now. Kind of wish it didn't but let's see where it's going. Sounds like screams of people on a roller-coaster, it's fitting. Pause. OH MAN. I AM JUMPING UP AND DOWN. I FEEL LIKE THE KID ON THE ALBUM COVER. THIS GOT ME HYPED. TRAVIS IS GOING IN RIGHT NOW. AstroWorld shoutout. "Told the dawgs I'd bring it back it was a seal of faith." I understand that Instagram caption now. Kylie Jenner shout out. "I'm way too gold for this beef, feel like I'm Kobe." Double entendre, Kobe beef and Kobe Bryant, L.A. Laker gold. I really wasn't expecting that beat switch, but a roller coaster has to have its twists and turns, and Stargazing is a great way to start off this project. This has to be Travis' best intro ever.
Not sure who's talking but I'm guessing it's a Houston reference. (EDIT: It's Big Tuck, from Houston) Slow build-up. It's picked up more, sounds like something that is going to start a mosh pit. Travis is flowing, beat has dropped. Travis did say he would be rapping on this project more than ever, he's delivering on his promise right now. Feature for the chorus? Wait, is that Frank Ocean? Travis got FRANK OCEAN to get on a song? We got Kendrick on Birds, if Frank is on the second song I can only imagine who's going to be on other tracks. Travis back for a quick verse, Frank comes in and sounds great. He's already switched flows like three times on this verse. I know Travis put out a remix of Lens, but he really was able to get Frank Ocean on this? Trav got connections in this industry. Another good track. 2/2 so far.
3. "SICKO MODE"
Sounds like something you would hear at a carnival. Is that Drake? Yup, that's Drake. It'll be interesting to see what he brings. That beat is disgusting. What happened to this? WHAT IS THIS? We're really on a roller coaster right now! Travis is rapping again, he's doing a great job on all tracks right now. Gimme the Loot! Who's vocals are those? Dark and twisted voice is "playing for keeps" (Big Hawk). Uncle Luke from 2 Live Crew! I Wanna Rock sample! Haven't heard that since French Montana used that for "Pop That". "She thought it was the ocean, it's just the pool". HA, that's a flex. Those vocals sound like Swae Lee to me. So now, it sounds like meteors are hitting this beat. ANOTHER BEAT SWITCH! This is crazy! Drake going to hop on this one. Tay Keith! Drake does Xans now? Drake is out like a light. Checks over Stripes, "Nike Boyz". Sheck Wes got a shout out from Drake! DEVIN BOOKER GOT A SHOUT OUT FROM DRAKE?! (D Book is my favorite basketball player) Other than the shout outs, pretty underwhelming verse from Drake. It bumps and would be great to listen to if you're trying to get hyped, but Drake really didn't say much. I find his music to be like that a lot, but it still sounds good. Like a light. LIKE A LIGHT! I've never heard a Jamba Juice reference in a song before, Travis has said it twice. Not complaining. Shout out Stormi. "Baby mama cover Forbes, got these other b*tches shook". Travis dominated this song. How long ago was this song made if that line was in there? I feel like I've heard this outro before. Kinda sounds a little like the end of 3500. This is going to be a hit.
4. "R.I.P. SCREW"
"Rest in peace to Screw tonight we take it slowly". DJ Screw was from Houston, he's credited as being a "Chopped and Screwed" beat innovator, which slows down original songs. RIP DJ Screw. Whoever is on these vocals is amazing. This sounds so good. Swae Lee back to back? He sounds great on this album. Travis is using him to his max potential right now, vocally. High-pitched Travis, he's feeling the love. I feel like I'm on cloud nine right now. I LOVE the sound of this, not every Travis Scott song is supposed to be a hype song. This production so far on the album is INSANE. Repetition of "mane". So many Houston references, from Pimp C of UGK to Screw. Another awesome song, this is perfect for a late-night drive. This might be the "Drugs You Should Try It Part 2" many La Flame were anxious for.
5. "STOP TRYING TO BE GOD"
The song title alone has me hyped. I have no clue what is going on in the beginning of this song. There is only one artist that can pull off a hum like that, it's gotta be Kid Cudi. Not really sure who's on the chorus but it sounds addictive. Travis sounds very calm in this one, almost sounds sad. The sound on all of these have been so good, it's fulfilling expectations. Who's on the harmonica? This second verse from Travis is awesome. He's explaining how God has plan for everyone, no matter how bad their current situation is. I'm really loving this harmonica on the chorus. Now it's really slowed down, a different voice is on the vocals. I'm getting goosebumps listening to this, this sounds so beautiful. Now they took it to another level. My soul is being taken away to a different place right now, this is so damn beautiful. That's gotta be Stevie Wonder on the harmonica. Travis was really emulating Kanye on that track, but with his own incredible twist, he put every feature and sound together perfectly. Just looked up the features, Philip Bailey was on the chorus and James Blake had the last verse. Wow. What an incredible song. Travis gets a standing ovation for this masterpiece.
6. "NO BYSTANDERS"
Is this Post Malone on the intro? Nope, I think that's Juice WRLD. Surprised, yet happy to see him on here, he sounds good. Travis building this one up to be a banger. Beat drop! Sheck Wes! F**K THE CLUB UP! Sounds like something inspired from Three 6 Mafia. I can already the ragers going nuts. No bystanders in a mosh, only chaos and this song is providing chaos to ASTROWORLD. It's funny how this comes right after "STOP TRYING TO BE GOD". This makes me want to start throwing elbows like I'm Ron Artest. Juice is back to calm me down a little bit. Travis spitting fire right now! "I told her it's BYOB, that mean buy your own boobs." HAAA, Travis not giving any handouts! We need more Sheck Wes. La Flame's pace is a lot faster on this one, which is rare from him so it's a nice change. This beat was made for Travis. I can't wait to hear this live. Travis does a great job on all three verses. Sheck Wes outro. I hope he comes back this album.
This kind of sounds like an Aerosmith sample. Dream on? Travis is in slow motion, and in outer space, relating to ASTROWORLD. WHOA, I don't know the vocal there but that filled my ears with happiness. THIS PRODUCTION ON THIS SONG AND ALBUM IS AMAZING! Mike Dean is doing an awesome job. Wait, were those vocals The Weeknd? Travis is back, interesting verse to say the least. When I first listened to this, his flow reminds me exactly of "Owl Pharoah". He's combining the traits of previous albums all into ASTROWORLD, which is outstanding from a listener's perspective. I was right, that's The Weeknd. Is there another voice in the back? This sounds so good, this vibe is sending me to heaven and back. Kinda reminds me of "Ghost Town" that Kanye had on Ye this year. Pharrell Williams was featured?? Tame Impala produced this? Man, ASTROWORLD is more star-studded than I thought it would be.
8. "WAKE UP"
Is Travis strumming on a broken guitar right now? I'm waiting for the kick. Hey, Abel's back again. We've gotten two Swae Lee and The Weeknd appearances each, I'm a fan of each so far. He sounds awesome so far in this, he really has one of the best voices out there. Travis' verse is really calm, this entire song is so relaxing and, ironically enough, would be nice to wake up to. "Any given Sunday you can get it, Willie Beamen". Is Quavo in the back with that Co-Co ad-lib? We're back to high-pitch Travis for the chorus, doesn't sound as great as The Weeknd's but it works. Travis and Abel always work really well together, whether it's on Pray 4 Love, Wonderful, this or Skeletons. It would be so cool if they put out a joint album together, I doubt it would happen. This outro sounds awesome. Mike Dean is seriously murdering the production on this album.
9. "5% TINT"
THIS PIANO THOUGH! Great continuation from "WAKE UP"'s outro, slides right in. "Who's that creeping through my window?" is going to be a line I won't be able to get out my head. This beat actually sounds like a killer is tiptoeing through a hallway right after they just got away with murder, it's going to sound great with speakers with base-boosted speakers. The 5% ad-lib sounds so cool to me for some reason, nice Kevin Hart line that could mean his cheating scandal or the track with J. Cole. Travis is telling me a story right now, an it includes a girl in the VIP who he's trying to get with, he's going to take her back to his crib but he feels like someone is watching him. Isn't a Tony Story from Meek Mill but it's still entertaining. Is this track about trying to avoid the media and paparazzi all the time and just live a normal life? I love this chorus, the way it flows and sounds is Travis at his finest. Another twist to the end of the song. He's really taking us through a roller coaster ride on this album.
With a title like this, I'm guessing this is going to be one of the more explicit songs on ASTROWORLD. The beginning sounds like I'm winding up a Jack-in-the-box. All of a sudden, the Jack pops out on the beat and sounds like... Young Thug? Travis definitely sounds like Thug to me on this one. Wait, didn't he preview this song at a club a couple weeks ago? A lot of talk about the same sex. Nothing too crazy from Travis here, but he's expanding his range and trying something new, which is what you want to see from an artist. Solid verse. 21 Savage just came out of nowhere on here, I actually laughed a little once I heard him. But 21 is actually delivering! He's just flexing on us now, he Saint Laurent's his dogs out. "Your b*tch gave the Kid Cudi but I'm not signed to Ye, I nutted on her cheek her new nickname is Babyface." 21! Those last two lines were sick, not even going to lie. Best 21 verse I've heard in a while, he possibly did better than Travis on this one. This song is going to be perfect for a club's atmosphere.
This title alone has me hyped, this could be a banger. Nice and smooth beat to begin. Travis mumbling something. "Seems like the life I need's a little distant." We're seeing a darker side of La Flame on this one. The beat perfectly matches the mood, and Travis has that dark but melodic flow. This something you can really relax to, it's dark but soothing. Not a whole lot of vocals on this one, I would consider this more of an interlude than anything else. This entire track makes me feel like I'm alone in the middle of a lake. Short track, but sounds great. Hold on, Travis got Thundercat to produce this? John Mayer was on the guitar at the end? Who would have thought John Mayer would be on a Travis Scott album?
So apparently, I've left the lake and now am in the middle of a Western desert? I guess that can relate to the song's title. Gunna! Gunna is FLOWING! You can hear the Young Thug inspiration in his voice. I liked Drip Season 3, this flow is extremely similar to "Oh Okay" which was probably the best track off the album. Hopefully he gets recognition after this one, he's killing it. Travis hopping on the same flow, these two are really working well together. Travis humming! Behind Cudi, he's got to have one of the best hums in the game. I'm really hoping NAV is on this track so we can get him out of the way, now would be a good time to put him in. Gunna really snaps on the chorus, might have to go listen to more of his stuff soon. Travis and Gunna going back and forth! This beat was perfect for both of them. Not a bad sound yet on this album. Wait, it's NAV! Why is he so quiet? This is a perfect example of when you're in the booth at 3:00 AM but your mom is sleeping, so you have to be quiet. This is a best-case scenario for NAV on this album, a short verse at the end of the album and you can barely hear him. All jokes aside, an okay verse from NAV. Should have just been Gunna and Travis, those 2 did real well on this one.
13. "CAN'T SAY"
More guitar strums? Sounds like "WAKE UP" but darker. High-pitched Travis chorus. Liking the flow he's using so far. There's a Hills reference, you're not listening to Travis Scott if he hasn't said something about the Hills. "Gang too wavy, move like Navy Seals." A mix of sounds for Travis on this one, I like how versatile he is on a lot of these tracks. A lot of rappers will generally stick to one sound or flow for a song, but Travis likes to constantly switch things up. I haven't heard much of him, but I'm pretty sure that's Don Toliver. His voice is so strange and unique but entertaining. Clearly he's influenced by Young Thug. A lot of people are going to think this is T-Pain with less auto-tune. Don Toliver is KILLING this verse! "Ima tell the truth like Usher." One of the best features so far, he might have just put himself on the map. Travis is back, he sounds a lot better with more sound in the background. This chorus is so catchy and addictive, definitely one of my favorites on the album.
14. "WHO? WHAT!"
If I don't hear Playboi Carti ad-libs I'm going to be disappointed. Not really, but it just makes sense to have Carti on this with a song title like that. Travis is alive! Another Hills reference. I heard Quavo ad-libs in the back, guessing he gets a verse later on. "12345 that's the countdown till I slide." Another catchy line I'll be saying for weeks. "I smack that ass she threw it back it self-defense". That's so corny but so funny at the same time. Mo Bamba on repeat! Shout out Sheck Jesus. Not going to lie, Travis' verse could have been cut a little short on this one, still not bad. There's the Quavo verse I was waiting for. Takeoff! He didn't get left off this one! He was on the mic for about 20 seconds and still gave us 3 different schemes and some BARS. I'm glad he's finally getting the recognition he deserves. Good track, this sounds like something that could have been on Huncho Jack.
15. "BUTTERFLY EFFECT"
Not really much to cover here, this track has been out for over a year now. Believe it or not, there is no explicit language in this song at all, which is rare for a rap to be a hit and extremely rare for a Travis Scott song. This version sounds a little different than the original, it's slightly re-mixed. Third song in a row with a Hills reference. Now that I'm listening to it again, this fits real well on Astroworld. I'm glad this made it over "Watch".
Travis needs a vacation. Which is weird, because with how much money him and Kylie Jenner make, they could probably go on vacation forever. So, maybe a vacation back to H-Town? I barely listened to it, but this sounds like the Vacation snippet that leaked a couple months ago. Travis picked up his pace and he's going! "Handin' out the E! to the entertainment." Another double entendre, the TV network and ecstasy. He built a AstroWorld playground for Stormi? Travis and Kylie should just re-open AstroWorld with all of their money. He just mentioned a conversation with Bill Clinton?! Why does Travis kind of sound like PnB Rock with those ad-libs? I'm loving the lines he's dropping to start this second verse. Travis iced out the gang. Another chill track, and like I said before, I'm a fan of every single track so far.
17. "COFFEE BEAN"
Strange name for a final track. What a ride it's been. This beat is REAL SMOOTH. "This is all!" repeating in the background, not sure of the meaning of that. Travis is bad news. He has that tone in his voice where you know he's going to be venting off his emotions and state of mind. "Your family told you I'm a bad move, plus I'm already a black dude." I'm guessing this is referencing his relationship with Kylie Jenner, I guess her parents didn't approve of Travis at first, hopefully not because of his skin color. Seems like Travis is much more engaged in this relationship than people give him credit for, good for him for sticking around through her pregnancy and willing to be a father. "Stressing over award shows, she's stressing over a wardrobe." This just hit me, while one reason may be more significant than the other, both of them are stressed because they are both being judged in their respective areas, as Travis is trying to receive awards for his music and Kylie praise for her outfits. Now it seems like Travis is starting to think ahead negatively, as he's thinking about the process of a divorce. He's really introspective on this track. The more I read the lyrics (and this may seem like a stretch) could he be talking about AstroWorld? No matter how many tickets it sold, it was still going to close, then he talks about divorce, alimony and fees, as it was too expensive to keep it open, and the "bad news" is that it closed down. Just a thought but it's still an amazing song, Travis did a great job with this one. Mike Dean, take it home! The violin and electric guitar, I'm getting "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" vibes right now. Distorted voice to close it out. What an amazing end to an amazing ride.
Travis Scott deserves all of the credit in the world after putting out ASTROWORLD. First off, the production on this album was immaculate. Every single song had their own different twist, and the smallest details made an enormous effect on a lot of these tracks, such as "COFFEE BEAN" and "STARGAZING". This is definitely one of the best produced albums I've ever heard, easily top 5, and even might be in the conversation with number 1. Mike Dean is a master mixer and he proved it once again on ASTROWORLD, as this is a sonically brilliant album. Producers such as WondaGurl, FKi 1st, Frank Dukes, Tame Impala and especially Travis Scott and Mike Dean deserve tons of credit for their work on this album. Almost all of the features were great on here too, but every feature served a purpose and was placed perfectly, even NAV. What impressed me was the balance of features. You had your superstars like Frank Ocean, Drake, Quavo, and the Weeknd. You had artists that a lot of the younger audience has never listened to, such as James Blake, Philip Bailey, Stevie Wonder and Tame Impala. And, there's also artists that are somewhat unknown like Don Toliver, Gunna, and Sheck Wes who will hopefully receive more recognition after the release of ASTROWORLD.
And as far as Travis Scott goes, I think Travis just put out not only his best work of art of his career, but the best album of 2018, and I'm really hoping this gets some serious Grammy consideration. Travis flaunted his creativity throughout the album, and made tons of innovative sounds that artists will likely attempt to replicate. Every track served a purpose, and he executed the album perfectly. Throughout the album, you'll see where the Kanye West inspiration comes from, like on "SKELETONS" and "STOP TRYING TO BE GOD". He has a knack for making great music, not just trap bangers, and his music can reach such a wide audience with his diversity of sounds on ASTROWORLD. That being said, however, this project won't be for everyone. If you're looking for mainstream hits like "Antidote" or "goosebumps", or trap bangers like those on "Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho", then ASTROWORLD might not be for you. Other than that, I think that everyone, including people who don't particularly like rap, should give this a listen, if they haven't already.
Travis Scott's goal was to give the listener the roller-coaster experience and to bring back the energy of ASTROWORLD. After countless listens, I can say he succeeded in this goal, and he may have exceeded it. Like I said before, I'm very biased, but this is easily his best work, and some of the best work we are going to see in music in 2018 and beyond. Travis Scott has reached his full potential many saw during his "Owl Pharaoh" days. ASTROWORLD is like Birds, Rodeo, Days Before Rodeo, and Owl Pharaoh all mixed together into 17 exhilarating tracks. My biased review is giving this album a 10,000/10, but my real review is going to be a 9.5/10. It's not perfect, but it's pretty damn close. It kind of stinks that this is the first album review, because I feel like it's going to be the best one, but who cares. ASTROWORLD is here, it's Travis Scott's world and we're all living in it through this album.
So, thank you Travis. Thank you for giving us the thrill ride of our lives.