It is no stretch to say that Travis Scott is one of the most divisive artists at work in today’s musical landscape. His signature blend of intoxicated sex-jam filtered through syrupy autotune so sticky you can feel it is an addictive ambrosia to some. For others, it is a relentless torture on par with nails on a chalkboard. Regardless of which camp you align yourself with, Scott’s sound is everywhere now; a slurred yearning that has trickled its way into all manner of places.
So it is unsurprising that the birds in the trap have flown all the way over to the world of indie-pop, taking roost in the studio of none other than first-wave chillwaver Toro y Moi. On Friday, the alternative mainstay announced Boo Boo, his fifth album proper, a record that his release states was inspired by “Travis Scott, Daft Punk, Frank Ocean, and Oneohtrix Point Never,” going on to add that “I recognized that the common thread between these artists was their attention to a feeling of space, or lack thereof.”
Even if Toro hadn’t name-checked his inspirations behind his latest, lead single “Girl Like You” makes it pretty clear: homeboy has been sesh-ing the work of Scott hard. So deeply are his sonic flourishes felt that it would even be fair to say the song is the greatest Travis Scott track of the year; the way Toro casts off asides like “from the bottle no cup” and melts phrases such as “using up all the lifelines” into a descending scale could be mistaken for work Scott actually composed himself.
Yet for so liberally employing his influences’ traits, never once does “Girl Like You” feel like a rip-off. This is largely due to Toro himself, who remains such a doe-eyed innocent that any comparison to Scott on the lifestyle front would be laughable. The aforementioned “from the bottle no cup” is in reference to a bottle of San Pellegrino he shares with his lover, which should say all there needs to be said about his idea of ‘getting turnt.’
In the end, it’s his naïveté that makes this track work. Toro’s plea is entirely in earnest; he’s “dreaming a connection,” not looking for a quick love in the club. He has effectively subverted the listener’s expectations from the get-go; utilizing the elements of an autotuned bedroom-seduction and transforming it into a yearning paean for the kind of love that leaves you with butterflies in your stomach, “smiling without thought.” In so doing, it is the freshest, most natural Toro has sounded in years. Waiting patiently for the T. Scott remix.
Boo Boo is out on July 7 via Carpark Records.