Although Travis Scott's unexpected collaboration with Christopher Nolan's highly anticipated new film is burdened by its short length, it's still well thought out and a welcoming deviation from his typical sound.
For the first time in Christopher Nolan‘s filmography, there is a tie-in single for one of his films, in this case with Tenet. Described by Nolan as “the final piece of a yearlong puzzle”, Houston rapper Travis Scott has collaborated with the film’s composer Ludwig Göransson to produce ‘The Plan’. At first glance, it might seem like a strange match (Travis Scott on a theme song for a Nolan movie?) and despite the track not making any sense at this moment in time, with the film not being released yet, I can imagine that it will when fitted into the bigger picture.
To put briefly, ‘The Plan’ is three minutes of pounding bass, menacing synths, distorted background guitars, and Scott’s usual auto-tune crooning and eerie backing vocals. It’s not the typical trap banger that Scott’s psychedelic brand is accustomed to, instead aiming for a moodier atmosphere that you could markedly describe as ‘cinematic’. Lyrically, there are a few lines which potentially hint towards key moments within the film: ‘Last time I did the whippets, last time I live reverse’ and ‘Ride on land, Boeing jet, make it land’ are patent examples. But with all of this lyrical content and haunting production, the melody is fairly nonexistent; this isn’t Scott and Göransson’s fault though because I think the song is meant to fit, as Nolan aforementioned, into a grander scheme than it shows. On the other hand, it’s a very short listen which makes the lack of a hook more apparent and it feels like there could be more verses beyond the coda, as well as thicker instrumentals.
Judging the track on its own terms, what’s most impressive about ‘The Plan’ is how both Scott’s and Nolan’s visions surprisingly compliment each other well. Watching Tenet’s final trailer, which was released in support of the single, Scott’s accompanying vocals fit perfectly with the film’s disorienting aesthetic; it’s thrilling to hear Scott’s staccato delivery and watch operatives running into an auditorium or John David Washington cling onto the top of a fire truck at high speed. Crucially, this single could also provide clues as to where Scott is heading as an artist – the fact that this is his first foray into writing film music proves he isn’t afraid to deviate from his roots and flex his creative muscles further. It’s going to be exciting to see where Scott takes his next album (possibly titled Utopia) and I hope this isn’t just a one-off.
In hindsight, ‘The Plan’ could have been a quick commercial cash-in but it’s clear that Scott, Nolan, and Göransson have thought this out thoroughly and it will be intriguing to see what effect that the track will take within the film. Tenet still looks baffling and perplexing through its marketing as the film’s release is imminent, but, as the track’s title suggests, it’s all part of something bigger.
‘The Plan’ is available to listen to now via Warner Bros.