Days Since “UTOPIA”

Image via Simone Joyner/Getty Images


By: Hunter Bonarparte, Arts and Entertainment Coordinator 


Travis Scott’s new album came at an interesting time. In the midst of thousands of students in the AUC packing their bags for the new school year, Scott released an album that broke the thin yet consistent layer of stress that veils the final days of summer. Its name, “UTOPIA”, represents the album’s inventive content which both dazzles and stills the listener.


“UTOPIA” came after the ASTROWORLD tragedy, which took the lives of ten young concert attendees. The controversy has been looming over Scott’s name for almost two years. 


The severity of the event, characterized by the loss of life due to compression asphyxia largely blamed on Scott’s extreme approach to live events, caused many people to question whether Travis would ever return to the dominant position he was in prior to ASTROWORLD. Perhaps even Travis himself questioned this.


However, there is no questioning the quality of this new album. It wasn’t perfect, but nevertheless proved to be a breath of fresh air in a stale musical atmosphere.


In the tracklist are the standouts “MELTDOWN”, “DELRESTO (ECHOES)” and “FE!N” – with features by Drake, Beyoncé, and Playboi Carti. Deeper into the album are gems such as “SIRENS”, “I KNOW ?” and “TELEKINESIS”. “TELEKINESIS” has a beautiful feature by SZA, highlighting one of the best features of the album, which is its cohesive and tasteful feature selection that doesn’t shy away from highlighting the extent of the featuring artists’ abilities.


“HYAENA”, the first track on “UTOPIA”, begins with a 1970s rock sample consisting of bright yet robotic proclamations that give indication of the pleasurable strangeness that’s to come. This is the sort of moment where a listener often finds themself appreciating the guts behind a placement rather than the sound itself. These incantations cut into a heavy, multi-layered drumbeat, the drop that every listener is waiting for when listening to the first track of a long-awaited album.


The first track is followed by “THANK GOD”, “MODERN JAM”, and “MY EYES”. They alternate between haunting and motivating, reflective and surprising. 


In “MY EYES”, Scott includes a multi-verse acknowledgment of the deaths that occurred at ASTROWORLD. Those who are reflexively dubious of famous people and their utilization of product to mask any possible wrongdoing on their part are not to be ignored, but the softer sides of most should appreciate the heartfelt appeal. 


On “MODERN JAM”, there are several verses sung in multiple accents and registers by Teezo Touchdown. 


Since appearing on Tyler, The Creator’s “CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST”, he’s given features on for artists ranging from WESTSIDE BOOGIE to Don Toliver.


Touchdown’s verse is a mix between Julian Casablancas and Freddie Mercury, producing a very punk rock-esque sound that smoothly transitions into a lower lull. It goes without saying that this is not something commonly done in mainstream rap – all too often it seems as if this urge to break the mold is denigrated as being “weird” or “too much”. Without being overly congratulatory, words like “original” or “innovative” seem more fitting as descriptors.


In Travis Scott’s “UTOPIA”, you can actually hear how this is the culmination of his previous albums, you feel the willingness to break through musical barriers previously erected. The tragic context surrounding Scott and his brand as an artist and public figure is not avoidable. However, the mind is soothed in the moments spent listening to UTOPIA, and a maturing artist’s open-minded new installment shines in the listener’s mind.


Copy Edited by: Auzzy Byrdsell, Editor in Chief