LAME OR FLAMES…
ASTROWORLD is Travis Scott’s third studio album, following his 2016 release Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight. The album is titled after Six Flags Astroworld, a popular Houston amusement park that was demolished in 2005. In a 2017 interview with GQ, Travis lamented on the park’s prominence in Houston and its impact on the 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.”
Travis initially confirmed the title in a May 2016 show, stating that it would follow BITTSM. Almost two years later, he released a promotional single for the album – “Watch,” – which features guest vocals from Lil Uzi Vert and Kanye West. However, the song did not make the album, with his platinum single “Butterfly Effect” appearing instead.
Leading up to the announcement of the album’s release date, gold inflatable Travis Scott heads popped up in various locations, including right here in Salt Lake. (Only kidding)
— U92 SLC (@U92SLC) July 31, 2018
The inflatable head ended up being an integral part of the album’s artwork, which was announced on July 31st, days before the album’s release.
Here’s my list from least flames to most flames. Song info provided by Genius.
NO. 17 – “ASTROTHUNDER”
The song’s title seemingly references Thundercat, owing to his distinctive basslines and also adding to his long list of high profile collaborations.
NO. 16 – “WHO? WHAT!” (Feat. Takeoff & Quavo)
Fresh off that collaboration album Huncho Jack two of the Migos members team up on one of the final tracks.
NO. 15 – “HOUSTONFORNICATION”
The title of the song is a portmanteau of “Houston” and “fornication” which essentially refers to the act of having sex before marriage. The song serves as an ode to Scott’s hometown of Houston and the reckless and potentially harmful activities his young self would have engaged.
The title is also a reference to the popular song “Californication” by Red Hot Chili Peppers.
NO. 14 – “5% TINT”
Referencing a now classic line by Houston legend Slim Thug on his biggest hit “Still Tippin’.”
NO. 13 – “COFFEE BEAN”
The tracks lyrical content revolves around Scott’s initially tumultuous relationship with his girlfriend and baby mother Kylie Jenner. He discusses the backlash and controversy that has come as a result of their relationship. The song is one of his most personal yet, detailing many of his inner fears and insecurities.
NO. 12 – “WAKE UP” (Feat. The Weeknd)
It is likely that Scott’s and The Weeknds relationships with Kylie Jenner and Bella Hadid served as inspiration for the song.
NO. 11 – “NC-17” (Feat. 21 Savage)
NC-17 is a term used in the American film rating system, meaning children under the age of 17 are not permitted to watch a certain movie. The reason the song is titled after this rating is due to the explicit lyrics of the track. This also relates to the theme of ASTROWORLD sounding like a theme park, as many theme park rides and attractions have age restrictions.
NO. 10 – “CAN’T SAY” (Feat. Don Toliver)
Together, Scott and Toliver trade stories of getting high and pulling women.
NO. 9 – “YOSEMITE” (Feat. NAV & Gunna)
The track is named after Yosemite National Park, which is in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains.
NO. 8 – “SKELETONS” (Feat. Tame Impala, Pharrell Williams & The Weeknd)
Scott and company cultivate an ethereal, serendipitous experience. This is established within the refrain, which references the feeling of numbness in the form of “floating in time”.
NO. 7 – “R.I.P. SCREW” (Feat. Swae Lee)
On “R.I.P Screw” Scott pays homage to deceased Houston hip-hop legend DJ Screw. Screw was integral to the development of the chopped and screwed DJ technique, which helped pioneer the Houston hip-hop scene. Screw died in 2000 of a suspected lean overdose. To pay respects to Screw, Scott is both literally and metaphorically slowing down on the track in dedication to him.
Scott also pays homage to Houston rap icons Big Moe, E.S.G., and Big Pokey and their 2000 track “Maan!!,” by following their same pattern of saying “Man” at the end of each line in his second verse. The three artists were founding members of Screwed Up Click, a hip-hop collective led by DJ Screw.
NO. 6 – “CAROUSEL” (Feat. Frank Ocean)
An experience of spending the day under the influence of a variety of drugs.
NO. 5 – “NO BYSTANDERS” (Feat. Sheck Wes & Juice WRLD)
The no bystanders chains Scott wore during Rodeo-era signify that he doesn’t want anyone standing around at his concerts and wants his fans to bring the rage.
NO. 4 – “STARGAZING”
A song describing the experience of an unpredictable psychedelic trip. Scott’s delivery switches between his regular cadence and an auto-tuned falsetto. The song title could be a reference to Houston’s iconic ties to astrological exploration, with NASA’s Mission Control Center being located in his hometown.
NO. 3 – “STOP TRYING TO BE GOD” (Feat.
A story about staying true to your roots and not developing a “God complex,” as described through the chorus.
NO. 2 – “SICKO MODE” (Feat. Swae Lee & Drake)
“Sicko Mode” refers to Scott and Drake’s work ethic, showing they’re a cut above the competition by going sicko (beast) mode.
NO. 1 – “BUTTERFLY EFFECT”
The “butterfly effect” is the concept that small causes can have large effects. Scott is also using a double-entendre with “butterfly” wherein as he refers to the doors on his Lamborghini car. Scott describes moving to his new life, how great it is, and how he could never go back to the old one.
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