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Post Malone Turns Vices Into Pure Synth-Pop in ‘Austin’: Album Review



With “Austin,” Put up Malone has lastly gone full pop star — versus partial “Rockstar,” or hip-hop-adjacent star, or the rest he may’ve beforehand represented or flirted with. The Put up Malone we hear right here would have been laborious to think about a couple of albums in the past, when he was using visitor rappers by the boatload (there are none on the brand new report) and embracing entice sounds (additionally just about now absent). If he was going to show himself from a part-time rapper into one thing else, you might need guessed he’d turn into a rock dude, like Machine Gun Kelly. However no. “Austin” is his bid to make one thing so unabashedly pop that it’s virtually a cousin to the ‘80s-inflected music Harry Styles has been making lately … with some wrinkles, obviously, that make this “Posty’s Home.”

What units it aside from that firm is how almost each catchy, singalong track, among the many 18 right here, has Getting Wasted as both a main or secondary theme. Past the Kinds comparability, you may hear echoes of the Weeknd in how Malone is ready to combine a light-weight really feel with descriptions of decadence — though, listening to this album, even the Weeknd may step up and say: “Dude, maybe you need to feel your face a little more often.”

This lyrical concern isn’t precisely new territory for Malone. He’s been constructing a complete catalog round it, most just lately with final 12 months’s “Twelve Carat Toothache,” a largely miserable however fascinating challenge during which he sang flagrantly about bottoming out, or coming near it. That final album was so downbeat in its confessional substance-abuse themes that it got here near feeling like Posty was daring {the marketplace} to just accept it by itself phrases as a celebrity downer. (A cheerful outlier single, “I Like You,” with Doja Cat, boosted “Toothache’s” fortunes, however that track appeared thrown onto the in any other case self-loathing album virtually as a gag.)

“Austin” is a a lot, a lot, way more overtly business report; there aren’t many tunes among the many 13 that you may’t think about sounding simply fantastic on Prime 40 radio. variety of the songs begin out with acoustic strumming, as if to betray their origins as bed room folkie demos, earlier than virtually with out exception they shortly flip into synth-pop bops. So a part of the album’s better mass palatability than its predecessor has to do with “Austin’s” plethora of hooks and canny manufacturing, which depend as virtually mercenary of their radio-friendliness, thanks clearly largely to the assistance of two of the highest co-writer-producers within the enterprise, Andrew Watt and Louis Bell (and, on two tracks, Max Martin and Rami Yacoub). However a part of it’s simply Malone having reverted again to a spot of having the ability to write candidly about his love of getting fucked up with out sounding like he’s about to die.

It’s laborious to say whether or not it’s a very good factor or an unhealthy factor that the singer has introduced himself to such a spot of acceptance about his unhealthy habits that he was capable of make such a comparatively upbeat and infectious album about them once more with out truly altering his methods. “Twelve Carat Toothache” gave the impression of the start of knowledge, whereas “Austin” is form of a combination of self-realization and denial. However he’s nonetheless a very attention-grabbing songwriter — always realizing and proudly owning himself, arising with some LOL lyrics at his personal expense, exploring the tensions between hedonism and, nicely, realizing at the least a little higher. The truth that he’s now squeezing all these morally ambiguous autobiographical asides into excellent pop shells makes the album an intriguing pleasure, even when Posty is never presenting himself as upstanding.

As in, he’s actually not standing up when, in “Mourning,” he sings, “Throwing up is easy / And who put on the Commodores / That’s a nice tile floor / Wish I got to know you more.” (The track is known as “Mourning” as a result of the dawn “is killing my buzz.”) The album virtually performs out as an prolonged romantic triangle between Put up Malone, his lady and his smokes/drinks/no matter. “Took my cigarettes and flushed ‘em down the drain / OK, OK, I’m lying,” he sings within the closing “Laugh It Off.” That quiet finale is a breakup track that expresses some unhappiness in letting us know the cigs gained out, however not a lot melancholy that you simply’d stroll away with any expectation that the following album will probably be his 12-stop report.

It feels like sobering stuff on paper. However on report, plenty of these songs play out as breezily as Kinds’ “As It Was.” It’s a report that’s in fixed battle with itself, utilizing candor and humor as a self-conscious type of denial, perhaps; the easygoing infectiousness of the music all the time is reassuring us that there’s nothing to fret about amid all this conspicuous consumption. Maybe sometime he’ll write an album about cleansing up his methods, and this album will probably be remembered as an attention-grabbing stepping stone alongside the best way, or perhaps he’ll trod the subject material of his ambivalent angle towards his personal vices indefinitely, to diminishing impact. However with some actual pop maestros on the helm of “Post” — and perhaps it’s time to incorporate Malone himself beneath that description — it does go down straightforward.

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