Review Summary: What’s your focus?
Look, I get it. I also hate Post Malone; I hate everything about his smug, unshaven, dirty face; his filthy, ratty braids; his unkempt and uneven beard; and his nasty, misaligned teeth. I hate how he cultivated this look purposely before his twenties, and now has further legitimized this gnarlier than thou posture. I don’t like how easily he seems to parrot and repeat trends in a cocksure, exploitative manner, wherein other rappers, who usually have something better to say than Post, are window-dressing for workshopped, accessible pop balladry. I don’t like that he can barely open his mouth wide enough to mumble, sounding more like a late ‘90s, post-grunge inspired, underbite babbler. And most of all, I don’t like that he’s one of the better pop musicians of the last year or so, being as he is some horrible amalgamation of Whitey Ford, Kid Rock, Jon Bon Jovi, and Travis Scott. Yes, he’s terrible, and I absolutely hate him.
I want you, the reader, to know that I understand hating Post Malone, not because it is easy but because it makes sense. He is by all objective measures just not good. I do want to convince you though that he is, for better or worse, just a notch above average. Which you, as the reader, might think is not exactly a ringing endorsement of Malone, and that is because it isn’t. I get hating Post Malone because he should be hated; even at his best, as in “White Iverson,” he’s making hazy and indistinct club music for people that that don’t care that club music has a tendency to sound hazy and indistinct in this modern era. But, if we’re to remove other forerunners to the genre’s style, like The Weeknd, he’s probably its best, most representative musician. The kids love him, and his songs are addictive; they’re that perfect spot between subtle and accessible, always memorable if just ever so out-of-reach that you feel encouraged to always listen just one more time to remember a melody, a harmony, or another compelling vocal moment. Of course, most post-Weeknd types are the same, but they’re not quite as good as Malone when it comes to big, bopping hit singles.
To be fair, I’m probably not giving him and beerbongs & bentleys
their proper due, in part, because neither are great in any technical or aesthetic sense. This album in particular is very trashy; the sort of album made for stripclubs, better compared to “Pour Some Sugar On Me” than “Pour Out a Little Liquor.” Likewise, it’s absolutely rotten with bad taste. Go no further than “Same Bitches,” where Posty and G-Eazy trade bars about just how boring and sad it is that they keep seeing the same-- *ahem,* ‘bitches
’-- everywhere they go in LA, as if to say that those exact same bitches are exactly as interested in procreating with these two pasty and inarticulate blowards. The album’s best song, “Spoil My Night,” boasts an ethereal, subtle, and addictive Swae Lee feature, only to be spoiled when Posty loses his load and shouts out his love for ‘beautiful boobies
.’ And that’s just the bad attitudes towards women; he raps fairly unconvincingly about Jonestown on “Jonestown,” juggles metaphors without much literary finesse on “Zack and Codeine,” and on the fifth track, draws a horribly literal similarity between “Takin’ Shots” and gunshot sounds. You will cringe listening to this album. You will not like yourself. You will feel dirty. Which, in an album— a Post Malone album, nevertheless— that goes for longer than hour and juggles 18 songs can be expected, but not excused. It’s just too much of this guy for any one person to bother listening to, and I strongly do not recommend listening to this thing in its entirety.
Still, for something that is so fashionable to a fault, beerbongs and bentleys
is so unabashedly about its own niche that it doesn’t really matter that it’s not well suited for replay or any critical interrogation otherwise. Nobody listens to all of Stoney
now, but the songs fell out of it so often that, invariably, a few became hits. That’s probably what will become of beerbongs and bentleys
; “Better Now,” “Spoil My Night,” “Blame it On Me,” and “Stay” are all fit contenders for a place atop the charts in the next twelve months. In reality, that’s all we can and should expect from Post Malone. His sell-by date is coming up fast. You can tell by the increasing glut of contemporaries he inspires grasping in increasing desperation for a piece of attention whenever he is absent. This moment of fuzzed-out, fuc
ked-up pop music with questionably scant odes to rap music is not designed for posterity. To his credit, Post gets that, and is content to make overlong albums where every song can be a single. Not every song on beerbongs and bentleys can
be a single, but there’s enough of them hiding in there to make it one of 2018’s more rewarding releases.