Travis Scott
Astroworld


3.7
great

Review

by Jordan M. STAFF
August 8th, 2018 | 110 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Who say that I ain’t gon’ sell?

Nobody should be bothered criticizing Travis Scott for a lack of technical, classist rap proficiency— there’s not much evidence that he aspires for that— but it needs to be written about, anyway. Even as Scott writes great choruses, sings addictive hooks, and performs chaotically, he can’t help but rap without saying much. There just doesn’t seem to be much that troubles or interests him. Even on Astroworld, ostensibly the psychedelic sound of childhood dreams torn down for the sake of gentrification, his actual words includes a melange of double entendres and euphemisms too inane to bother listing. When he doesn’t pilfer other rapper’s styles (which he does, often) or perform with someone else, you’ll notice it. He’s just not very interested in rapping. What he’s interested in is aesthetic, with Astroworld a sustained exercise in capturing nothing else other than aesthetic.

It’s important to note because just about any discussion of Travis Scott traces back to his disregard for rap in favour of vibes, ad nauseum. For all of his actual, qualified greatness-- “Pick Up the Phone,” “90210”-- critics still can’t overcome the need to dig deep into the incredible disinterest Scott has for rapping. I guess if you’re assessing Scott from the angle that he’s a rapper, which he sort of, technically, tangentially, is, that’s a fair enough criticism (it’s a fair enough criticism, anyway, because his lyrics do span exactly two dimensions between nondescript and bad). But there’s not been much suggestion, here or otherwise, that Scott’s terribly concerned about anything other than curation. Even if Astroworld isn’t the year’s best rap album, then it certainly feels, looks like, and seems like it is.

In fairness to Scott’s critics, the best of Astroworld is attributable to his collaborators; Drake’s menace and Xanax abuse, Frank Ocean’s ersatz trapper pastiche, Sheck Wes’ ‘Bitch!’ ad-lib, Nav’s comically quiet and obligatory feature, Tame Impala’s dream pop turned nightmare instrumentals. In between all of it, Scott sounds impressive if not soulless, and stitches it together in a way that seems seamless, without any sameness. But, of course, there’s the sense of it being distended because it is bloated with other people’s names. Arguably, that’s Astroworld best asset; Take a few minutes out of your day to appreciate “Stop Trying to Be God.” Its hook is sung by Kid Cudi, it features random, passionate flares of harmonica courtesy of Stevie Wonder, and a James Blake coda that chastises a deluded hero for being emotionally stunted and unable to engage. And Philip Bailey is there, too. Which is all the more momentous because as a song, it's not especially lyrical, meaningful, or otherwise intellectually satisfying. It really doesn’t aim for that. It just… bangs.

Which I would assume is Travis Scott’s modus operandi. Remember Rodeo" Remember “3500"” Remember how it went for 7-minutes" Then you’ll probably remember that as good as it was, it was just standard for rap music in 2015. There’s an illusion of complexity and grandiosity about Scott. Some of it is deserved. Some of it clouds proper criticism. It is nevertheless hard to divorce from the source material, as Scott writes reems of lore and quotables around his album’s themes and importance only to produce serviceable, addictive club anthems instead. And so goes Astroworld; an hour of ambitious song structures, disparate vocal and instrumental performances, and lyrical esoterica concerning Houston, tied together by Travis Scott’s affection for autotune and lowest common denominator rhymes and flows. Which isn’t particularly characteristic of a great rapper, but is more or less the ingredients of great music.



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user ratings (200)
Chart.
3.4
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Gyromania
August 8th 2018


25519 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Looking forward to hearing this. Robin's 4.5 has me hyped

Wildhoney
August 8th 2018


195 Comments


if he's rapping just for aesthetic then imo that qualifies as him taking at least some interest in rapping, but i completely get what you mean. album brings the vibes. great review

verdant
Staff Reviewer
August 8th 2018


2247 Comments


the way that you write is so clean (clean)
cleanest that i ever seen (seen)


Ebola
August 8th 2018


3217 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Sicko Mode goes hard, nothing else has really grabbed me

Digging: Leprous - Malina

Hawks
August 8th 2018


58687 Comments


Def gotta hear this and new Denzel Curry asap.

Digging: Eucharist - A Velvet Creation

Ebola
August 8th 2018


3217 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

new Denzel has some absolute bangers

anarchistfish
August 8th 2018


26609 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

album bangs

Digging: Cloud Nothings - Attack on Memory

Gyromania
August 8th 2018


25519 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Can't Say" is so good

Gyromania
August 8th 2018


25519 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So is "Butterfly Effect", even tho the auto tune bits are a little annoying

Aberf
August 8th 2018


2323 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This review is too accurate, it hurts.

Digging: Nothing - Dance On The Blacktop

Gyromania
August 8th 2018


25519 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is so awesome. Early faves are: "Carousel", "Sicko Mode", "Skeletons", "Yosemite", "Can't Say", "Butterfly Effect" and "Coffee Bean"

ButtBoy
August 8th 2018


425 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"Even if Astroworld isn’t the year’s best rap album, then it certainly feels, looks like, and seems like it is."



uhhhh gonna have to say no on that.



ITS LIT! ITS LIT! STRAIGHT UPPP

botb
August 8th 2018


11772 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review. Scott is enjoyable in the same way Rae Sremmerd is to me. An artist that is willing to work with an incredible production team to just churn out infectious music that gets stuck in your head.

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
August 8th 2018


23473 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

it's been growing on me a bit, still don't know if I like the middle/end all that much tho other than 2-3 songs

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
August 8th 2018


23473 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

also nice work jordan, like this a fair amount more than ur Denzel review

rc239
August 8th 2018


223 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

12345 tyhats the countdown til i slide

rc239
August 8th 2018


223 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

all the "its lit!!!!" on this album sorta kills it a bit for me

ButtBoy
August 8th 2018


425 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

same, it gets to the point where i can predict it coming a mile away and then i just get mad...and it's every fucking song

Wildhoney
August 8th 2018


195 Comments


Straight up!!!

It's lit!!

anarchistfish
August 8th 2018


26609 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

"Great review. Scott is enjoyable in the same way Rae Sremmerd is to me. An artist that is willing to work with an incredible production team to just churn out infectious music that gets stuck in your head."



yh basically



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