Post Malone’s new album echoes a modern American joy and sadness of living our individual lives

Post Malone’s new album tackles modern American living, and the common everyday ups and downs faced in exceedingly individualistic culture.



Post Malone performs during the 61st Grammy Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Kyler Johnson, Arts Reporter

I don’t think there’s a single week that I don’t sit in my room and use my speaker to have music playing the background — this week, it’s been Hollywood’s Bleeding, the latest work from Austin Post, better known as Post Malone.

Each song takes us through a new level of Post’s personal world: being drained by industry in the titular song “Hollywood’s Bleeding”; being wrecked toxic relationships in “Allergic”; being the subject of infatuation yet knowing our own faults in “Staring At The Sun.” In all of it, he strikes a message home. Albeit done in abstract and sometimes fragmented lyrics, we can feel one thing: he’s exhausted just like most of the American public.

For how much he talks about toxicity in relationships throughout the album, Post, on the contrary, has quite a versatile range of collaborations on the record.

In “Die For Me”, he includes more contemporary artists like Halsey and Future, and he throws us back in “Take What You Want,” tossing Ozzy Osborne into the mix.

The act of all these collaborations goes to show what can happen when we reach outside of our own personal bubbles, when we break that individualism. Also, when was the last time you heard Ozzy Osborne put out a modern American bop? Right, that’s what I thought.

But even with the collaborations, one of the key ideas that pierces through on the album is Post’s individuality. He is the one who built that version of him, and, most importantly, he is going to show off that version no matter what other people think.

Social media’s summer has been flooded with this idea of a “hot girl summer”— a cry for individualist actions without justification, doing whatever it is that we need to do for ourselves without apology. Post’s rattling lyrics chain him to a similar idea. However, he pushes beyond a buzzword, rallying instead behind his personal artistry as his way to explore such an idea.

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He develops a theme of hurt around those who use and abuse in “Take What You Want,” which he contrasts with the carefree, joyful beats of its subsequent tune “I’m Gonna Be.” He then goes further with a personal admittance of not being what someone needs in “Sunflower.” The diversity of messages leaves us all drowning in so many emotions. We feel terrible, wonderful, and apologetic for who we are and what we’ve done. That’s what we call a powerful artistic moment.

But at the end of the day, it’s a moment. A pause from the cycle, a reflection. Which means for now, it’s back to routine. I’m sure by the end of this week, my speaker will be giving a monotoned spiel about a dying battery with how much I’ve been playing the album. I’ll either relate to its plight or not, based on how I’m feeling, and then go on back to the grind, the go-go-go lifestyle I lead.

Maybe it’ll lead me to where I want to go. Maybe it’ll lead me to disaster. But it’s mine. And if there’s one thing a dosage of Post has taught me: living for you can be one of the most beautifully dangerous things to our existence.