[dropcap size=big]W[/dropcap]hen “White Iverson” first arrived, it changed house parties forever. Although some loved it and others hated it, one thing was undeniable. It was a banger. To this day it hypes me up. However, since its release, Post Malone’s stock plummeted. That is, in my eyes. While his popularity grew, my initial praise slowed. This is simply who I am. If people gas an average artist too much, even if I enjoy their work, I play devil’s advocate. I’m sure it’s annoying at times. I find it nonetheless necessary. Following Malone’s debut album, Stoney, his appeal exploded. Due to its December release, many slept on the project. I heard it. I didn’t like it. As a whole, Post’s debut featured countless, boring pop-trap blends and party clichés. Listening through its entirety was a chore. It had a few highlights. None great enough to thrill me, though.
Conversely, this follow-up’s lead single blew me away. “rockstar” gave Post Malone an essential pop smash. Despite enjoying “I Fall Apart,” “Congratulations,” and “No Option” from Stoney, they have a medial artistic ceiling. And, just so you know, I rocked with “I Fall Apart” before it blew up. Post’s heartfelt vocals were indeed compelling. Though, bunched with cookie-cutter pop rap, it faded into the noise. This time around, Malone cleans up the clutter, adding more breadth to his art. I had faith in beerbongs & bentleys. Even when asked about it after his debut dropped, the title struck me as fitting. It’s his thing, his Twitter name, his aesthetic in a nutshell. If Post Malone didn’t go hard on this album his 15 minutes would soon elapse. For the most part, he delivers improved song structures, melodies, and hits. At first, this album bored me to tears.
Yet with more listens, Post’s hooks nested in my brain. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is still up for debate, if I’m being honest. I don’t plan on continuing to listen to beerbongs much in the future. But there is certainly pop charm pumping through this sophomore effort. Malone varies his genre-breaking styles across b&B. The most noteworthy example being “Over Now.” I love his aggression here. “Over Now” is a cutthroat goodbye to an ex-lover, pushing Post into a new phase in both his life and artistry. He needs more rock-tinged tracks like this, if you ask me. His vocals pack emotion and clarity never before heard from the 22-year-old. Unfortunately, it’s the only time true intensity appears. Throughout the majority of this album, Post sing-raps about cars, jewelry, faceless women. Ya know, the usual. I expect a lack of substance. However, it doesn’t hold my interest.
beerbongs & bentleys is not without its flaws. At 18 tracks in length, Post falls into the stream-trolling trend like many of his contemporaries. One of which I must bring up. Swae Lee, I’m calling you out. Not only is your performance on “Spoil My Night” atrocious, this entire new vocal direction is drier than an Arizona sidewalk. Don’t be fooled, ladies and gentlemen. Rae Sremmurd’s upcoming triple album will be awful. And they’re doing it on purpose. For money. Big surprise there. I digress: Every feature besides Swae Lee does at least a serviceable job, if not a stellar one. Yet Post underwhelms on most of his solo tracks here. “Otherside,” “Rich & Sad,” and “Paranoid” hardly make an impression. This tracklist is far too bloated to warrant any kind of greatness, despite rampant fan acclaim. Though going platinum in 14 hours* is quite impressive.
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