Post Malone’s Hollywood’s Bleeding dropped three weeks ago and his trending song, “Goodbyes (feat. Young Thug)” is already at 325 million streams (as of Sept. 24) and rising. Between “Circles,” “I’m Gonna Be,” “Wow.,” and countless others, no argument can be made against the album’s consistent flow of hits. Theses hits, with their strong beats, emotional hooks, and easily learned choruses could each thrive in a single release. However, with an album that’s seventeen songs deep, some songs fall in between the cracks. If you disagree, ask yourself how many songs you can name off of Beerbongs and Bentlys as well as Stoney, which were both eighteen songs long.
During our final album run-through, Taylor Pendley sighed, “We’re only thirty minutes into this album.” The album begins slow but picks up steam, being mildly stunted by forgettables like “Saint-Tropez” and “On the Road (feat. Meek Mill & Lil Baby),” then heading into the multi-generational Pop-Rock anthem where Post teams up with Ozzy Ozbourne and Travis Scott to create his most memorable intro of the album. Ozzy’s gothic voice, which introduces the Post rock in the song, is refreshing, creating a banger you and your dad can lose it to. Another necessary collaboration is the Young Thug feature. Mr. Thug’s rap in “Goodbyes” elevates the usually forgettable space after the chorus to the anticipated high-point of the song. While other songs on the album like “Staring at the Sun (feat. SZA)” and “Die For Me (feat. Future & Halsey)” are relatively empty with choruses depending on easy rhymes and overused pop tropes, Post Malone is able to dig deep on a few songs to reconnect his audience with the cathartic grief previously presented in “Stay” (Beerbongs and Bentlys) and “Feeling Whitney” (Stoney) as well as the self-awareness this album title suggests.
Josh Savage, Taylor Pendly, and I agreed on “Internet” and “Myself,” as the two outliers. “Internet” is a track with a message. Whether that message hits or not is its own discussion, but the important thing is that Post is reaching outside of his niche of repetitive bangers. The production on this song screams: pay attention. The swelling synth builds as Post Malone sets a scene where paranoia meets false swagger. By the time the chorus hits, you can feel the anxiety in his voice. Internet culture has pushed Post to retreat into his shell, where “ignorance is bliss” (Internet). And then the string section cuts in.. It makes sense that the grand production on this two-minute track calls back to 2016’s The Life of Pablo since Kanye West is credited on the song. There seems to be a common push by pop artists to step away from the 2/4 backbeat and move into the orchestral staccato lift and build when they want to instruct the reader how to feel. This is less of a commentary on this movement and more of an observation, but I think that these changes in mood and texture are the key to keeping Hollywood’s Bleeding from becoming a 51-minute extended hook. Josh Tillman a.k.a. Father John Misty is another collaborator whose input on “Myself” adds diversity and takes the album in an introspective direction.
Father John Misty’s collaboration on “Myself.” stands out for a number of reasons other than the lyrics, although this is certainly a welcome change. Another “Die for Me” or “Enemies” would almost certainly break this album. Instead the track is placed at a crucial fifteenth slot, where the album should probably end. Post delivers a bouncy track co-written by none other than pop’s favorite cynic, Josh Tillman. Taylor Pendley says that he believes Post Malone could collaborate with anyone and make a hit, and after listening to this track, I’m inclined to agree with him. This is a great performance about misplaced hope and coming to terms with the shortcomings of the Beerbongs and Bentleys lifestyle, and a much-needed break from some likeable but childish verses and monotonous middle tracks.
Josh – “A surprisingly enjoyable album.” (6.9)
Favorite Track: “Allergic”
Taylor – “Post delivered some savory beats and catchy hooks, but when he said that Hollywood is bleeding, I was left with little reason to care.” (6.0)
Favorite Track: “Internet”
Daniel – “I could listen for hours and never quit wagging my tail.” (6.4)
Favorite Track: “A Thousand Bad Times”