Travis Scott‘s new album Astroworld has finally arrived and just as much as it’s a continuation of the dark, moody sound he’s become known for, it’s also a celebration of a place that means a lot to him — AstroWorld.
An amusement park in Houston, Texas, the Six Flags AstroWorld was like other theme parks across the country. Whiplash-inducing rollercoasters, teens and young adults dressed in cartoon costumes, and overly-priced food. But it meant a lot to the people of Houston.
“They tore down AstroWorld to build more apartment space,” the artist said to British GQ about how its closing inspired the new album. “That’s what it’s going to sound like, like taking an amusement park away from kids. We want it back. We want the building back. That’s why I”m doing it. It took the fun out of the city.”
So in honor of Travis’ new album, we’ve paired 10 of its track with rides from AstroWorld. Buckle up and try not to throw up on anyone.
Welcome to AstroWorld.
“Stargazing” lulls you into a trance with its chilled out intro that makes you feel like you’ve smoked a little too much, and then hits a frantic pace that spikes your energy and sets you up for the rest of where Astroworld is gonna take you. It’s almost exactly like when you walked into AstroWorld back in the day, because you had one goal: to ride the Mayan Mindbender. Someone died on it in ’01 and you had to live that life after hearing about it. You built that courage up, got in that line, and you sat in total darkness before you were thrown around for what felt like an eternity — but was actually maybe a minute. Then you walked out of the darkness, back into the heart of the summer heat, and you were ready to take the whole fucking world on.
Big Tuck and Triple D are holding it down always. There’s a Dallas vs. Houston rivalry mostly created by suburban white folks but the cities don’t really care for it as Screw Tapes are as ubiquitous in Dallas as DSR tapes are in Houston. It’s all love in Texas and the game keeps going because we’re all along for the ride, just like the Dentzel Carousel.
XLR-8 sat you backwards and suspended you from the track and then threw your ass around at 35 miles an hour making you dizzy and confused. Which makes perfect sense with “Sicko Mode” because Drake is running around NOLA shooting videos, forgetting all about doing HAW 18, but still showing up on a Travis track.
Greezed Lightnin’ was the longest running ride at the park because going as fast as possible so you can go upside-down via loop remains the peak of roller coaster engineering. It’s never boring, it’s always fun. It’s a Stevie Wonder harmonica part played over and over while Travis Scott tells you over and over to enjoy what you got. It’s solid and everyone can see it’s secretly the best part of the whole album — especially Stevie.
Batman: The Escape hung your ass from the ground and then looped you around turns at speeds that made you legs hurt and your shoulders ache from the stress, all in the name of fun. Convincing you to put yourself in physical pain in the name of fun is some downright villainous shit. As the summer drags on the parties go longer into the night and the dancing gets wilder. It’s Travis, Quavo, and Takeoff who take the villainous crown, because your ass is gonna dance to “Who? What!” even though you’re not really sure why other than the fact that you’ve been told it’s fun.
“No Bystanders” hits hard but you get the feeling that something is missing from the track and maybe another take could have refined it. But its energy is high and you want more — a lot like the Ultra Twister. This ride flipped you around, spun you, took you forward, launched you backwards, and always left you wanting more.
Houston is a slow city. We don’t drive; the traffic and infrastructure doesn’t allow you to and we don’t quite cruise — we roll. Slab culture is all slow rolling down the block bumping whatever you felt and “Skeletons” feels like it’s ready made for those hot nights where the street lights all seem hazy and you’re not in a hurry to be anywhere. It would have fit perfectly with the old school 610 Limited train that slowly took you around when you needed to take a break from going full speed.
The Astroway was a skyride where you crammed into a car with some folks and just slowly passed over the whole park looking down and wondering what the hell was going on beneath you. I hope that’s how Thundercat, John Mayer, and Travis came up with this track. They just got together and tried to make sense of what the hell is going on in the world and tried to sum it up from their perspectives. I also assume they were high af because this track feels sky high.
“R.I.P. Screw” hits you with the understanding that the Astrodome isn’t long for the world and you’re standing where AstroWorld was. There’s a new theme park supposedly coming everyone is calling the new AstroWorld but it’s 45 miles away. The Eastside has been gentrified and they’re calling it EaDo but Screw lasts forever. Because in Houston every day is eternally June 27th and we’re forever riding the Texas Cyclone because things change but memories last forever.
This is Travis at his most on brand. It’s slurred, the beat is hazy yet driving, and you can see why it’s being pushed as the first video single. The Taz’s Texas Tornado was full of insane loops that thrilled, yet it was constantly broken down due to the weather. All you wanted to do was ride the Taz but you waited, and waited, and waited some more. When you finally got to ride it you went nuts and would only want to ride that ride. It’s a lot like how we waited for this album forever and then waited some more, and now it’s here. “Butterfly Effect” is never leaving the airwaves because this is all we’ve wanted and everything else is pointless.
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