Friday, May 4, 2018

Post Malone - Beerbongs & Bentleys Review

In the interim period between Post Malone's abominable debut Stoney and this year's modest follow-up Beerbongs & Bentleys, the Texan upstart inadvertently stirred the pot in regards to his place in Hip-Hop. Forever discounting his position as a rapper, preferring the ubiquitous term musician, Malone outwardly denied Hip-Hop's ability to conjure any emotion besides jubilation. Beyond being flat out wrong, the irony is vast considering half his schtick relies on doleful relational missteps. The question has been apparent since 'White Iverson;' what exactly does Post Malone want to be? He says one thing yet embodies the other. He flatters Rock and Country - predominantly white genres he hasn't yet dabbled in - while mirroring the lavish lifestyle of, you guessed it, rappers. Like many Pop stars around him, Post Malone's personality is an inconsistent and hypocritical one. Often playing the victim role when his truly contentious opinions become contested, whether that's fabricated hardships or reverse racism, perhaps the most frustrating aspect of them all is his, admittedly predictable, evasion inside the music. Beerbongs & Bentleys addresses no comments, contemplates no concerns, and therefore strokes Malone's previous statement that "if you're looking to think about life, don't listen to Hip-Hop."

For the unconcerned masses though, that unavailingness is of no consequence. Like Stoney, August 26, or virtually any Trap-flavored Alternative R&B album making rounds in mainstream avenues, Beerbongs rarely features content worth caring about. On 'Better Now' and 'Over Now' Post Malone weeps an ex-lover's distancing. With 'rockstar' and 'Candy Paint,' flexing one's notoriety becomes the name of the game. And on 'Paranoid' and 'Psycho,' forged emotional distress lays claim to Malone's attempts at complexity. This trifecta makes up the bulk of Beerbongs, as the rapper rarely strays from accepting a formulaic approach. In fact, only the sole interlude, 'Jonestown,' offers artistic headway, finding Malone wading around in murky waters, debating a suicide byway of overdose. None of this is why people flock to Post Malone though. Legitimate cries for help or not, the populace only care for party anthems. That's a concept Danny Brown's Atrocity Exhibition delves into magnificently. But I digress. 

Post Malone's bread and butter lies not in his pleas for mental stability, but in catchy choruses meant to evoke and provoke. While the moody production hardly makes an impact - sometimes damaging songs that had potential like 'Same Bitches' and 'Sugar Wraith' with clutter - the crisp sounds that often rely on The Weeknd's nightmarish atmosphere compliments Malone's southern-tweaked slurring. Much of the highs can be found on the first half, a portion which includes successful lead singles like the 21 Savage-assisted 'rockstar' and the Ty Dolla $ign-assisted 'Psycho.' However, radio-friendly moments also arise in 'Takin Shots' and 'Rich & Sad,' with the former showcasing Malone's ability to flow, whereas the latter finds a palatable home for his aching screech. There's also 'Ball For Me' with Nicki Minaj. Rife with hi-hats, Minaj boastfulness, and a stringent energy, 'Ball For Me' finds Malone influenced by his work with Kanye West on 'Fade.' Unfortunately, that's about the time where meritable offerings in this 18-track affair subside. When Malone gets romantic, Beerbongs gets grating. 'Otherside,' 'Stay,' and 'Blame It On Me' represent a ruinous trio of sanctimonious solicitations that are both empty and flat.

If not for 'Candy Paint,' which features an ear worm of a hook and forward-thinking drums, the entire second half from 'Otherwise' onwards would be inadmissible. And considering 'Candy Paint's' positioning at track 17, I feel Post Malone acknowledged the deficiencies by implanting a catchy single to counteract them. Point being, no conventional Pop Rap artist churning out hits in 2018 requires 18 tracks over one hour to get their message across. Beerbongs, like most of its contemporaries, would've benefited from strict and drastic cuts towards any redundancies Post Malone tripped over. Given our streaming age that self-imposed limitation doesn't sit well with generating wealth or garnering popularity, as we've become all too familiar with through the Migos effect. In spite of Post Malone's dubious comments that contradict his own actions, Beerbongs & Bentleys could've been a satisfactory party album. Length, superfluity, and a fear of stepping outside the box prove its mediocrity.