UTOPIA… Travis Scott’s Failed Paradise

Disappointment. That’s the feeling that eager  Travis Scott fans, who had been waiting years for a new project, were met with after listening to his new album, “UTOPIA.” 

Being one of the biggest hip-hop artists of all time, Scott is notorious for his ability to create a new experience with every album, fabricating a different world each time. “UTOPIA” failed to live up to those standards.  A disappointing, directionless album, “UTOPIA” was backed by an incomprehensive tracklist filled with lackluster features from other stars such as The Weeknd, Drake, SZA, Future and Playboi Carti. 

However, the album wasn’t a complete miss. The album begins with “HYENA,” a masterful introduction to the album, with exciting instrumentals, outstanding production and thrilling new verses from Scott, whose vocals can give you goosebumps with little storytelling in his lyrics. In the past, Travis Scott’s music never seemed to focus on the subject matter, but instead the feeling you get when hearing him express himself on a beat. Initially, he appeared to have done it again, setting the stage for another masterpiece of an album. 

The next few tracks were unenthusiastic let downs. Nothing stood out in tracks two through six, “THANK GOD,” “MODERN JAM,” “MY EYES,” “GOD’S COUNTRY” and “SIRENS.” The production value was still held to a high standard, with beautiful arrangements and perfect mixing. But this is a low bar from one of the biggest artists in the world. The problems came from songs filled with uninspiring, forgettable verses.

Tracks seven through nine, “MELTDOWN,” “F!EN,” and “DELRESTO” came with features from three hip-hop superstars, Drake, Playboi Carti and Beyoncé. “MELTDOWN” featuring Drake was more of a ‘LET-DOWN.’ Drake’s verse was average, but nothing about it really captures attention, especially when paired with a boring, repetitive beat. The same can be said when it comes to Playboi Carti’s verse on “F!EN.” Even Beyoncé’s sound didn’t fit well on a Travis Scott song, leaving the feature feeling out of place rather than enhancing the album. 

With track 10, “I KNOW ?” the album starts to redeem itself. Scott makes a statement with no features.  Scott’s vocals over an exciting beat and the chorus capture the idea of the ‘rager’ persona he tries to convey through lyrics, describing his experiences with different drugs and women. “But then again,” raps Scott, “I could be drunk.”

Tracks 11 through 16 are better than the first half of the album, with more impressive beats and features from artists like 21 Savage, The Weeknd, Young Thug and Kid Cudi. The most interesting feature on the entire album came during track 13, “PARASAIL,” featuring Yung Lean and comedian Dave Chappelle. A Dave Chappelle feature was more than surprising, but what intrigued me the most was that it didn’t feel out of place. Chappelle’s performance felt emotional and paired perfectly with the instrumentals, and seemed to land better than many of the other superstars featured on the album. This pleasant surprise made “PARASAIL” stand out amongst many other songs on the album. 

The album begins to come to a close with a few exceptional songs. “K-POP,” the 17th song on the album, was released a week before “UTOPIA” as the lead single for the album. This song has outstanding features from Bad Bunny and The Weeknd. The beat was exhilarating, and Scott had more energetic, exciting vocals. There was some notable production from BYNX®, an up-and-coming producer who has been in the public eye lately, recently working closely with artists such as Yeat and Drake. “TELEKINESIS,” one of the strongest songs on the album, has features from Future and SZA. Again with great production, “TELEKINESIS” implies that the album is coming to a close, adding some kind of direction to an album that, until the end, had lacked it throughout. 

“TILL FURTHER NOTICE,” the last song of the album, is a final attempt to save a lackluster album. Accompanied by features from James Blake and 21 Savage, and produced by one of the best, Metro Boomin, the song is exceptional and adds closure to the album. 

“UTOPIA” had its moments, and quite a few songs stood out as hits, but it just didn’t have direction. It felt sporadic at times, with many songs and features seeming out of place, hindering the music immersion. Scott was unable to live up to the expectations from his previous solo studio album, “ASTROWORLD.” 

As an artist being held to such high standards, it can be difficult to meet expectations and deliver the same experience once achieved with a previous project. “ASTROWORLD” let listeners feel like they were escaping reality, taking them into another world, which “UTOPIA” failed at doing. In his fourth solo studio album, Scott has ultimately failed to take listeners to the ‘UTOPIA’ he promised years ago.

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  • Liam Schmitt

    Liam Schmitt is a super awesome guy. He is a Senior at Bend’s oldest high school, and a big time podcaster. When he is not writing new stories of scrips, he loves spending money on things he doesn’t need and listening to a copious amount of music.

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