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Astroworld is Travis Scott's third studio album that was released on August 3, 2018 by Cactus Jack Records, Epic Records and Grand Hustle Records.

The album debuted at #1 the Billboard 200 chart with 537,000 album-equivalent units, of (which 270,000 were pure sales) and was certified platinum by the RIAA. It was also nominated for "Best Rap Album" at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards.

TracklistingEdit

  1. Stargazing 4:31
  2. Carousel 3:00
  3. Sicko Mode 5:13
  4. R.I.P Screw 3:06
  5. Stop Trying To Be God 5:38
  6. No Bystanders 3:38
  7. Skeletons 2:26
  8. Wake Up 3:52
  9. 5% Tint 3:16
  10. NC-17 2:37
  11. Astrothunder 2:23
  12. Yosemite 2:30
  13. Can't Say 3:18
  14. Who? What! 2:57
  15. Butterfly Effect 3:11
  16. Houstonfornication 3:38
  17. Coffee Bean 3:29

Album BackgroundEdit

The album title was announced in May of 2016 and the album was initially teased to be released in 2017.

The album title is named after the defunct theme park Six Flags AstroWorld, which was located in Houston, Texas prior to its closure in 2005.

In a 2017 interview with GQ, Scott spoke on the title of the album: "They tore down AstroWorld to build more apartment space. 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."

Scott described the album as a continuation of his 2015 debut album, "Rodeo", stating: "My whole idea was, if you locked into Rodeo, you definitely locked into Astroworld. I'm just finishing the saga I started on my first album. This is supposed to be my second album. I had to go quick, because like I said, I had all these ideas, I just had to get off real quick, but now I'm finally back home with Astroworld."

RecordingEdit

Recording for "Astroworld" took place between 2016 and 2018, with Travis Scott posting updates through social media.

In July 2018, it was reported that Scott was completing the album in Hawaii with a variety of recording artists and producers, such as Mike Dean, Nav, Frank Dukes, Sonny Digital, WondaGurl, Sheck Wes, Gunna, Wheezy, Don Toliver, Allen Ritter and Amir "Cash" Esmailian.

CompositionEdit

"Astroworld" is a hip hop album, incorporating elements of trap and psychedelic music.

The song "Stargazing" has been described as a "psychedelic trap" song while "Coffee Bean" is said to inhabit "old school hip hop territory with a blissed-out funk guitar."

The song "Skeletons" has been labelled as "kaleidoscope-pop" by Pitchfork that draws lyrical influences from Kanye West.

Album ArtworkEdit

The album cover was shot by American photographer David LaChapelle. It features a giant golden inflatable of Travis Scott's head as the entrance to an amusement park, with children, parents, and park employees in front of it.

A second album cover features the same amusement park entrance at nighttime, replacing the family-friendly features with adult-themed content.

On August 1, 2018, transgender model Amanda Lepore (who is a known collaborator with LaChapelle) questioned why she had been excluded on the final version of the second cover. LaChapelle later responded, stating that it was due to Lepore upstaging the other models on the cover.

In September of 2018, TMZ reported that featured artist Frank Ocean filed a cease and desist against Scott to have his verse on "Carousel" removed due to disagreements over the song's sound.

Ocean soon issued a clarification, stating: "I think the song sounds cool [...] I also approved it before it came out so the cease and desist wasn't about 🔊 it was about 🏳️‍🌈. Me and Travis resolved it amongst ourselves weeks ago. 💖"

Ocean's use of the pride flag was seen to be a reference to the controversial removal of Lepore from the cover.

Chart PerformanceEdit

In the United States, "Astroworld" debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with 537,000 album-equivalent units, which included 270,000 pure album sales.

The album scored the second-largest first week of the year, behind Drake's album, "Scorpion" and the second-largest pure album sales week of the year, behind Dave Matthews Band's album, "Come Tomorrow."

The album earned 349.43 million streams in the first week, marking fifth largest streaming week ever. It also serves as Scott's second number-one album in the United States.

Following the album's release, all 17 tracks on the album entered the US Billboard Hot 100, including "Sicko Mode" (at #4) and "Stargazing" (at #8), which made Scott the fourth act to have debuted multiple songs in the chart's top 10 simultaneously.

The album earned 205,000 album-equivalent units in the second week, staying at number one.

On December 3, 2018, "Astroworld" returned to the number-one spot on the Billboard 200, earning 71,000 album-equivalent units, almost four months after its initial release.

By the end of 2018, it has earned over 1,985,000 album-equivalent units in the US, with over 464,000 being pure sales, marking the second best-selling hip hop in pure album sales of the year, behind only Eminem's album, "Kamikaze."

On January 31, 2019, the album was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) with two million album-equivalent units in the United States.

In Australia, "Astroworld" opened atop the ARIA Albums Chart, becoming Travis Scott's first number-one on the chart.

Two tracks from the album, "Sicko Mode" (at #7) and "Stargazing" (at #10) charted in the top ten of the ARIA Singles Chart, marking Scott's first top ten songs in the country.

In Canada, the album moved 27,000 album-equivalent units in its opening week. It serves as Scott's first number-one album in the country. In the second week, it earned 13,000 album-equivalent units, marking the second straight week at the top of the Billboard Canadian Albums.

In the United Kingdom, the album debuted at number three on the UK Albums Chart, becoming the rapper's first top ten album on the chart.

As well as the album, the three tracks "Sicko Mode" (at #9), "Stargazing" (at #15), and "Carousel" (at #29) charted in the top 40 of the UK Singles Chart, while the lead single "Butterfly Effect" previously reached number 57 on the chart.

Critical ReceptionEdit

"Astroworld" was met with critical acclaim by critics.

At Metacritic, the album received an average score of 85, based on 19 reviews.

Jordan Bassett of NME gave Astroworld a perfect rating, praising the album's guest appearances and noting "Stop Trying to Be God" as "a record of extraordinary prowess", while describing "Coffee Bean" as "a moment that encapsulates the scope and ambition of Astroworld."

Bassett concluded: "This is the sound of a musician who has worked to forge an entire world, an empire, around himself – we can peer in, but from afar, guessing at his motives and life behind the velvet rope."

With similar acclaim, Kassandra Guagliardi of Exclaim! concluded that the album "shows the evolution of Travis Scott as an artist and is his most refined, imaginative, and rage-worthy project yet."

Roisin O'Connor of The Independent described the album as "a futuristic record with virtually flawless production, that lingers on the mind long after the final track" and labelled it Travis Scott's "most career-defining work to date."

For Consequence of Sound, Wren Graves wrote that Astroworld is "an album full of infectious flows and atmospheric beats."

Thomas Hobbs of Highsnobiety stated that the album "will be remembered as the moment Travis Scott produced a piece of music worthy of the riots he is capable of inducing. It's a wildly entertaining circus ride. Travis Scott desperately needed a great album to justify the hype, and with Astroworld, he just might have a classic."

Grant Rindner of The Line of Best Fit saying, "Scott could have easily made another distorted, debaucherous project like his previous two albums, but by emphasizing his vocal performances and finding the best middle ground he ever has with his bevy of superstar collaborators, he's made Astroworld a theme park worth revisiting whether you came in as a stan or a skeptic."

Larry Fitzmaurice of Pitchfork labelled Astroworld as Scott's strongest album to date, stating that "his skill as a curator helps sculpt a sticky, humid, psychedelic world with dazzling production and odd pleasures at every turn", although he considered Scott to "play ringmaster to his neon-decayed circus of sound rather than become the main attraction."

Andrew Barker of Variety said, "At 17 tracks, Astroworld is not without filler—the 21 Savage feature "NC-17" is tiresomely sophomoric, while the tracks "Can't Say" and "Houstonfornication" "never really take shape—but rarely does the album feel lazy or uninspired."

For Rolling Stone, Christopher R. Weingarten complimented the first half of the album, though considered the second half to be weaker in comparison, saying: "Unfortunately, Scott doesn't keep the envelope pushing up for the whole album: a seven-song stretch in the back end is vintage Travis with its zoned-out, hypnotic throb. However, the rest marks the most interesting music of his career, Scott no longer just looking the part of a brilliant artist, but sounding like it too."

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