And now back to our regularly scheduled presentation on Radio Friendly.
I’ve been hesitant to start this week’s After the Hype, both listening to the album and writing this here article. I’ve been trying to focus my thoughts, so I don’t ramble on for two-thousand words like that Kanye article you all read five-hundred words of then stopped. I’ve been asked to write an article on Post Malone. The dude baffles me. He’s a big braided white boi that sits and plays video games, drinks Bud Light and smokes weed. He’s got gangster tattoos but only because he’s got the money to get them, and I’ve heard him say on a podcast that Fleet Foxes is his favourite band. He can play the guitar well and has some pretty good Bob Dylan covers up on YouTube, yet the dude insists on making bland trap pop. It’s a smart move because that’s what makes kids money these days, but something doesn’t sit right with me about ditching your musical integrity for bucket loads of money. But maybe I’m reading too much into it. Hell, I’d probably do it if someone threw a million dollars at me.
Malone’s 2016 album Stoney secured his spot in the top 20 charts and skyrocketed his fame to an unbelievable level. Skyrocketed his fame so high that the dude can stream Call of Duty on Twitch and almost break the internet. Skyrocketed so high that he’s surpassed meme culture and can’t be made fun of for his shit tattoos, especially that one he’s got stamped across his fucking forehead. Skyrocketed so high that he can release songs with the same beat and similar melodies and still make fans go ape shit crazy. And it all started with White Iverson.
White Iverson is Malone’s breakthrough single he uploaded to Soundcloud back in 2015 and sits snuggly in the middle of Stoney. I’ve been told in the past that it’s a banger. I went in expecting it to be a banger. White Iverson is so fucking boring I had to hesitate to skip it every time it came on. The song is basic at best; its minor synth chords are boring as hell (a trademark sound in Post’s catalogue, but I’ll get to that later) and I’ve heard the deep bass against the trap beat in every single trap song since 2012. Malone’s vocal melody is sad; it sounds as if he’s trying to be deep and emotional, but it comes off as depressing. The lyrics aren’t all that flash either. “White Iverson. When I started ballin’ I was young. You gon’ think about me when I’m gone. I need that money like the ring I never won, I won.” I can imagine those lyrics over a hard beat, they’d go off, but that’s not what Post Malone has done. Instead he’s paired them with a minor vocal melody against minor synth chords, the basis of the instrumentation. It’s melancholy and Malone has pretty much made the new genre of emo music. It’s the same as “Well which would you prefer, my finger on the trigger, or meet face down, down across your floor”. Yes, that was Taking Back Sunday. Yes, that was their emo anthem Cute Without the E. And can you imagine that to a trap beat? There you go, you’ve got Post Malone. I do not understand how this song kickstarted his career.
Stoney opens with Broken Whiskey Glass. Soaring eagle sounds drift through my ears against deep acoustic string plucks and a string ensemble playing an ominous melody. It sounds like intro music to a Spaghetti Western or the music you’d here in an old-fashioned gentleman’s duel. It’s not what I expected would open the album. Malone eventually begins his white-boi R&B rap towards the end of the track and it’s laughable. It’s not a good introduction to your first album.
The second track Big Lie isn’t that bad, but maybe that’s just me saying that because I know what the rest of the album entails. The beat is simple but does the job, and if you can get used to Malone’s overproduced auto-tune rap it’s not that bad. The chorus is where the track shines, it’s catchy even if I can’t understand what Malone is singing. The only words I can understand are big lie, so I guess that’s why he picked that as the title of the track.
Justin Bieber is featured in the third song, Déjà Vu, which begins the same as Drake’s Hotline Bling. Malone’s verse is bland, it’s Bieber’s refrain in the chorus that’s the catchiest part of the song. Fifth track, Cold, has some swelling synth melodies, once again following a minor melody, and a house-style bass that bops along, completely out of place. It’s sticks out like a sore thumb. I like house music, but it’s not enough to swing me on this song. The house bass doesn’t quite match the whingy vocal melody Post delivers. I Fall Apart showcases a passionate performance by Post as he sings “She told me that I’m not enough, and she left me with a broken heart.” His vocal delivery is earnest and stands out against echoed guitar strums. A synth melody pitter patters in which doesn’t overpower the emotion, but it builds to a drop that feels completely out of place. Once the drop hits, the instrumentation that we’ve become accustomed to throughout the track cuts out and instead we have this mediocre trap beat that ruins any emotional connection Malone established. It’s poor song writing.
Go Flex is another track I was told to listen to prior to this After the Hype. I don’t think I did, I’d remember if I did. Light acoustic strums open the song, but soon die out and are replaced with synth and trap beats. What the fuck is the purpose of playing an acoustic guitar for 10 seconds? Are you trying to say, “Hey look everyone, I can play an instrument too. I’ve got another side of me I’d like to show for ten seconds.” The beat sounds the same as the other songs, and I’m over having to say that. The acoustic guitar filters back in for the chorus and starts to sound like an Ed Sheeran song. And that’s not half bad, Malone should have stuck with the acoustic instrumentation for Go Flex, it would have added a new dynamic to the track listing. It’s obvious that Malone writes his songs on acoustic and translates that over to the computer for the synth and trap butcher. And I’m guessing that’s where the inconsistencies in his production stem from.
The rest of the album is very basic, once again Malone rinse, wash and repeats the same formula he’s used the entire album: minor synth melody, basic vocal melody and the same trap beat. It’s not until second last track, Up There, begins that I scream halle-fucking-luiah. The track opens with simple piano chords and an electric strum. Automatically, the track has an uplifting feel to it as Malone croons ‘wah woo’ in his natural falsetto. The chorus is catchy thanks to the Malone’s mellow melody and the electric guitar mimicking the vocals. It’s simple, smart and effective.
We end with Yours Truly, Austin Post, where Malone falls back into his whingy R&B vocals. It’s boring, and by this stage, after fourteen songs, I’m sick of hearing the same vocal melodies. It’s obvious that Post Malone has talent and can write a solid pop tune. Whether or not White Iverson is trash, it’s still catchy, even I can’t deny that. Catchy enough to launch his career and send Stoney to double-platinum status. The fact this album reached that truly baffles me. The album lacks excitement and diversity. It’s not until the second last track that we get any resemblance of an uplifting and joyous track, all twelve songs prior are very hard to distinguish between each other. Malone’s music is sad, so I guess it’s hitting the same spot that all the pop-punk/emo bands did ten years ago. The teenagers need some sad, generic music so they can show their parents that they are individuals and rebel against whatever the fuck they rebel against. And I guess the kids these days don’t really need much substance to their music. But then again, the emo music of ten years ago was all the same too. At least we didn’t dab though.
Post Malone’s Stoney was not worth the hype. I guess I’ll just stick to watching his Bob Dylan covers on YouTube from five years ago.
After the Hype is a weekly series where I listen to an album after the hype dies down and give my general thoughts, sometimes a little whinge. It’s ok to disagree.