Review: Post Malone's Album, "Stoney"
A Collection of Zoned Out, Ridiculously Contagious Highlights
Dallas singer/songwriter, rapper and guitarist Post Malone follows up his mixtape, 'August 26th', with a debut album entitled, 'Stoney'. ‘Stoney’ will appeal to those who appreciate post-party, vibey hip-hop and hazy trap music.
Listeners who were impressed with 21-year-old Malone’s all-conquering 2015 debut tune ‘White Iverson’, will surely find something to interest them on the new release, as the LP's tracklisting takes many cues from the basketball inspired hit. ’Stoney’ boasts chunky, low-riding, atmospheric production and a range of zoned out, ridiculously contagious highlights.
While some cuts stick mindlessly to the blueprint of ‘White Iverson’ (the house music-infused ‘Cold’, and the professionally advantageous, Justin Bieber-assisted ‘Deja Vu’ are two good examples), the rest of ‘Stoney’ invitingly expands on it. 'White Iverson’ is ultimately overshadowed by the insanely hooky ‘No Option’, ‘Patient’ and single 'Too Young’, to name a few.
The Texan Relies on His Singing Drawl to Impact
Several tracks see Malone wander away from the project’s hip-hop framework. There’s a contemporary fluidity attached to his more guitar-leaning offerings. As an artist, Malone isn’t particularly witty or dexterous. ‘Stoney’ isn’t exactly built upon layers of complexity. The emcee relies on current rap trends, as well as his auto-tuned rap/singing drawl to impact.
Admittedly, this brings Post Malone’s longevity as a recording artist into question. 'Stoney’ would be improved if the Texan was more creatively challenging. It’s certainly fulfilling to hear him deliver relatively brisk rap bars on spacious standout ‘Too Young’.
"Stoney" is Carried By Malone's Guy Next Door Relatability
To his credit though, Malone generally communicates from a perspective that a large chunk of listeners will be able to relate to. He doesn’t expend much energy trying to elevate himself above his followers on the record. Malone’s guy-down-the-street relatability carries ‘Stoney’, and peaks on the previously released ‘Go Flex’.
For example, the Texan doesn’t speak about women as if he’s constantly fighting them off with a stick. On more than one occasion, Malone alludes to the pain of being rejected by the opposite sex, and casually confesses to drinking alcohol in order to deal with life's daily pressures. Not all rap heads are going to appreciate his reachability, but there will be plenty who gravitate towards it.
Justin Bieber Gets Seductive on the Slow Burning "Deju Vu"
’Deja Vu’ with Justin Bieber, is a slow-burning, pop record. The tune has all the lightweight seduction and passing radio-appeal of Bieber’s recent chart successes. That said, there’s nothing show-stopping here, ‘Deja Vu’ is easily outshone by the album’s more substantial moments.
Wearing his heart on his sleeve, the cutting beats of ‘I Fall Apart’ feature the rapper attempting to absorb being spurned by a love interest. The track can feel a little overdone, its lyrics illustrate a simplistic approach to love. Still, Malone sounds impassioned on it, and stalwartly channels the emotions needed to pull off a track like this. The Texan surveys the rap industry on highlight ’Patient’, the cut’s choppy hip-hop bump is breezy and free-flowing. There’s a modest, danceable shuffle embedded within the tune, and ’Patient’ stands out because of it.
R&B Singer Kehlani and Malone Sing Sweet Nothings
R&B singer Kehlani joins Malone for moody, hip-hop offering ‘Feel’. The pair use the song to explore their intense attraction for each other. Although ‘Feel’ can get vacant, its production is deeply voluminous. Featuring rapper Quavo, ‘Congratulations’ muses on the positive and negative experiences Malone has faced since becoming a Jay Z endorsed rapper.
Taking total advantage of his elevated state, highlight ‘Up There’ finds Malone yearning to escape his earthly troubles. 'Up There' is an incredibly soothing, confessional listen. The ruggedly romantic, ‘Yours Truly, Austin Post’ is also completely unstressed. Over the track’s easy melodies, Malone describes coming down off an amazing high. Listeners can just sit back, zone out, and appreciate the cut’s cruising, clouded aura.
Post Malone Goes Too Far on "Hit This Hard"
Deluxe edition bonus ‘Leave’ is a strident, intense tune - the heartbroken track burns. Malone comes across wholeheartedly on it. The cut’s wailing, chanting harmonies are drenched in believable anguish. ‘Leave’ gets specially heavy when the Texan croons, “I kept wishing I would die ooh, the whole plane ride home. And I wish I could, I know I should leave you alone”.
‘Hit This Hard’ is an interesting, challenging, ambiguous hip-hop number. The track memorably depicts the Texan experiencing a chaotic, adverse reaction to illicit drugs. Malone’s vocals go from being distressed and throaty, to sounding degenerated and twisted. The tune’s beat is proudly unsteady, and repeatedly rejuvenates itself.
"Feeling Whitney" is A Humbled, Acoustic Confessional
Lifted from his mixtape 'August 26th', rapper 2 Chainz has no problem fitting into the plain-sailing setup of ‘Money Made Me Do It’ - a track in which Malone pays tribute to slain Atlanta rapper Bankroll Fresh. Thanks to fleeting island elements within its instrumental, the friendly, simplified hip-hop tune glistens with an unworried, sun-kissed vibration.
Malone performs over humbled guitar backing on ‘Feeling Whitney’. Propelled by cooing refrains, ‘Feeling Whitney’ is dreamy in its own way. The tune’s lyrics candidly explores the singer’s sense of isolation. Malone uses ‘Feeling Whitney’ to admit that he’s looking for a lover who’ll put up with his imperfections...as well as someone new to buy recreational substances from.