Astroworld by Travis Scott review
RnB/Hip Hop |
Monday 13th August 2018 | Jake
Few rappers build such fervent hype around a release as Travis Scott does. The quirky guerilla promotion, all of the intricate details that momentarily satisfy in the months leading up to the release (the album cover, for example, is designed by David LaChapelle and was unveiled on 31st July), and the infinite leaked images of La Flame in the studio with notable artists set the whole industry and fans into a state of dizzying anticipation for his third studio album Astroworld.
How, then, would Travis fare fulfilling the hope and extravagant expectations his album’s wait and promotion had engendered? The answer, inevitably, was underwhelming. It would have taken a magnum opus to satisfy the demands the album had built for itself, and there is an inescapable feeling Travis’ best work is behind him.
La Flame’s debut album, Rodeo, represented an artistic zenith for Travis, every feature felt painstakingly researched to match with the best song, the production would shift moods whimsically and take you along for the ride. There was also a narrative to follow, with emotive lyrics on family, fame and fortune. Musical genius should of course develop and search for new ways to better its craft, however Travis seems to have stumbled upon a sound that happily sells and is equally revered by his Hip Hop contemporaries, not that it should be.
Thickly laden with autotune and banal verses on money and fame, many songs on Astroworld suffer from effects that Travis once mastered. The same can be said for the production. Whereas Rodeo, and to a lesser extent his second album Birds, managed to switch mood and instrumental dramatically and yet smoothly, Astroworld’s beats can feel overproduced, complicated and needlessly choppy.
Just as his previous albums hosted a buffet of producers and artists Travis enjoys, Astroworld is chock-full of features from the hottest talents in the rap scene. But too often there is a disconnect between the feature and Travis, between the artist and the production. Astroworld feels like a compilation à la Drake’s More Life, but without the hits to make it a success.