“Highest in the Room” was released on Oct. 4 and debuted at the No. 1 spot atop the Billboard Hot 100. This is Travis Scott’s second Hot 100 No. 1 after his hit song “Sicko Mode” was released in 2018. It doesn’t surprise me that the song debuted at No. 1 due to its massive anticipation. Ever since Travis Scott released his album “Astroworld” in 2018, he has become one of the biggest names in the Hip-Hop and Rap music industry. Scott’s signature trap bounce, echoing vocals, and memorable melodies are the very reasons why he has such a big name. “Highest in the Room” for sure lives up to Scott’s distinct sound but it also leaves me wanting more.
There is no question that “Highest in the Room” is an irresistible song just like any song Travis Scott releases. The song opens with psychedelic like trap sounds accompanied by quiet guitar chords. The sound of the opening reminded me a lot of the psychedelic sounds of the songs “Stargazing” and “Butterfly Effect” off of Scott’s album “Astroworld.” I almost had to check if I had accidently played a song off of “Astroworld.” The opening was a let down. I was anticipating Scott to create or at least explore new sounds that we have not yet heard from him. Besides my anticipations being wrong, I still was able to find different aspects of the song memorable.
Travis Scott was able to seamlessly create verses that establish a compelling melodic flow. “She fill my mind up with ideas. I’m the highest in the room,” Scott obscurely sings. At first I found the lyrics and overall flow of the song very engaging and enjoyable. Scott also adds in his signature lyrical-like punctuation at the ends of his verses as he yells things like “Let’s go,” “Straight up!”, and “Outta here.” These punctuations might sound odd to read in print, but they add a layer of dynamics to the sound, which it for sure needs.
As the song progresses, Scott does not choose to change up his dynamics nor the accompanying beats and instrumentals. In return, the song begins to feel slow and seems like it is going nowhere. So I was happily surprised when Scott teased a beat switch-up at the end of the song. Nearing the end, the beats of the song begin to transition; piano chords lead into techno-like organ chords that overpower the trap based melody. This moment in the song felt like the big transition I was waiting for but it simply left me wanting more.
I will give this to Travis Scott: he was able to create a song that sticks to his distinct sound. I also question if Scott is going to try to develop new sounds and genres in his music or simply stay as a one-dimensional hip-hop artist. Personally, I just think the anticipation for this song was a bit too much for what it delivered in the end. Most Travis Scott fans are probably not disappointed with the song but are left searching for what new sounds he is going to develop for his next album.