Astroworld Album Review
By: Eben Timko
The first thing you’ll hear in Astroworld is a bass heavy, atmospheric trip that is meticulously produced, almost to excess. It’s hypnotizing. The depth of each layer in each of these songs is truly amazing. Travis Scott takes you to the amusement park that is his mind and you will ride the roller coaster with him (and all of the incredible features on the album like Frank Ocean, John Mayer, Drake, Tame Impala, Stevie Wonder and more).
An interesting trend in songs recently, and scattered throughout Astroworld, is a bridge that switches the beat, feel, and tempo of the song. It’s evident in “Stargazing”, “Sicko Mode” and others. Scott transitions through these bridges seamlessly in order to get his point across - his mind is never standing still. He is relentlessly in a search for his own sound, and this is his ascension to that singularity. He definitely has a similar style to other artists (to me, a milennial version of Kanye if 808s was his guiding style), but has forged his own trip. The album is a staunch mix of club bangers, cruising jams, and 2am smoking session soundtracks that all mesh together perfectly.
Scott has been a bonafide star for a while now, but Astroworld is his strongest project to date. He shows us his skills as a rapper - which he excels at when provided more melodic, spacey tunes - but also as a teammate. The features on the album are spectacular and widespread, but it doesn’t ever feel like he dominates a song or is dominated. On “Stop Trying to Be God”, he is balancing a mix of Cudi’s otherworldly humming abilities, Stevie Wonder playing the harmonica, and James Blake’s brooding, bluesy voice. Travis Scott uses all of these help him drive the intensity this album needs and each song keeps going strong. Scott can flat out spit and this is the most intense I’ve heard it, and I mean that in the best way possible.
Astroworld won’t be for everyone, but for those who are willing to take the plunge, it is a well-crafted album that flows through spectacularly. There are definitely some misses, and Scott isn’t the most prophetic lyricist of our generation, but overall it feels like Travis Scott had found himself and is ready to run.