HYAENA: Travis Scott’s long-awaited album opens up with some warped vocals followed by an explosive intro track. Travis rapidly flows very distorted boombap drums and a simple yet hard keys melody, that occasionally makes way for booming 808s. The track’s gritty production ends powerfully with some Mike Dean-provided synths that lead perfectly into the next song. I love the production and rapping on the track (and we see Travis doing that on this album more then he ever has), but I find his lyrics lacking in depth or complexity (8/10).
THANK GOD: the dark, atmospheric, Kanye West produced soundscape we get on track two is one of the best tension builders on the album. KayCyy’s epic refrains and the distorted bass hits climax into a dark string melody backed by basic yet effective trap drums, with Travis dropping his signature heavily autotuned vocals with ease (8.5/10).
MODERN JAM (feat. Teezo Touchdown): Kanye’s Yeezus influence is clear on the Daft Punk beat for this track, that was originally the demo for Kanye’s “I Am A God”. The glitchy and experimental synths cleanly decorate the very dance-inspired drums, and Teezo Touchdown delivers a great feature with his powerful vocal shouts. I love the addictive drum loop, but once again Travis offers next to nothing lyricism-wise (8.3/10).
MY EYES: this track is separated into two sections. The first sees Travis singing in a manner that reminds me a lot of Frank Ocean, with pitched vocals from Bon Iver and a beautiful guest appearance from the amazing Sampha. Even tho I love the emotional lofi keys of the first section, the highlight of this track for me is the beat switch. The amazing spacy synths and reverbed vocals lay the perfect atmosphere for Travis to rap one of his best verses on the album, with speedy flows and emotional lyrics (8.7/10).
GOD’S COUNTRY: Another Kanye West produced track. The vocal sample used on this track are a Splice loop, and even tho I love the tight trap percussion on this track I can’t help but find it boring and not on par with the rest of the material on this album (7.3/10).
SIRENS: this beat is one of my favorites on the album, and I love how this track manages to be both experimental and appealing to a more mainstream audience. From the addictive triplet drums, to the unexpected and complex instrumental switch ups, to the creative samples used, to the vocal chops that lead into an ethereal synth outro; this beat is a masterpiece and one of the best tracks UTOPIA has to offer. But as usual, when it comes to Travis’s contribution to the overall music I find myself with little to talk about (8.7/10).
MELTDOWN (feat. Drake): Drake’s feature on this track is by far the biggest talking point about this son, and I think for a good reason. This is one of his best guest verses to date, and it sees him both experimenting with a new delivery and also attempting to stir up some beef by dissing Pharrell Williams in the hopes of re-igniting his battle with Pusha T (one that ended with Push being victorious by dropping one of the most destructive disstracks of all time). The production, done by the likes of BNYX and Tay Keith, is flat and repetitive but very inoffensive; and the beat switch is a great change of pace & features a very good verse from Travis. This track is very solid impact-wise, but a little boring compared to a lot of the material on the album (7.5/10)
FE!N (feat. Playboi Carti): “FE!N” is probably my favorite banger from the album. The mixing on the drums is perfect, the swirling and aggressive synths sound very full and aggressive, Travis experiments with a higher pitched delivery and Carti drops one of my favore guest verses on the album by switching up from his usual vocal inflections. This track makes me want to punch somebody while setting them on fire (8.8/10).
DELRESTO (ECHOES) (feat. Beyoncé): this song is the definition of musical blue balling. The best parts about this track are Beyoncé great vocals, Bon Iver’s stunning outro and the teeth-rattling tension created by the instrumental; but the whole track falls short of something that drops my enjoyment of it down by a lot: there’s absolutely no resolution to the tension. There’s no drop, there’s no full drum section and there’s no climax of any kind; so this track ends leaving me feeling empty. It had a lot of potential, and the features could’ve been explosive but instead we became the victims of musical edging (7/10).
I KNOW?: Travis delivers his catchiest hook on the album over the nocturnal piano trap instrumental of “I KNOW?”. His passionate delivery and the bounciness of the drums make this minimalist track peak Travis Scott, even tho it isn’t as complex and lush production-wise as the other songs on this album (8.4/10)
TOPIA TWINS (feat. Rob49 & 21 Savage): this is the most boring and generic track on UTOPIA. I think the whole “Jetski” hook is boring and feels like I’ve heard it before, the beat is alright but nothing too special and Rob49 has my least favorite feature on the album. His energetic delivery matched with his very horny lyrics about sucking toes mix in a very weird way that I’m not really sure I like. This song’s only saving grace is that both 21 Savage and Travis Scott deliver fire verses (6.5/10).
CIRCUS MAXIMUS (feat. The Weeknd & Swae Lee): I absolutely love the triumphant power that this track brings to the table and even tho I think the “Black Skinhead” inspired drums mix a little poorly with the background synths, The Weekend gives us one of the catchiest hooks on the album and I can’t help but nod my head to the Mike Dean synths on the back end of this banger (8.2/10).
PARASAIL (feat. Yung Lean & Dave Chapelle): “PARASAIL” is the most psychedelic track on UTOPIA. The drugged-out acoustic guitars and trippy vocal effects sound very ethereal, but my main gripe with this song is Dave Chapelle’s contribution to this track. He sounds like he's trying to be deep but if you pay attention to his words he isn’t really saying anything interesting. It’s an alright experience, but I would’ve kept this song as an interlude (6.9/10)
SKITZO (feat. Young Thug): Jesus Christ this song is boring. An entertaining Thugger feature and a creative beat switch can’t really save this song from sounding flat and forgettable. Travis does rap his ass off on the second part of this song, dropping some very entertaining lyrics. Also, the sample used during the outro sounds magical and it’s one of my favorite moments on the album. Not a bad song, but it gets boring and an it serves as good background
LOST FOREVER (feat. Westside Gunn): this is a top 5 song from the album. With production by The Alchemist, James Blake & Dom Maker and an adrenaline pumping verse from Westside Gunn; I knew this song was going tobe a highlight off the album since the moment I heard the unreleased version on YouTube a year ago. I love the percussion on the beat switch, James Blake’s dark pitched vocals during the first section and Travis Scott once again proving to us that he’s more then capable of being a skilled rapper as well. I struggle to find flaws in this song, and it’s my second favorite off the album (9/10).
LOOOVE (feat. Kid Cudi): originally made around 2014, love’s exotic production is both fun to listen to and incredibly cluttered & messy. The melodies and different sounds used are very creative but they mix like bulls in a china shop, very often completely drowning out the drums. Kid Cudi has a solid verse on the outro of the track tho (7.6/10).
K-POP (feat. Bad Bunny & The Weeknd): I don’t know if it’s my deep resentment of reggaeton or the absolutely flavorless cash grab of a song this is, but the moment I heard K-POP I feared for the album. Even tho the final product of the album was great, this song should’ve been left off. I hate the boring-ass copy pasted-ass AI generated-ass instrumental; I can’t stand Bad Bunny’s annoying voice and even a mid Abel feature didn’t help Travis think twice about releasing this. The only decent thing about this track are the bubbly synth plucks that add some diverse rhythm to the mix (3/10).
TELEKINESIS (feat. SZA & Future): another Kanye West throwaway, but I’m happy we finally got this super vibey atmospheric track. The pads, deep sub bass and reverbed vocals from Travis & Future make me feel like I’m floating, the distorted drop is soft but still powerful and even tho it can feel a little boring sometimes I’m still entertained by the catchy melodies. The best part about this song is SZA’s super passionate singing in her section: the instrumental intensifies, the reverb feels like very grand and this is easily one of my favorite features she’s ever done. The string outro is also a great touch. Very good track and beautiful contribution from SZA, but it feels a little too slow (8.3/10).
TILL FURTHER NOTICE (feat. James Blake & 21 Savage): Travis saves the best for last. This song is flawless. The Metro Boomin produced track proves two things: James Blake is the best feature on the album & Metro Boomin is one of the most talented trap producers of all time. The way James Blake’s absolutely stunning vocal become a part of the Heroes & Villains-esque instrumental is something truly magical, and the 21 Savage verse reminds me something off Savage Mode. Travis also has an amazing performance on his verse, and James Blake closes the album on a high note by letting the beat ride after delivering his final chorus (which is the best one on the album). I absolutely did not expect the album to end with me finding my new favorite Travis Scott song, but I was pleasantly surprised (9.5/10).
TOP 5 FAVORITE SONGS:
TILL FURTHER NOTICE (feat. James Blake & 21 Savage)
LOST FOREVER (feat. Westside Gunn)
FE!N (feat. Playboi Cart)
LEAST FAV SONGS: K-POP (feat. Bad Bunny & The Weeknd)/TOPIA TWINS (feat. Rob49 & 21 Savage)
FAVORITE BEAT: LOST FOREVER (feat. Westside Gunn)
FAVORITE PERFORMANCE: MY EYES/I KNOW?
"If I gave you a day in my life for a day in my eyes, don't blink" (from "MY EYES")
"She could wait on a rack, on some arabic shit" (from "MELTDOWN (feat. Drake))"
"I'm loyal, bitch, I got Ye over Biden" (from SKITZO (feat. Young Thug))"
Overall I think this might be Travis Scott’s best album second only to Rodeo. This album is experimenta yet remains loyal to his sound, has great rapping, amazing guest appearances, star-studded production and features Travis’s darkest soundscapes yet. I equate this album to a modern-day Marvel movie: very famous cast, great visuals, amazing world-building and a lot of fun; but not something you’d go to if you look for a complex plot. With UTOPIA Travis has further cemented himself as a top 3 trap artist of all time, and even if his lyrics aren’t anything special he manages to create a very high-quality experimental trap album for true Travis Scott fans to enjoy.