Post Malone’s ‘Hollywood’s Bleeding’ exceeds expectations

Maya Nayak

Singer and rapper Post Malone has already established himself as one of the most influential artists in the music industry, despite being relatively new to it. Malone has never adhered soundly to any one genre, and his third studio album, Hollywood’s Bleeding, serves as a testament to that. His latest eclectic venture bests an already compelling discography. Its diversity in collaborations and instrumentation makes for what is one of the most successful genre-warping undertakings of the past year.

Title track “Hollywood’s Bleeding,” which opens the album, sees Malone crooning over a slow tempo guitar riff. Malone’s purpose for creating the album – to critique Hollywood’s desire to suck the life out of him – is best reflected in this song, where he likens “vampires feedin’” to Hollywood executives. Despite Malone’s view that “Hollywood is bleeding,” Malone shares that “[he] still [calls] it home.” Its instrumentation is also decidedly eerier than Malone’s previous projects, indicative of the darker hues that command the first half of the album.

“Allergic” is arguably the best track on the project. Its purposefully jarring, bold opening steadily resolves into Malone’s nostalgic indie melodies. Malone juxtaposes his somber lamentations of a toxic relationship with saccharine, soppy vocals. Its timbre is frequently distorted, yielding a dramatic, rock-esque sound. 

Otherwise, Malone is most at home on rap-learning tracks. The instrumentation on “Enemies” is remarkable, with bouncy percussive and trap effects. Malone adeptly sings the infectious hook, perfectly framing and balancing DaBaby’s aggressive flow and witty lyricism. On “Saint Tropez,” Malone delivers a dissertation on the merits of retail therapy. Both are reminiscent of Malone’s older work but don’t feel out of place on the otherwise mostly pop and rock album.

On paper, the multitude of collaborations on Hollywood’s Bleeding seem preposterous. “Take What You Want” pits heavy metal icon Ozzy Osbourne with hip-hop heavyweight Travis Scott. “Die For Me” features both trap artist Future and electro pop singer Halsey. In practice, the collaborations work together. On both efforts, Malone and the featured artists tone down their normal styles to create a pop sound palatable to fans of most genres.

Occasionally, however, Malone is outshined by featured artists. SZA dominates the foreground on “Staring at the Sun” with winding, mesmerizing melodies. Malone, though sadly in the periphery on his own album, admittedly does grant additional texture to the track. On “Sunflower,” similarly, Swae Lee and Malone’s parts are blatantly disproportionate – Malone is absent until the second verse.

Malone frequently veers from his typical playful bravado. At times, he’s referencing the Jonas Brothers and his affinity for pricey Crocs. Elsewhere, he laments about the pitfalls of his newfound fame and relationships that have gone awry. Here, his iconic auto-tuned vocals serve more of an artistic purpose than to make up for any vocal shortcomings. 

The chilling, robotic distortion present throughout the album make it abundantly clear that Malone’s celebrity status has not detached him from reality, crafting a dreary narrative that is as credible and incredible as ever.


Photo courtesy of Genius