It’s nearly midnight. Alone, I stand on the L train platform at Union Station, this alone is an experience in itself, headed East towards Brooklyn.
A wave of hot air rushes onto the platform as lights hug the tunnel wall. A train comes to rest and a hydraulic sigh opens the sliding doors. A head pokes out of a window. With a yawn as heavy as the bags under his eyes, the conductor flips the switch to close the sliding doors. A crescendo of footsteps hammering down the stairs summons another flip of the switch for the doors to reopen. At this late hour, the train runs every half hour. Exhausted, the patrons wave to the conductor for the kind gesture.
I fastened my AirPods with the same level of attentiveness that one triple checks the seemingly loose lowering lapbar on a roller coaster. I closed my eyes, relaxed my shoulders on the cold plastic and visualized myself in Astroworld. Once again, the doors closed and as we pushed forward into the tunnels, STARGAZING’s drums commenced.
(Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)
I thought I was three or four songs into the album. I was in fact still only on the second track, “CAROUSEL.” Reminiscent of the steady clicking of an ascending roller coaster, Astroworld was indeed a ride.
It follows the very rises, peaks and valleys of an amusement park. Songs where you know the drop will make you put your hands up while bouncing to the beat. And lows where The Weeknd has you swinging to each line gripping the safety rail so you don’t get thrown into your feels.
On this journey Travis Scott invites a range of artists from widely recognized to the bubbling voices rising from the underground scene to keep Astroworld “lit.” A Tay Keith adlib ushers in a Drake verse that electrifies “SICKO MODE.” Underground phenom and Cactus Jack affiliate, Sheck Wes, elevates “NO BYSTANDERS” in between Travis’ bars, while The Weeknd’s crooning voice dips you into your feels on the following track, “SKELETON.”
Each song guarantees you will have a different reaction each time you listen to them. It’s no different than stepping off the platform and into the train after midnight, you never know what to expect.
Listen to Astroworld below:
ASTROWORLD, an album by Travis Scott on Spotify