November 30, 2023

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“The Plan” by Travis Scott Review

At times, Travis Scott’s music has the feeling of a blockbuster film, fully decked out with star-studded feature lists and big-budget production. “Sicko Mode,” the maximalist, three-act anchor of 2018’s Astroworld, is a sci-fi trilogy with A-List co-star Drake. It was inevitable that one day, Travis would find himself writing an original song for one of the year’s most anticipated movies. He’s already been dabbling in sneakers, cereal, and hand sanitizer. When Christopher Nolan described Travis as the “final piece of a yearlong puzzle” to Ludwig Göransson’s score to Tenet in a GQ interview, it made perfect sense, while also making no sense at all. Of course Travis Scott would be the only person able to solve the mystery of Tenet. Who else could?

“The Plan” has no Stevie Wonder harmonica breaks or head-turning beat switches. Göransson and longtime collaborator WondaGurl do most of the heavy lifting on this industrial production—the beat begins with a cascading bassline and kicks before shifting to time-keeping hi-hats. The tension created by the rumbling bassline is only intensified when Travis hurriedly raps, “How I got my stripes and pendants, backin’ out in the street (Yeah).” String pluck-like synths sprinkled in during Travis’ verses keep your ears peeled to any other slight changes to the beat.

Travis doesn’t attempt to reach the new ground on “The Plan,” instead he raps over the droning production on autopilot, his songwriting seemingly more lifeless than ever, while his lyrics feel like loosely tied together non sequiturs. The cathartic rage that makes up Travis’ appeal is all but gone, and there’s hardly any emotion in his voice as he raps about doing whippets and running away from the cops. “The Plan” is the type of song meant to come on right as the screen fades to black before the credits—you probably won’t even notice when it starts playing.

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