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Art Review - Beerbongs & Bentleys

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November 27, 2018

April Zabos

ENGL100

W. Mark Giles

Beerbongs and Bentleys

It’s impossible not to notice 23 year old musician Post Malone, one of the biggest names in pop music. His new album, Beerbongs & Bentleys, was released on April 27th, 2018. The album features numerous guest appearances from artists such as 21 Savage, Nicki Minaj, G-Eazy, YG, and others. Beerbongs & Bentleys performed well commercially, debuting at number one on the US Billboard 200, was certified double platinum by the RIAA, and on the day of it’s release, Beerbongs & Bentleys broke streaming records on Spotify. On May 12th, 2018, Post’s album shattered the record for the most simultaneous top 20 entries on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, with nine songs on the top 20 - passing the record of six which was shared by The Beatles and J. Cole. The question is what makes this album so incredible?

Post Malone (born Austin Post) was born in Sycaruse, and raised modestly in Texas. Today, he stands as a post-ironic pop hero - so unlikely that he has become beloved for it. 23 year old Post toys with swaggy rap music that transports the listener to a luxurious LA lifestyle. One of the oddest looking people you could find, his music wants you to believe he is drinking from the finest bottles and sleeping with any super model he can. On the other, more real side of the coin, his idea of a good night is kicking back listening to Bob Dylan and Bob Marley, and drinking Bud Light. He decided he wanted to be a rapper, and succeeded. Occasionally, Post Malone will ignore “traditional” rap habits and pick up a guitar, featuring his work in his own songs.

Successful ever since his first single “White Iverson”, Post Malone continues releasing music, dropping his first full-length debut a year and a half after his single was released. His first album, Stoney, managed to break the Top 10, leaving an impression that Post Malone and his rein was only just beginning. When many critics believed the ceiling had been reached, “Congratulations” was released, with Post jumping to the upper echelon of musicians. The first single of Beerbongs & Bentleys, “Rockstar”, was critically described as a “flamboyantly irritating, consummately tasteless piece of music, with a hook droning but somehow implacable”. However, “Rockstar” became the hottest single in the United States for almost two months. To follow, Post and Ty Dolla $ign released “Psycho,” bringing to light that Beerbongs & Bentleys was a force to be reckoned with - making a statement of his arrival, a grossly decadent celebration of him making music his own way and becoming wildly successful in doing it.

“Psycho” points to the stylistic aim of the music on Beerbongs & Bentleys. Post’s 18 song album contains mainly mid-tempo, gently forlorn R&B, padded out with New Agey gauze. A good Post Malone song makes you wonder how the hell he is famous, while justifying it with his coolly satisfying melodic hooks and synthetic beats. There are numerous of these on this album.

The first song on the album, “Paranoid,” delivers a strangely catchy song about doubts in his security and safety in his rise to fame. He describes feeling as if people close to him could be manipulating him for his fame and fortune and is taking precautions against it. “Tell me why I can’t get no relief / Wonderin’ when they’ll come for me / A paranoid man makes paranoid plans / I do what I can, but it’s out of my hands / Strugglin’ just to find my peace.” Perhaps this song stems from controversy in which Youtuber Jake Paul filmed and uploaded a video that contained footage of Malone’s private property. Relatable, even on a lesser scale, anyone may feel that those close to them may be manipulating them for some sort of twisted personal gain.

The third track of the album, “Rich & Sad,” Austin unpacks a theme that almost everyone comes to understand at some point in their lifetime: money can’t buy you happiness. He reflects on times with his ex-girlfriend, while showcasing his wealth and stating that he still feels lonely despite the obscene amounts of money he has. “I would throw it all away / I just keep on wishin’ that the money made you stay / You ain’t never cared about that bullshit anyway.” Austin freestyled this hook, which is undoubtedly the most moving of this song. Frank Dukes recalled that it was “one take all the way through… a mellow guy, but there’s an intensity when he makes music - he knows what he is going for and what he’s doing.” Putting to use his melodic mastermind, Post infects his audience with a feeling of loneliness through his haunting lyrics and backing track.

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