Astroworld is a ambitious leap in the right direction. The album kicks off with “Stargazing”, a journey through space immediately returning Travis to his former glory. Using distortion, a syncopated beat, and that glorious auto-tune, Astroworld kicks off to a much higher standard than previously. The psychedelic shenanigans continue on “Sicko Mode”, a beat changing adventure featuring Drake.
Travis learns to finally acknowledge his calmer side, and glossy tracks like “Skeletons” or, “RIP Screw”, are both lavish displays of production. After his departure from G.O.O.D music, Travis has clearly struggled with chopping up his own beats and its satisfying to witness him find his sweet spot again. The variety continues with “Coffee Bean”, wherein a rare lyrical moment, a relaxed Travis rants about the expectations and controversy surrounding his relationship with Kylie Jenner.
Nevertheless, the awesome hooks and gimmicks are still here in plenty. The high pitched Don Toliver and booming bass are an immediate draw on “Can’t Say”, and the loud chanting and falling instrumentals on “No Bystanders” make this one of the most hype tracks on the album. The impressive guest list continues to become even more unbelievable, with Kid Cudi’s hums partnered with melancholy instrumentals on “Stop Trying to be God”, and a delightful harmonica solo from none other than Stevie Wonder. However, it’s far from perfect. I’ve certainly heard enough The Weekend features on Travis’s albums, and the weird lyrics on “Wake Up” usually lead me to skipping the track entirely.
Also, I feel that the single, “Butterfly Effect”, is still sheepishly boring, and didn’t really have a place on this album. Regardless, Travis created something special with Astroworld and I appreciate Travis embracing his roots and realizing his missteps.