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Travis Scott – “Highest in the Room” Single Review

Fresh off his extensive tour for his chart-topping album Astroworld, Travis Scott finally releases his highly anticipated new single “Highest in the Room.”  The song gives fans a small taste for what’s potentially in store for the star’s next project but instead of sounding like an expansion of his sound, it sounds like a reboot. Listeners already have an idea of what a Travis Scott song will sound like but “Highest in the Room” sounds like it would fit somewhere in Bird in the Trap Sing McKnight because of its conventional and straightforward style. 

The first few notes make it clear that the grand, psychedelic sound that influenced his last album is no longer present. Instead, something simpler takes its place in the form of looping plucky acoustic guitar strums and a drum pattern that sounds similar to his single from last year, “Butterfly Effect.” It’s not the most generic sounding beat but it’s also not the most exciting to hear Scott on, especially since his performance on it is sub-par.

Lyrically, the song features the standard for Scott.  “She fill my mind up with ideas/I’m the highest in the room” he bluntly hums on the chorus potentially referencing his now ex-girlfriend Kylie Jenner or more likely drugs. Drugs, girls, fame, and money have been staples of his music for his entire career but Scott sounds like he’s on autopilot here. The flow barely changes and many of his lines are hardly memorable. 

Scott may have been going through the motions but the standout moments on the track come from the production.  Primarily handled by Mike Dean along with OZ and Nik D, they know how to capture that “drugged-out” and dark aesthetic. Reminiscent of his work on albums like Yeezus and Scott’s own debut Rodeo, Mike Dean’s iconic sound can be instantly recognized on the outro.  The repeated piano note and the building synths draws listeners in, growing until the song ends. There’s no extra verse or a sudden change from this build-up.  It simply exists and while it is well done, it leaves me wanting more. 

It sounds like the track is really starting to go somewhere new or unexpected just as tracks like “STARGAZING” or “3500” had but as soon as that feeling arrives, it’s gone. The song is over and what sounded like a grand finale fell flat. It’s still the most interesting part of the almost 3-minute long track but unfortunately, it does not save it. The last few seconds of the song tease that something bigger and grander is coming but, unless the song is an interlude on his next project, it feels like a waste. 

Scott has always had songs like this on his albums so we can only hope that this minor misstep doesn’t represent what his sound will be going forward. Although, properly utilizing that outro wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

Track Rating: 6.5/10

Review by: Tyler Zucker