Post Malone who, if you don’t know by now, has become a prominent figure in hip-hop recently for his blend of rapping and singing ever since he blew up in 2016. He released two albums, Stoney and Beerbongs & Bentley before this third album entitled Hollywood’s Bleeding. I have not listened to his first two albums as a whole, I just heard a lot of his singles here and there. So listening to Hollywood’s Bleeding was my first real exposure to how Post Malone is as an artist.
My initial expectations for this album weren’t really high to begin with. Based on the Post Malone material I’ve been exposed to, I wasn’t expecting something revolutionary or groundbreaking, I was hoping for a decent amount of bangers and sad boy music material along with good enough vocal performances from Post and standout features that made a lot of his songs famous.
With those expectations in mind, I thought the album was not bad. It wasn’t terrible but it also wasn’t amazing. More or less, it was what I would have expected from a Post Malone record. There were some tracks that probably didn’t need to be in the album but also standout tracks that truly showcased the potential Post has when it comes to making music.
For the most part, I think he did a good job of mixing hip-hop and trap with pop which at this point is his bread and butter. And he even stepped out of his boundaries in some of the tracks on here as well. However, again, there were a few duds in this album that take away from me fully enjoying it as a whole.
I’m still questioning the inclusion of Sunflower and Wow on this album which are good popular singles in their own right, but really don’t fit in with the sound and mood of the album. Sunflower is upbeat and Wow is a simple banger anthem and that clashed with the whole gloomy and dark aura surrounding the album. Tracks like Saint-Tropez, A Thousand Bad Times, and On the Road were pretty weak and could have easily been cut from this album because they never really stood out to me in a good or even a bad sense, they all sounded very by the numbers and all felt like they just came and went.
The highlights on this record for me, though, were the songs that sounded more experimental like the title track which also served as the opener, Hollywood’s Bleeding. It starts off with just a guitar instrumental but incorporates hip-hop instrumentals in the middle of the song. Another great track was Enemies which featured a really great verse from DaBaby. The two singles that supported this album, Circles and Goodbyes were also great songs. I liked the contrast Circles had by having sad lyrics and subject matter while having an indie pop instrumental. While for Goodbyes, it’s a good sad boy song that’s a good mix of hip-hop and pop and Young Thug’s verse was so emotional and he outshone Post in the track.
Staring at the Sun featuring SZA was another good track because, once again, Post uses these uplifting and upbeat sounding instrumentals but deliver personal, reflective, and basically sad subject matter as he contemplates on past relationships with SZA singing great as per usual. Die For Me featuring Future and Halsey was also pretty good considering how hit or miss Future and Halsey can be. Future was great in his verse with his falsetto voice and Halsey doing the singing rapping hybrid flow was pretty interesting to hear as well.
However, I think the best track in this whole record is Take What You Want featuring the legendary Ozzy Osbourne and Travis Scott. It sounds like a weird combination on paper and had the potential to be a trainwreck but this song was fantastic and brought out the best out of everyone. Everything came together beautifully, to the haunting mood Osbourne sets with the first chorus and with Post talking about his emotional baggage and Travis Scott’s great verse to the guitar solo that ends this track. The track is a masterful blend of hip-hop and rock elements and this is already one of my favorite Post Malone songs of all time.
Overall, I think this is a decent album that has skippable lows but also great highlights that you will come back to from time to time. As a project, it may not be as focused or as cohesive enough to listen to as a whole again but some of the songs on this record sound good enough to be listened to on their own. Despite its flaws, this is good enough for me to look out for whatever’s next with Post Malone.