Review Summary: Post Malone's August 26th is a boring and exhaustive mixtape not worth the listen
While navigating through the comment section on Datpiff, I discovered someone had coined the term bubblegum trap a.k.a. easily reproduced hip-hop with catchy hooks and trend-following lyricism . Such a label is the perfect category for Post Malone’s new mixtape, August 26th
. The ten-track project is a long, exhaustive excursion, a commercially slick endeavor disguised as an edgy, artistic narrative of hedonism.
As each track progresses, Post Malone flutters along languid, mellow beats without calling too much attention to any of it. To his credit, Malone does have a knack for writing catchy hooks but despite this aspect, the majority of the songs still feel dull and meandering. Even the guest appearances seem like they are there for filler content, a way to hide the little amount of substance and creativity Malone shows on this record.
Look past the melodic quality of his voice and beat arrangements to find the mind-drifting unoriginality at not just the heart of the mixtape but the whole musical personal that is Post Malone. Contrary to the pretty cool cover artwork, this mixtape is incredibly boring.
By the time Larry June makes his entrance on opener “Never Understand,” interest has already been long diffused making his words seemed scattered, meaningless scribbles rushing at the brain’s dead void.
Even a 2Chainz verse on “Money Made Me Do It” cannot gather enough momentum to pull the listener back in. Even worse, Malone and 2Chainz rap over a Justin Bieber-esque beat, better suited for middle school dances or the last stop on a run through pop radio stations rather than the pre-party vibes they were probably aiming for. “F/ck,’ the Jeremih assisted track is at best a half-formed idea, its repetition lacking any charm or wit. Then there is the horrible flow delivery of Lil Yachty, off-putting to the point that it makes it hard to take the song “Monte” seriously and even more confounding as to why it received the green-light in the first place.
Occasionally the songs seemed forced. Take “40 Funk” as an example. Lines like “40 got me funky” and “Gimme the 40, yeah/ So I can be cool, yeah,” make the song extremely corny, almost laughably so. Malone sounds like he doesn’t fully believe in what he’s rapping about, as if taking vapid narratives about drinking, drug use and partying would somehow translate into a song that would be the kinda track to groove to in your car or played while hanging around some hazy hype-filled environment. His 2-D cutouts of hedonism only make him seem inauthentic. The chopped and screwed vocals at the end of the song don’t help either. It’s like the song is trying a little too hard to fit the mold of what a rap song should sound like in 2016.
Even when Post Malone tries to show his ability to step outside rap confines by using an interpolation of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” on his own “Hollywood Dreams Come Down," it backfires. Instead of showing his artistic experimentation, it only highlights his own artistic inability.
It seems like Post Malone is doomed for one-hit wonder status. No where on this project is the entrancing soundscape and oddly somber atmosphere “White Iverson” had promised.
The biggest fault Post Malone shows on this mixtape though is the lack of showmanship and excitement artists like Lil Uzi Vert, whose whole sound has been birthed in the bubblegum trap genre, possess that allow him to get away with rap generics. Wanting to listen to the commercially and easily replicable sounds of artists like that is not necessarily a bad thing because a lot of times they are
fun to hear. But why listen to Post Malone when there are more impassioned musicians out there" If you want euphonious vocals over swaying trap beats, why not Raury, certainly he has more emotional depth to his music and lasting quality to hs projects.
No matter how one puts it, August 26th
fails to amount to anything worthwhile.