There was a meme posted a bit ago which said something along the lines of “Post Malone makes music for guys who wear brightly colored tank tops and drink Bud Light.” At the time, I considered this a rather accurate assessment of Post Malone’s melodic, chart friendly sound as well as his party boy demeanor. Thus, I expected this sound from Beerbongs and Bentleys. However, seemingly in light of the aforementioned assessment, this album manages to overcome the immaturity and hit chasing of Stoney and develops Post Malone’s style into one characterized by catchy melodies, interesting vocal performances, and even the occasional moment of introspection.
Obviously, the album does invest itself into creating chart friendly songs, but Post’s approach to the composition of these songs avoids the obviousness of his earlier attempts while granting him a higher success rate. “Spoil My Night,” “Zack and Codeine,” “Same Bitches,” and “92 Explorer” all possess the catchiness of Post’s biggest success “White Iverson,” but they don’t feel like “White Iverson” clones in the way many of the songs on Stoney did. The focus on quirky but low key percussion as well as Post’s varied and excellent vocal performances make the aforementioned tracks both unique and sonically intoxicating. Each song comes with its own earworm melody as well, which Post is able to capitalize on in order to bring you back again and again.
Not every song dedicates itself to this mission, however, and it’s these songs that attempt to show us into Post Malone’s personal feelings. “Rich & Sad” is clearly the front-runner amongst these songs, as it manages to blend the elements intrinsic to the more catchy tracks while also speaking to Post’s lost love and his struggles with success. Sadly, the other more personal songs, such as “Stay,” “Blame It on Me,” “Otherside,” and “Over Now,” aren’t as attention grabbing. Yet, in what those songs lack in catchiness they attempt to make up for in emotional expression, a strategy that only partly works, making them passable but not extraordinary.
This “passing” is both what elevates this album and what keeps it below its true potential. While songs like “Ball for Me” and “Better Now” stand out within the 18 tracks, part of the reason for that is the sheer volume of unremarkable tracks. “Paranoid” is an example of such a song, as it isn’t exactly a banger or a ballad, but it isn’t particularly bad enough for a listener to really care about it during their listen through. It’s for this reason that Beerbongs and Bentleys needed a harsher fat trimming, as it comes to feel like flipping through channels, with some songs being HBO and some songs being the shopping network.
Regardless, this is some of Post Malone’s best work. He was able to hone his craft rather than chasing plays and it worked for him. Funny lyrics and emotional presence add a bit more depth to the character of Post Malone in a way that greatly benefits his music. Hopefully some of these other mainstream pop rappers can learn from this. Probably not, though.