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POSTY POP PERFECTION

Post Malone is quintessentially “of” our times. The stage name came from an online rap-name generator. His music tastes like multiple genres pulverized in a blender, seasoned with that moody, melodramatic crooning soaked in a pill-and-syrup haze that connects directly to youth culture’s perpetual state of anxiety and depression—brought on by a world that is spinning out of their control.  Even Post’s physical appearance is rooted in that angsty rebellion; the tatted-up face and quirky love of Crocs rejects every aspect of the previous status quo: a pretty-boy look, dripping in designer flow.

There is no clear influence with Post Malone; there is no loyalty to any specific culture either. He’s soulful because he’s so damn sad, authentic because he knows exactly how to craft a spectacular melody, undeniable as a talent because he serves up chorus after chorus that haunts your brain long after the song is over. This virtue is what has kept the long tails of his two previous albums dragging into the billion-stream realm.

What is truly stunning about Post’s third effort, Hollywood’s Bleeding (Republic), is how confidently he has perfected this blurred horizon of sound into real pop excellence. Hitting a stride with his tight group of collaborators Louis Bell, Frank Dukes and Billy Walsh, there is absolutely no arguing the hit factor omnipresent in these 17 tracks—three of which, “Sunflower” f/Swae Lee, “Wow,” and “Goodbyes” f/Young Thug, all tethered more to his previous fusions of R&B, have already launched to the top.  But a distinctive Alt-Rock energy is present on “A Thousand Bad Times,” “Allergic,” and “Circles” that demonstrates impressive growth, along with some of the star collaborators simmering under other spectacular tracks—Father John Misty behind the reflective song “Myself,” Kanye West’s theatrics embedded into “Internet.”

The multiple features also weave effortlessly into the work and don’t sound forced, whether it’s DaBaby’s rapid-fire intensity as the perfect complement to that bouncy-but dead-serious delivery of “Enemies,” Future as the foundation of the trap-pop cut “Die For Me” (with Halsey snapping on the bridge to hold down every female listening) or Lil Baby and Meek Mill helping land the “fuck you fake bitch” blows for “On The Road.”

But OZZY, though! That’s nothing less than a “Holy shit!” situation. There hasn’t been a moment like this on any album for a minute. Let’s set aside the fact that this is the most randomly savage pairing ever conceived—and that it resulted in a truly hilarious, if slightly infuriating, Gen Z face-palming proclamation on social media: that Post Malone had somehow aided the career of one of rock’s defining greats. 

He’s soulful because he’s so damn sad, authentic because he knows exactly how to craft a spectacular melody, undeniable as a talent because he serves up chorus after chorus that haunts your brain long after the song is over. 

That just highlighted exactly how generations regularly ignore each other’s greats and heroes. But it is also exactly what makes “Take What You Want” so fucking powerful.  Not only will a new group of music lovers discover the rock fury that is the Prince of Darkness/Godfather of Metal, but the adults in the room who may have wandered past that Netflix banner about Travis Scott in their queue, get to hear what La Flame is all about.  And then there’s the songcraft and musicianship present in the power ballad, highlighted further by that searing guitar solo by watt.  It’s the stuff of legend, yo. Regardless of how y’all feel about Post Malone as an artist overall, stay in the no-fronting zone on this one. This particular song is insanely dope on so many levels and poised to be enduringly influential.

“I wanted to be super organic. I’m not trying to make huge smashes,” Post said about the creation of this record, “I just wanna make songs that tell stories and are genuine to me that I think is really awesome.”

If keeping those Posty vibes intact was the humble goal of Hollywood’s Bleeding, dude certainly kept it trill—and the attending audience is about to do the same. With a trillion streams. 

 

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