Beerbongs & Bentleys

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Reviewer

Kristin Smith

Album Review

He says his life is “sweet.”

And Post Malone—otherwise known as Austin Richard Post—has a lot to say about living the supposed good life on his sophomore effort, Beerbongs and Bentleys.

A New York native, this “genreless” artist has bounced around from the East coast to the West, and his musical style has followed suit. He’s been in a heavy metal band, plays guitar and now likes to think of himself as an artist without borders, someone who’s perfectly comfortable with making music that fits the moment.

And fit the moment it certainly does. Post Malone dropped his first album, Stoney, back in 2016. And it’s been a chart stalwart ever since, still hovering in the top 20 after 72 weeks. Now he’s back with Beerbongs and Bentleys, which generated an eye-popping 400 million streams in its first week of release (topping the previous record of 385 million streams set by Drake).

Beerbongs and Bentleys showcases Post Malone’s eclectic style, as well as guests such as Nicki Minaj and 21 Savage. And it also glorifies the hedonistic lifestyle that’s made his life both sweet and salty.

Pro-Social Content

After you wade through all of its objectionable content, “Zach and Codeine” has a couple of good things to say. First, Malone realizes that his lifestyle (as self-destructive as it is) “don’t mean nothing without all my people.” Second, he’s learned to keep his distance from those who are only out for his money: “Made a hundred bands, so all your hands out/No my friend, can’t do no handouts.”

In “Blame It on Me,” Malone admits to losing himself in his material possessions but insists he’s found his way back: “Almost lost myself, couldn’t stop myself, I did it all … /Yeah, I played the game but it was all for the show/Tryna find my way, I nearly lost it though.” Similarly, in “Paranoid” he realizes what his excess-filled lifestyle is doing to him and confesses some of his struggles: “Mind is running all day/Cost me more than money, and I’m paying the price, yeah/I ain’t going nowhere/Killing myself so I can make me a life, yeah.”

In “Rich & Sad” and “Stay,” he tries to woo an ex by promising he’s willing to set aside his addictions to make time for her.

Objectionable Content

Every song on this album—all 18 of ’em—points to the hedonistic lifestyle that Malone has so wildly embraced. Infidelity, sex with random women, making money, getting high and getting drunk are the subjects he focuses on the most. In songs such as “Zach and Codeine,” “Rich and Sad,” “Sugar Wraith,” “Candy Paint,” “92 Explorer,” “Jonestown,” “Spoil My Night,” “Same B–ches,” “Psycho,” “Rockstar,” “Takin’ shots” and “Ball For Me,” Malone details the many vices that contribute to his state of ecstasy.

On “Zach and Codeine,” for instance, we hear, “Man, my life so sweet, I feel like Cody (Cody)/I wake up, rinse my mouth with f—in’ codeine (codeine)/We on a bender, we ain’t gettin’ no sleep (no sleep)/We turned the hotel lobby to a party.” And there’s plenty more like that where this song came from.

Another hot topic is a certain destructive relationship he describes in songs like “Stay,” “Otherside,” “Over Now” and “Better Now.” A difficult breakup generates massive emotional painfor him, which Post Malone douses with anger, sex and substance abuse. And in “Over Now” he tells someone, “Won’t apologize, don’t give a f— if you’re offended.” (Frequent and similarly harsh profanities earn “Explicit” warnings on 15 of 18 songs.)

“Paranoid” and “Blame It On Me” explore Malone’s struggles with the anxiety, mistrust and loneliness that inevitably accompany fame. But that introspection doesn’t always lead in healthy directions: He says he’s willing to defend himself with his vast gun collection, if need be. In “Paranoid,” we hear, “Never know when someone come and try to take my life/I been sleeping with the .44 like every night … /And I wake up every day with this anxiety.”

Summary Advisory

Stylistically, Post Malone hooks his fans by seamlessly alternating between acoustic guitar, rap, hip-hop and R&B. It’s definitely a creative effort, and it’s not hard to understand why he’s so popular.

But lyrically: Wow. There are some huge problems here.

Malone seems to be struggling to escape from himself, from the many internal demons he battles. Yet, the sad reality is that his escape comes through alcohol, drugs, cheap sex, money and material possessions. He seems to know that his excess-filled “rock star” lifestyle will never make him truly happy. But the perpetual pursuit of pleasure remains his ultimate goal.

As he says in one of his songs, “I do what I want.”

Ain’t that the truth.

Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).

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