Critical Voices: Hollywood’s Bleeding, Post Malone

September 18, 2019

The nine-month roll out for Post Malone’s third studio album, Hollywood’s Bleeding, felt like a rollercoaster. The quality of the singles varied wildly, from the compelling “Goodbyes,” to the superficially pretty but substance-devoid “Circles.” All of the inconsistencies hinted that Hollywood’s Bleeding would be a wildly incohesive album. These expectations turned out to be correct. 

Post Malone refines his downbeat, trap-influenced sound on tracks like “Goodbyes, and he succeeds in maintaining his melancholy demeanor while putting more energy and passion into his vocal delivery. He also expands his sound across the album as a whole. Over the course of the album, Post Malone does significantly more experimenting than he has done on previous albums. He has always had a tendency of genre-blending, but in the past, his sound has come across only as a watering down of other genres. On Hollywood’s Bleeding, he does less genre hopping within songs, and instead jumps from genre to genre across the tracks. One stand-out track, “Allergic,” has indie-rock-equse instrumentals, featuring a stomping beat with layers of fuzz and distortion, as well as some of Post Malone’s strongest vocals from the album. Over the course of the album, Post Malone explores numerous genres, ranging from country to metal, all the while sounding engaged and authentic.

Hollywood’s Bleeding experimented in terms of lyrical content, but with less success than that of the instrumental variation. “Internet” attempts to tackle topics like social media and mental health, but he comes across as out of his depth. Post Malone’s lackluster lyrics have always been one of his detracting features, and on certain tracks, the quality of the writing becomes unbearable. On “Die for Me,” the chorus is built around very stale, weak ideas, including lines such as “Said you’d die for me / But you lied to me.” Additionally, many songs like “I’m Gonna Be” and “Saint-Tropez” were incredibly forgettable, with bland lyrics that lean on tired tropes.

With a lengthy run time of 51 minutes and not enough interesting ideas to carry it, the album simply overstays its welcome. At its worst, it gets bogged down with filler track after filler track. However, there are exceptions in the album’s more experimental moments. In songs like “Enemies,” “Allergic,” and “Myself,” Post Malone pushes past his typical boundaries, creating some of the best songs of his career. While the album does not create a coherent sound for itself, Hollywood’s Bleeding feels like a valuable exploration, with many promising concepts and sounds that Post Malone may build upon in future records.

Anna Savo-Matthews
is an Assistant Leisure Editor and resident Frog and Toad lookalike. She is a senior in the college studying sociology and ethics and is a proud mother of a eight-year-old cactus.

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