UTOPIA is finally here. Whatever was in the briefcase is now available for the world to hear.
As a Travis Scott fan since Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, I’ve been waiting for this to drop since it was first announced in quarantine. I was 17 when ASTROWORLD first dropped, and I remember being absolutely blown away from the first listen. That remains one of my favorite first listen experiences to this day.
That being said, lately Travis has been worrying me.
He’s turned in some great work since his return from the tragedy (“Raindrops”, “Trance”, “Wit Da Racks”), but a lot of it has been pretty underwhelming. “K-Pop” was carried by Bad Bunny and the Weeknd, and to me Travis didn’t add too much to that cut. His feature on “Aye” from the Pink Tape was subpar, so was “KRZY TRAIN” with Trippie, and listening to “Lock On Me” from Metro’s album made me feel like he was starting to become a shell of himself.
I did hear that he was expanding his sound and working with new artists, plus Mike Dean said that Trav was going back to his Owl Pharaoh roots, so maybe he’s holding onto the good stuff for his own album. As a huge fan of Travis (that serves as a disclaimer), I’m really hoping that’s the case.
I just got home from seeing the Circus Maximus movie, I go on Tidal and it’s not there? An hour passes and it’s still not up, so
I go onto Apple Music and use my 3 month trial. Let’s listen.
*P.S. Count your f**king days, Tidal.
Produced by Travis Scott, MIKE DEAN, WondaGurl, Noah Goldstein, & Jahaan Sweet
OH MY INTRO. I wasn’t expecting this. This is definitely throwing it back to the Travi$ Scott or Rodeo days. Anyone that says Flame can’t rap is out their SKULL after this.
Write a show by myself like I’m Chelsea Handler
Or write a series ’bout my bitches like I’m Kelsey Grammar
Nicknamed the jet Jayhawk ’cause it’s outta Kansas
You know it’s Spaldin’ in my top, I’m in my esperanza
Bars. So many other quotables that I could mention but that was probably my favorite one. This song is pure old school Travis and I am ALL THE WAY HERE FOR IT. Mike Dean outros are always a cherry on the top. PHENOMENAL first track.
2. THANK GOD
Produced by Travis Scott, Kanye West, Allen Ritter, BoogzDaBeast, WondaGurl & FNZ
So there’s a pulsing synth throughout the first part of the beat and it provides a great momentary contrast to the bright and bouncy beat. Kinda feels like the first half was an interlude/buildup to the second, because that’s where the beat switches (hopefully it’s the first of many on this album) and he kicks it into gear. He addressed the Grammy loss and even threw in a little shout out to his daughter, which was adorable. 2/2.
*P.S. I had no idea that was Kayycy on the hook. My apologies, sir.
3. MODERN JAM
Featuring Teezo Touchdown; Produced by Travis Scott, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, MIKE DEAN, & Jahaan Sweet
Okay… I’m questioning if Travis has the personality to carry a song with minimal production in the middle of his verses? The answer I’m getting personally is no (even though he makes up for it in the hook), and he’s got some cringey lines in here.
I like a bi girl on a bi-cycle
Then I bought a car, now she feel entitled
My dick so hard, pokin’ like the Eiffel
I like the shoutout he gave Guy-Manuel from Daft Punk right before that, but that segment drug the first verse down a bit for me. Second verse was cool, but Teezo gives great energy when his section comes up and does a good job of matching the beat & its tone.
It’s an old school dance rap type track with a boasty “hook” and honestly despite the problems I have with the first verse I like it. Catch me doing New Jack Swing dances to this in the club. Speaking of clubs, the visuals in the movie were cool too.
4. MY EYES
Produced by Travis Scott, Wheezy, WondaGurl, Vegyn, Buddy Ross, & Justin Vernon
Great sounding pads in the beginning. It sounds like he’s talking about the material things he has but the love he doesn’t have to compliment it, and SAMPHA comes in out of nowhere and leaves as quickly as he arrived. He still deserves his feature credit though.
Another beat switch. Love it. Trav says a LOT in this verse, going from (possibly, but probably) talking about Kylie to addressing the Astroworld tragedy.
I replay them nights, and right by my side, all I see is a sea of people that ride wit’ me
If they just knew what Scotty would do to jump off the stage and save him a child
The things I created became the most weighted, I gotta find balance and keep me inspired
I think he’s referring to the crazy atmosphere he created at his shows, and admitting he needs to have a sense of balance going forward so the events at the festival never happen again. Either way, everything really seemed to come together very well this song. Amazing two part track, but the second half really stole the show in a few different ways.
5. GOD’S COUNTRY
Produced by 30 Roc, Dez Wright, ZenTachi, Travis Scott, & 88-Keys
I can’t hear this song and not think about “SWING THE CAMERA!!!” reference to the movie.
I guess Kanye realized that people probably don’t really care to hear music from him at this time, so he slid this song over to Flame. This was supposed to be on Donda or Donda 2. In the context of this album I’m not sure how well it fits, and the childlike choir gets a little annoying, which I’m assuming that’s why it’s short. Ironically enough, the energy was on 10 for this on Trav’s part. I like that screaming thing he does at the end of some of the lines. That’s what keeps me coming back.
Produced by Travis Scott, Buddy Ross, E.Vax, John Mayer, Noah Goldstein, WondaGurl, & BNYX®
This track is all rhythm and a constant buildup. Travis is simply just matching the energy of the production. Also, this will be known as the song that made Trav his his head on the cymbals in the movie. LMAO.
You locked in the prequel
Meet me at the festie-viel
Yeah bro Imma need some time to think about meeting you at the festival.
I almost wanted to skip the track when that little high pitched sound came. Kind of abrasive, but it didn’t last for THAT long so I guess I’ll let it slide. I’m glad I didn’t though, because I would’ve missed Drake interluding into the next track…
Featuring Drake; Produced by BNYX®, Coleman, Boi-1da, Vinylz, Tay Keith, & Travis Scott
I told her, “I don’t got no cash”, and she said she could wait on a rack, on some Arabic shit
No he didn’t. No tf he did not.
That’s bar of the year dog. I didn’t even catch the could wait (Kuwait) part so I didn’t like it as much at first but when I realized it I laughed my ass off.
I melt down the chains that I bought from yo’ boss
Give a fuck about all of that heritage shit
Since V not around, the members done hung up the Louis, they not even wearing that shit
Don’t come to the boy ’bout repairing some shit
Don’t come to the boy about sparing some shit
You lucky that Vogue was suing, ’cause I would’ve been with the Wassas in Paris and shit
Does Drake diss everyone Travis is cool with? Dude has thrown shots at Kid Cudi, Ye, and now Pharrell?? What’s really going on??
Whatever, I’m just glad to see he’s back on demon time after that HORRIBLE excuse of a podcast episode. Honestly I kinda wanted this beat to be faster paced because the last time Travis rapped over a beat like this was “Aye” from the Pink Tape which wasn’t a great turnout. But I’m more than happy with what I got.
Man, the club ain’t been the same since we lost Mercedes (Straight up)
Man, the clique ain’t been the same since they lost the greatest (Nah, nah, nah)
One of the rare times I like the first half better. But it’s only by a little bit.
I wish I could listen to “Sicko Mode” for the first time again.
Featuring Playboi Carti; Produced by Travis Scott & Jahaan Sweet
I wanted to like this song more than I do. And if Carti was replaced by Sheck Wes I would’ve. But Carti drags the song down a bit for me.
I respect giving the rage scene more of a synth & atmospheric approach. I’m even starting to come around to repetitive hooks. Great beat & concept.
I heard the Carti adlib but then I thought I heard Future and Lil Baby afterwards. But nah, this is a new voice from Carti. I think he got overpowered by the beat. Travis did alright & held his own, but I honestly don’t need Carti’s segment. I’m not skipping this when I listen back to the album, but I’m also not gonna seek this track out very often.
I saw someone write on Apple Music that Playboi Carti “unspools his magnificent mumble over the buzzy FE!N”… whatever that means, right?
9. DELRESTO (ECHOES)
Featuring Beyoncé; Produced by Travis Scott, Hit-Boy, Allen Ritter, MIKE DEAN, Beyoncé, umru, & The-Dream
This played a couple times in the movie without they Bey feature, and both times I was thinking to myself, “This track is missing something.”
Now that I’m listening to the album, what was missing was her.
This is how you do house music, Drake. I like this song. It’s a great deviation from hip hop with the features & production, & Travis still gives it that edge it needed. Beyoncé’s version of rapping still kind of throws me for a loop though.
10. I KNOW?
Produced by OZ, Coleman, Travis Scott, & Buddy Ross
Probably Flame’s version of a TikTok song.
First listen, I really liked this song I still do, but I’ve noticed that I don’t really come back to it like that. It’s still very listenable and a good vibe, but compared to what else this album has to offer it’s not high on my priority list. I’m waiting for those TikToks though.
Update two days after writing this section: I can’t stop humming the hook.
11. TOPIA TWINS
Featuring Rob49 & 21 Savage; Produced by Travis Scott, Wheezy, Cadenza, Harry Edwards, Dez Wright, & Hoops
You may as well have gotten NBA YoungBoy on the song at that point.
I’m not even the biggest YB fan so I can’t believe I just said that. But I still enjoyed Rob49’s contribution and the back and forth interaction between him and Flame.
It’s basically tradition to have a 21 feature on a Trav album. It was kind of generic, but I really liked his adlibs behind Travis’ standout verse. Straight to the gym playlist like the rest of the album so far.
12. Black Skinhead Pt 2 (aka CIRCUS MAXIMUS) (aka Yung Lean’s boxing music)
Featuring The Weeknd & Swae Lee; Produced by Travis Scott, Noah Goldstein, Jahaan Sweet, WondaGurl, & MIKE DEAN
Tribal drums, doubled up vocals, him screaming in the background when the chorus hi-
Okay, fine. YES, this is a Kanye ripoff. I put what I put in the title for a reason.
But it’s still a cool track with infectious energy. And this was The Weeknd’s better contribution to the album. Despite the obvious similarities to its influences, it’s still enjoyable. Kanye’s one of Flame’s main influences, we all know this, so of course he’s gonna bite occasionally. I just wish we could’ve gotten a better outro.
Plus he already gave the man his flowers in Rome. The music’s good so cut him some slack.
Featuring Yung Lean & Dave Chappelle; Produced by Travis Scott, Jahaan Sweet, Buddy Ross, Vegyn, Noah Goldstein, & ANTHRO
“TURN THE CAMERA THIS WAYYYY!” Lol.
This is kind of an interlude track and reminds me of something from Testing by A$AP Rocky, but I like the melancholy but triumphant nature of it. Dave Chapelle giving motivational affirmations instead of hilarious monologues, and Yung Lean did his thing. Not sure what Travis added to this, but like I said it was still an okay interlude track.
Featuring Young Thug; Produced by Boi-1da, Jahaan Sweet, Coleman, Sevn Thomas, Nik Dean, Slim Pharaoh, Nami, Travis Sayles, & WondaGurl
He’s going back to the same tone he gives in the mediocre features he delivered recently, but the adlibs, the chorus, and Thugga’s feature gets me through the first part just fine. It kinda reminds me of “Let It Fly” with Lil Wayne which I like.
Crazy change of pace when he starts actually spitting.
Seen the top ten pen list, I don’t even know how they could pin this
Knowin’ that I’m the human Pinterest
Need true love but I know true love’s like a friendship
But even Titanic had an endin’
I rock the boat with ice so expensive
Hair long, not no extensions
Goddamn. I LOVE this segment.
Another beat switch. And ANOTHER one. This whole track is FLAME.
Completely unpredictable song, which makes sense for a song called “SKITZO”. Not just that, but I’m loving the unpredictability we’re getting on this whole album. And this song really showcases the element of surprise as good as any. A highlight among many.
15. LOST FOREVER
Featuring Westside Gunn; Produced by Travis Scott, Dom Maker, James Blake, & The Alchemist
Yo. TRAVI$ SCOTT is alive and well on this. Him and WSG ripped that beautiful Alchemist beat, switch up and all. I’m glad he added one after previewing the regular song at the DIOR event. And speaking of-
Fashion week, I almost tripped two bitches (Ah)
Don’t do that bro. Lol. Alchemist can do no wrong at this point as we all know. ANOTHER highlight.
Featuring Kid Cudi; Produced by Travis Scott, Pharrell Williams, & Buddy Ross
Another song that derives from the people that came before him and inspired him (speak of the devil). The beeping noise even sounds EXACTLY like the one from “Say You Will” from 808s and Heartbreak. But damn. That’s how you know they laid a great foundation because this sounds really good. I’d actually even say that Trav should’ve had this song on his own because of how he stole the show with his second verse. Not that Cudi did bad, but he got the Nav on “YOSEMITE” treatment.
This dude DOES NOT MISS. The only thing that came close to a skip so far was “FE!N” and even THAT wasn’t bad. I’m kind of in awe at this point.
Featuring Bad Bunny & The Weeknd; Produced by BNYX®, Boi-1da, Illangelo, Jahaan Sweet, & DVLP
Alright. As soon as I say there are no skips on the album he puts this on there. Nice track and all, but the album doesn’t need this song. I’ll definitely enjoy it in the clubs, but in the context if the album and listening to it on my own time, SKIP.
Featuring SZA & Future; Produced by Travis Scott, BoogzDaBeast, Wallis Lane, Kanye West, Jahaan Sweet, Nabeyin, & Hudson Mohawke
I knew this was gonna be the best song on the album walking out the theater. I was not familiar with “Future Sounds” before seeing the movie, but it set a solid groundwork for what this song ended up being. I guess him having Future on the song is a nod to the song’s original title.
All that aside, this song is nothing short of angelic. Kanye & Mike Dean have done it again. The synthestra sounds amazing, both of Future’s verses are great, Travis provides a complete anthem of a chorus…
Might as well turn up now, He gon’ pop up unannounced
To the trumpets, do you like the way it sounds?
And did I mention SZA sounds angelic too?
To me, this is as good of a Travis Scott song as we’ll ever hear. I felt that way coming out of the movie and still do playing it through my speakers.
Mark my words: when people look back on Flame’s best songs, with time, this will be on most people’s top 10 list.
Would’ve sounded a WHOLE lot better after “LOOOVE”. I swear man, “K-POP” did NOT need to be on this album.
19. TIL FURTHER NOTICE
Featuring James Blake & 21 Savage; Produced by Metro Boomin, James Blake, & Travis Scott
Y’all know that song off an album that isn’t bad by any means but you don’t go back to because it comes right after an ABSOLUTELY AMAZING track? Yeahhh… this is that for me.
21 comes back and gives us a more personal verse, talking about a past flame (no pun intended) and explaining where he messed up. Travis’ verse was cool, again there’s gonna be speculation he’s talking about Kylie but I’m not sure. And James Blake hops on the chorus.
The hook kinda of doubles as a genuine question to the girl, but also as a question to the listeners, since it’s the last song. Like, what are you going to listen to now that it’s over?
Where will you go now?
Now that you’re done with me
Idk. I see why he closed the album with this, but I would’ve been perfectly fine if it ended with the track before this.
Maybe this is premature, but this was one of my favorite first listens of all time. The way it was first presented without features is a tactic Travis has been using since Birds, and it’s made me listen to other albums that way as well. The feeling you get from hearing a surprise feature cannot be put into words. I’m surprised more people don’t do it.
As far as the album itself? How much time you got?
When thinking about this album in relations to the last one, the Homer Simpson path meme comes to mind. If ASTROWORLD was the rainbow & peaceful side, UTOPIA is definitely the dark and eerie counterpart. This was not going to be for the crowd that was drawn to Flame because of ASTROWORLD. “MODERN JAM”, “SIRENS”, and the first half of “MELTDOWN” saw Travis return to his evil sounding rap roots, which is my favorite kind of sound from him.
Speaking of rap roots, “LOOOVE”, “LOST FOREVER”, “HYAENA”, and “SKITZO” (among others) put all the people that don’t think Travis has a strong pen game to shame.
The production takes on the dark and sinister imagery, which is a result of him producing more songs and bearing more of the workload behind the boards (“HYAENA”, “SIRENS”, “FE!N”, “DELRESTO”, “LOOOVE”, etc). The use of synthesizers is very well showcased thanks to Mike Dean, and there are beat switches and changes of pace aplenty to keep the listener on their toes the entire experience.
I could name so many other things, but for the sake of the review I’m gonna sum it up quick: UTOPIA is Travi$ Scott’s potential being fully realized, and I had so much fun watching the movie in the theater and listening to the album in the car afterwards.
I don’t think this is a bad thing, but this album does lean a lot on its influences. It’s very Yeezus reminiscent, especially tracks like “LOOOVE”, “SIRENS”, and “CIRCUS MAXIMUS”. The latter is probably the worst offender, even paying homage in the lyrics. My take on it is that everything was inspired by something, and if it makes for a good listening experience, why hate?
This is more of a personal gripe, but I didn’t need “TIL FURTHER NOTICE” at the end of the album. I felt that it was appropriate to close the album with “TELEKINESIS” since it was the last song in the movie and, well, because of how good it is.
As far as features go, I wish Sheck Wes’s verse in “FE!N” didn’t get cut. I know everyone’s eating up Carti’s contribution (just like they do with everything else he does) and I can appreciate he brought something new to the table, but it wasn’t my thing. 21’s feature on “TOPIA TWINS” was a little generic, and Kid Cudi on “LOOOVE” was a little unnecessary for the most part. And GET “K-POP” TF OFF THIS ALBUM!!
This album left me blown away. I don’t remember the last time I listened to an album where my least favorite tracks are songs that I’m still going to listen to regularly.
The fan in me is SO CLOSE to just giving the album a 5 and calling it a day. But alas, even the fan in me knows that this album was not perfect. This was my experience at the end of the day, so I’m gonna give it a 4.75 out of 5 and prepare myself for the dick riding allegations.
- THE WHOLE GODDAMN ALBUM – “TELEKINESIS”
- “telekinesis” in lowercase
Least Favorite Tracks (even though none of them are bad songs)”