July 4, 1995. It was a summer day in Syracuse, New York. Austin Richard Post, also known as “Post Malone,” was born.
23 years later, on April 27th, 2018, Post Malone’s highly anticipated second album Beerbongs & Bentleys was released.
The hype surrounding this album was largely due to its delayed release; after originally being planned for a December release to hijack the Christmas market, it was delayed indefinitely by Post himself. This caused a wave of disappointment among his eager fans. Even on the 27th, Post played around with the idea of another delay to the album release but soon followed up with a countdown: “JK LOL MOFOS 20 MINUTES TURN THE FUCK UP.”
That is the kind of rapper Post Malone is. He is the voice of the youth, the face of millenials. He understands the bittersweet nature of adolescent romance, the struggles of living up to societal standards, and being the odd one out at times. Even though these may be popular themes present in the work of many current popular artists, it does not mean he is mundane or predictable.
The 18-track album contains a wide range of songs, from personal odes to internal struggles, to sad songs about heartbreak, to tracks affirming his standing in the music industry and the levels of success he has achieved.
As a personal fan of Post Malone, I take a strong liking to his music and his down-to-earth character displayed in interviews. Post is a genuine person, and it is something listeners can recognize through his music. Post is proud of his success—as he should be—however, he possesses an uncommon clarity and a jaded view of the fast-paced, materialistic lifestyle of Hollywood.
“Zack and Codeine”: “What you take me for, no / I can't save you soul / I don't f**k with nobody / Yeah, you hardly know me / Please just leave me alone”
Frankly, I did not believe my eyes when I saw the track title—a The Suite Life of Zack & Cody reference? However, “Cody” was replaced with “Codeine,” a type of cough medicine used to treat moderate levels of pain. Through the name, it is easily interpreted that the ideologies of a hotel—a fast-paced lifestyle with quick turn-over, in which nothing is permanent—are being represented.
“Better Now”: “You're not even speaking to my friends, no / You knew all my uncles and my aunts though”
This track describes Post’s thought process after the termination of a relationship. He still has feelings for a past lover and reminisces about their closeness. He even references how close she was with his extended family and their present lack of communication.
Post is hung up on the past, while the girl has clearly moved on. He compares her actions from the past to those of the present: “We were looking forward to the rest of our lives / used to keep my picture posted by your bedside / Now it's in your dresser with the socks you don't like.” It is clear to the audience that, in his head, she is better off with him.
“Otherside”: “But that's just the way it goes / Wish that I could have control / Everybody dies alone”
Post explores the large disappointment a lover experiences in being broken up with. He feels lost and out of control, unable to process the abundance of negative feelings he is enduring. His inability to cope and move on is heavily emphasized in this track: “One hundred vials of denial I know they won't bring you back / What am I to do?” Here, Post feels completely helpless without his lover. Unable to accept this new harsh reality, he believes that he will die alone as a result of her leaving him.
Throughout the track, Post repeats the line, “Are you on the other side? Will you save us? Or will you run away?” as a call to his past lover, hoping to bring her back and patch up their relationship.
“Over Now”: “Even after everything that we've been through / I ain't ever met nobody like you / Why you always tryna tell me that it's cool / Need it quiet 'cause you never tell the truth”
In “Over Now,” Post describes a relationship with a stereotypical Hollywood girl who places a large emphasis on materialistic values, even pressuring him to do the same. While he was in the relationship he was blinded by love, unable to see her negative character traits; as soon as the relationship ended, he reached a point of clarity and realized she was a bad influence on him.
Plenty of psychology research indicates that couples become similar to each other as they become more intimate. Post communicates to his audience how he was so hung up on her that he believed everything she said; now, he refuses to acknowledge any good inside of her and has realized the damage she has done to him.
“Stay”: “Stay a little longer if you convince me / And tell me all the things that you have against me / Every time we make up, the truth is fadin' / Everybody's blind when the view's amazing'”
Rich Brian, a close friend of Post Malone, cried to this song, and for good reason.
In “Stay,” Post conveys the struggles of two people that are trying to work out their kinks. Even though the pair is no longer together, they still have an underlying desire to be in a relationship again. Post explicitly expresses how tiring this is, as it puts them both in more pain. This is expressed in the line, “It's like we only play to lose / Chasin' pain with an excuse.” Post allows himself to go through the pain repeatedly because he is in love.
“Blame it On Me”: “Now all these people wanna keep on taking pieces of me / They take away everything, had everything that I needed / They held me down, let me drown / They spit me out right through the teeth”
Echoing the beginning of the album, “Blame it On Me” trails back to the lifestyle of a popular musician in Hollywood. “Blame it On Me” is a personal narrative about how change in Post’s own personality was inevitable and bound to happen due to the music industry’s cruel nature.
Even though the title states “Blame it On Me,” the song repeats “it's not my fault” multiple times. Post is taking responsibility for being involved with the wrong groups of people in the industry—however, he does not think he should be held completely accountable for it, as he had no say in the things the industry did to him.
“Sugar Wraith”: “I just want to fly, make it last before we die / And I know you want a ride / What's on your mind? What's on your mind? / I was broke last year, I can't go back there”
This track’s title alludes to the idea of a “sweet death.” Even though it is still early in Post’s professional music career, he has achieved tremendous stature that many could only dream of possessing.
The album ends with “Sugar Wraith,” in which Post recognizes the ways in which his success, accomplishments, and backlash have accumulated and caused him to be where he is today. He summarizes his new lifestyle, one that was only achievable due to the success of his first album, Stoney. The selection of “Sugar Wraith” as an outro track signifies where Post current stands: he acknowledges his success and only wants to move forward.
There is an abundance of sad songs on this album. However, they are not just all repetitive odes or ballads about a broken heart, but are instead reflective of the artist himself.
Post’s songs are eye-opening, allowing insight into his raw personal feelings and the ugliness of the industry in which he is involved. He is earnest and candid in his lyrics, making it easy for the audience to connect with his lyrics.
Ting Ting Chen