Post Malone album analysis–part one
By Sonam Kaloti, Arts Editor
“Hollywood’s Bleeding” is the first track on the album and it starts with a focus on vocals on top of soft acoustic guitar strumming. The song reflects on the celebrity Hollywood lifestyle: “We’re running out of reasons but we can’t let go. Yeah, Hollywood’s bleeding but we call it home.” Malone describes the love-hate relationship he has with the industry; he knows it’s progressively getting worse and worse, yet it is where he belongs. The song reminds me of a captain vowing to go down with the ship.
“Saint-Tropez” is an upbeat song, working funky beats in the verses and slowing down in the chorus. It’s an unexpected second track after the introspective and rather morose first one. Having “Saint-Tropez” as the second track was a smart play to avoid implying that the entire album’s tone is the same as the one introduced by the first track. The song discusses the luxuries Malone is finally able to experience after a long time of working hard towards this lifestyle. In an interview with Spotify, Malone said “I don’t want to be fucking miserable all the time, so sometimes, I like to just go buck-wild with the boys. And that’s what that’s kind of about.”
“Enemies,” featuring DaBaby, is another reflective song. It has a mix of the darker, analytical lyrics of “Hollywood Bleeding,” paired with the dance beats and uplifting vocals of “Saint-Tropez.” The track is a relatable one, being a simpler commentary on the loss of friends (turned enemies). This topic seems to be common among celebrities. Being a not-so-rich college student with fair knowledge on what cliques and popularity can do to friendships in high school, it’s easy to imagine Hollywood being the high-stakes and too-public version of the same thing. Nonetheless, I’ve heard songs about bad friends enough to mark this one off as uncreative.
“Allergic” is refreshing! The beat sounds less soft-synth hip-hop and more rock with its heavier drums. The vocals are reaching for pop. For what seems like a breakup song, it has a surprisingly empowering vibe because the speaker is completely aware of the toxicity of their relationship.
“A Thousand Bad Times,” is another confident song about people attempting to take advantage of Malone, but because he’s seen it all before, it doesn’t affect him as much. At this point in the album I’ve come to appreciate the very celebrity point of view Malone writes in. I’m sure he knows many of the topics he writes about may not be directly relatable to many of his fans, but he stays true to who he is and where he’s at in his career—which is extremely respectable. “You say you don’t know me, but I know that’s false,” and I’ve certainly never been concerned with someone I’m meeting to not know who I am. Malone is being straight up though, and because of that we’re able to empathize with him and relate his lyrics to our own similar situations, which is exactly the way art works best.
“Circles” is a slower, more atmospheric track. It makes use of repetition in the chorus—easy to learn and sing-along to, so I predict this one will find itself in a lot of playlists centred on the tragedy of modern romance. It sounds nice, but it’s generic and I’m already sick of hearing it on the second play.
“Die For Me,” featuring Future and Halsey, begins stronger than most of the songs so far. With a radio hit-type beat, it’s the longest track on the album. Halsey’s feature is a nice change of pace (and pitch). Her voice suits the hip-hop beat very well, and she experiments with a lot of range—from belting to whispering—which is stimulating to listen to.
“On The Road” features Meek Mill and Lil Baby. The vocals distinguish this track from the rest. Malone’s staple voice is smooth and sounds inherently positive, however in this song, Malone finally sounds aggressive and it is amazing. This is the gym playlist song, the “fuck everyone, I’m coming out on top” song, and surely the, “I’m not about to have a breakdown, I’m going to work hard and ace this exam” song. We needed at least one of these, bless you Post Malone.
The first half of the album is, for the most part, what I expected. Though I was pleasantly surprised with some experimental lyrics which I’m always a sucker for (especially those that are reflective). There’s been some cliché topics and that’s a given: They make buck—but I’m hoping the next half of the album continues with Malone’s sincere and perceptive lyrics demonstrated in tracks, “Hollywood’s Bleeding,” and “A Thousand Bad Times.” The juxtaposition of bright beats under woeful words is working, and I’m excited to review and rank the second half of Hollywood’s Bleeding.