Post Malone released his much-anticipated sophomore album, titled Beerbongs and Bentleys, on Friday after previewing it with three singles, “Candy Paint,” “Rockstar,” and “Psycho,” each of which garnered tremendous success on the Billboard charts. The 18-track album runs for slightly over an hour, and incorporates features from Swae Lee, 21 Savage, Ty Dolla $ign, and Nicki Minaj.
After his incredible rise to mainstream stardom, catalyzed first by the release of “White Iverson” and then his multi-platinum album Stoney, Malone’s sophomore effort presented him with an opportunity to push himself into a completely new understanding in the music scene. Prior to the release of Beerbongs and Bentleys, Malone had found himself in a weird space of stardom. He had acquired a large base of passionate fans, but was mainly known to the mainstream public through a few smash hits and his unique physical appearance.
Further he was often categorized as a rapper, but Malone rejected this notion, saying he would prefer to be stripped of labels and simply be referred to as an artist. This comment initially garnered criticism, notably from pop culture magazine Complex, but Malone is right in his claims. He has released music that has crossed into the realms of folk, alternative rock, and hard rock in addition to his more traditional, hip-hop inspired songs.
This is Malone’s true strength. Despite his mainstream characterization as simply a rapper, Malone is a far more dynamic and variable artist than is widely known. I deeply implore any who is reading this to listen to any of his covers of Nirvana, Greenday, or Bob Dylan. He is able to handle a guitar, and has a voice that really differentiates him greatly from pretty much anyone else in music, especially the mainstream. He has crafted himself, through both his music and physical appearance, as the ultimate sense of individuality and self-acceptance.
Malone’s sophomore album, thus, presented him with a unique opportunity to embrace the variety he is capable of in his music. He could have captivated his devoted fans and swaths of new ones with his stylistic variations and uniqueness.
Unfortunately, Beerbongs and Bentleys does not fully live up to the amazing potential that Malone is truly capable of. That is not to say that the album is not great, it is. It is a fun, enjoyable, and highly repeatable album that demonstrates much of Malone’s ability as an artist. Beerbongs and Bentleys shows a much more vocal Malone than “Stoney” did, as it is full of demonstration after demonstration of Malone’s range and highly melodic style.
The problem for Beerbongs and Bentleys lies in its repetitive nature. Many of the songs on this record were clearly created strictly for gaining a high volume of streams and perhaps radio play. Tracks like “Spoil My Night,” “Zack and Codeine,” “Ball for Me,” and “92 Explorer” are all songs that feature a trap instrumental, high amounts of funny pop culture references, and are highly forgettable. These songs are clearly the product of label influence, something which is potentially disastrous for the ultimate impact and creativity of an artist as dynamic as he is. Regardless, these songs will achieve their objective, however, as they will still garner an enormous number of streams and catalyze many new listeners.
The true highlights of Beerbongs and Bentleys comes on songs like “Paranoid,” “Rich and Sad,” “Over Now,” “Otherside,” and “Stay.” Each of these songs shows the more authentic and less mainstream side of Malone that defines who he is as an artist. They demonstrate his wide musical tastes and his integration of multiple eras of sound into each song, resulting in a refreshing sound that truly pushes traditional industry boundaries.
Featured Image by Republic Records