Post’s sophomore album doesn’t capture the magic of 2016’s Stoney, but the hits are there.
No introduction is needed for Post Malone at this point. He is currently the biggest artist in the world, racking up nearly 40 million monthly Spotify listeners and billions of additional streams. The cloud rap “White Iverson” days are long behind him. His post-“Rockstar” (no pun intended) success has catapulted him into pop mainstream starlight. All you expect from Post Malone is melodic hits – no real songwriting, substance or bars. He’s barely a rapper to begin with, so listeners aren’t asking for much long as he continues to do what he does best.
For the most part, Post is able to do this over 18 tracks, but once again the streaming chess game and playlist era weighs Beerbongs & Bentleys down. B&B is a total indulgence into the lifestyle of a rich and famous superstar who, despite all the success, isn’t emotionally satisfied (i.e. “Rich & Sad”). At points it’s hard to take this side of him seriously amidst all the bragging, but Post’s unique touch for melody naturally results into good songs.
The album opens up with arguably the best song on the project. “Paranoid” sets the bar high with its eerie production and powerful chorus. It’s one of the few moments where Post’s emotion comes across as genuine. B&B constantly trades between emotional cuts and vivacious partying anthems, such as “Spoil My Night” with Swae Lee, which is the sort of brainless turn-up that Post excels in.
When B&B is brilliant, it’s clear why he is so successful. “Over Now” sees Post entering rock territory with his aggressive delivery over the track’s tough drums, providing a refreshing break from Post’s trap crooning. “Better Now” easily qualifies to be the next single thanks to another smash chorus. “Otherside” is the most pop-styled song on the album, featuring tropical production but impressive vocals by Post to the point where you got to give its pop sound a pass (“But that’s just the way it goes / Wish that I could have control / Everybody dies alone”). “Stay” has been an instant fan favourite, as Post makes the most out of the colourless guitar strumming with his vocal performance.
When putting aside Post’s irresistibly melodic voice, B&B might as well stand for ‘Bread & Butter’ because a handful of tracks are distinctly bland. Songs like “Zack and Codeine”, “Ball for Me” and “Takin’ Shots” personify the one-dimensional aspect of Post Malone. Not much is expected of Malone lyrically, but the praises of his extravagant life quickly become overbearing as a listener. Post isn’t expected to be a genius songwriter, but these topics naturally become tiring to listen to; the hooks can’t do all the work across 64 minutes. With the added context of streaming, it’s clear these songs are mere tracklist placeholders.
Towards the back end of the album, you find enjoyable songs (“92 Explorer”, “Same Bitches”) but nothing that’ll live the test of time in the age of quick consumption. The exception is “Candy Paint”, the underrated single that sounds sweet like it’s name, has the most infectious beat off the whole album and includes a theme that matches the second ‘B’ of the project name – something that the lyrics of the album struggle to represent.
Beerbongs & Bentleys sets out what it wants to achieve. It isn’t an artistic statement, it’s a playlist loaded with chart-ready, trap-pop hits. Take whatever you want out of the tracklist and you may find the perfect thirteen tracks you’re looking for.
Rating: 7.5 / 10
Best tracks: “Paranoid”, “Over Now”, “Candy Paint”, “Jonestown (Interlude)”, “Stay”, “Otherside”, “Spoil My Night”