One of the best examples of “You can’t judge a book by its cover”, or least, I can’t judge a book by its cover, is Post Malone. His appearance, complete with lots of face ink (and everywhere else), led me to believe his sound was pretty hard-edged, and perhaps some of it is, but on the album “Hollywood’s Bleeding”, which was the #1 selling album of 2019, I can’t reiterate enough what a wonderfully chill and enjoyable record this ultimately proved to be. I had some foreshadowing of this, as I had latched on to the mega-hit “Circles” not long after its release, and have loved that song for some time now. However, I still thought it might be an exception to the rule, and while there is some straight-up hip-hop, particularly from some of his collaborators, but in total, this is just a really laid back and well done record that is very easy on the ears.
I will say that in general, I prefer the straight pop and R&B blend on this record. Not that I don’t love hip-hop, but most of the collaborations feel a bit oddly placed and disruptive to the tone and sound of the songs. There is one collaboration that surely caught me by surprise, and one that oddly worked as well. Just about the last person I expected to hear on this record was Ozzy Osbourne, but there he was, appearing on yet another current and radio-friendly hit, “Take What You Want”. He has a performance shelf-life that easily extends beyond his peer group. As far as collaborations go, I did also enjoy “Staring at the Sun”, featuring SZA. This was not released as a single, but it is definitely one of my favorites out of many on this album.
Aside from “Circles”, which is still number one for me, my next favorite song is “Myself”, which also was not released as a single. It is a great melody and very infectious from the first listen, just as I like it. Other favorites, most of which were not singles, include “Saint Tropez”, “A Thousand Bad Times”, and “I’m Gonna Be”. Another great song “Sunflower – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”, which came from the soundtrack of the film, features Swae Lee, who also has a great voice. One last song I loved that I would highlight is “I Know”.
I knew I loved “Circles”, but I completely underestimated how much I enjoyed the rest of this album. I look forward to adding many of these tunes to my master playlist, and exploring more of his catalog, whether it be past, present or future.