Robyn gives us her verdict on how hip-hop heavyweight Post Malone negotiated the tricky third album as the artist muses on the highs and lows of fame and fortune.
Post Malone’s latest album Hollywood’s Bleeding was released last week. Post has been a major hit with crowds for a while now, with the majority of his songs remaining top of the charts for weeks at a time, meaning this album was highly anticipated by all. With 17 tracks it’s a fairly long album, but he manages to captivate his audience.
They say you can tell a lot about an artist by their third album – it will either be a great hit or a flop. Very few artists are capable of exciting fans after so many songs have been released. ‘Their old stuff was much better’ is a phrase all too common in the music world, particularly if an artist tries to change up their style a little too much. On this album, Post hasn’t changed it up too much; his tracks are still as recognisable as ever. The standout songs on Hollywood’s Bleeding are the ones which he had already released as singles – Wow., Sunflower, Goodbyes and Circles, the latter of which debuted at number one in the States and has done well over here too.
The title track is also the album opener and sets the scene. The intro is highly dramatic but works well juxtaposed with Post’s unique and soothing voice. The song explores the feeling of, despite everything falling apart, ‘we still call it home’ – it’s your typical angsty, “everything sucks but that’s the way it’s meant to be” tune. It introduces some of the themes that he goes on to explore throughout the album; love, loss, youth and fame.
'They say you can tell a lot about an artist by their third album – it will either be a great hit or a flop. Very few artists are capable of exciting fans after so many songs have been released'.
The album fits together well – it feels as though it is one complete narrative, however, if I wasn’t reviewing the album, I doubt I would have been able to maintain focus for the duration. Whilst Post’s music remains ever popular, I’m starting to question whether this formula is in danger of becoming a little overdone; the tracks all seem to have similar instrumentation which works for the narrative of the album, but leaves it feeling very repetitive. Luckily, Post made the decision to include many collaborations within the album, some of which are rather unusual. Some of the best responses I’ve seen to the album are the countless tweens on Twitter exclaiming how good Ozzy Osbourne is, and how Post Malone is such a great guy for making him famous – in reality, he has obviously been in the public eye for nearly double the amount of time Post Malone has been alive!
It’s because of the collaborations that the album remains interesting, as the different vocals and styles create some variety; Die for Me (ft. Future and Halsey) is saved by the other artists on the track, as it’s otherwise just repetitive and empty. Compared to other works by Post Malone, there are no hard-hitting themes explored – it’s just another track that has been manufactured to be overplayed on the radio. This is disappointing, as it leaves no need for reflection or thought. With the drama of the first few tracks, Hollywood’s Bleeding and Saint-Tropez, I was expecting to come away having more of an understanding of what goes on inside the brain of Post, who is admired by many for his lyrics and image. Realistically, it seems that the answer to that is not much – ‘how can I make an album that appears hard-hitting and angsty without much content at all?’.
'Compared to other works by Post Malone, there are no hard-hitting themes explored – it’s just another track that has been manufactured to be overplayed on the radio'.
On a slightly kinder level, another way I’ve heard it described is as “hangover music”. It is the sort of album you’d to listen to whilst laying on your bed, staring at the ceiling, regretting the night before –nice to enjoy in the background without being too heavy on your sore head! Whilst we’re reflecting on earlier regrets and trying to remember the night before, it also seems as though the album is a reflection on Post Malone’s recent experiences and confusion about the concept of fame. Now, it’s second nature to him – his song On the Road discusses how fame is almost like a regular day job, given he has done everything so often. His platinum selling records are reduced to bathroom furniture in the crude lyric: ‘got so many hits I can’t remember them all/ while I’m taking a shit, look at the plaques on the wall’, while for most of us, having a hit single is something we could only dream of. Meanwhile, Internet is a quick, reflective piece about the dangers of the internet and how we must be so careful how we portray ourselves. For Post, it is even more difficult, as everything he does is in the public eye so any negative comments could destroy him.
I have come to the conclusion that we’ll always have a sweet spot for Post; his singles are great and I enjoy them when they come on shuffle – Wow is a favourite for many and I’m glad that is what he ended the album on. The songs he has released as singles encompass a range of moods; whilst Sunflower and Circles discuss similar topics, the tones of the songs are very different. I’ve decided that one or two Post Malone songs are the optimum – anymore than this in one go and you begin to get bored and things seem to merge together due to their repetitive nature.
Despite this, Post Malone has successfully captivated his widespread fan base with his third album, with many singing the praises of Hollywood’s Bleeding, so I imagine we’ll be continuing to see his success and plenty more hits in the near future.