Post Malone’s “Psycho”

What you see is most definitely not what you get.

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What do you make of a guy like Post Malone? I’m still trying to figure it out myself. It seems he’s more thought-out than he appears at the outset.

I’ll say it, we all know it — Post Malone is ugly… But who cares, right?

Well, the music industry tends to. Among hip-hop culture, image plays a massive role in mainstream popularity. We’ve come to expect a certain persona from so-called “rappers.”

Does a misfit appearance make or break an artist? No, not necessarily. However, it creates an interesting dichotomy.

It’s like a 5’8” guy dunking a basketball. The dunk is just as effective as anyone else — you get the same result, the ball went in. But the fact it’s that guy throwing it down makes it a little more awe-inspiring.

Post Malone is that 5’8” guy dunking a basketball. White Iverson in action. He’s a unique player in the game. You can’t help but look beyond his appearance because his sound overrides all his visual imperfections; his music is prepossessing and fair.

The Song

Our latest sample to pull from is “Psycho,” a surprising simple track that’s managed to top charts in just days. You wanna talk about structure? Chorus, verse, chorus, verse, chorus — that’s the song.

Post has a verse and so does that other guy, Tyler Dollar Sign.

There’s not much to it… but it feels like there is.

I see songs as a texture. (That’s 3 of the 5 senses if you’re paying attention.) Music is like that; it’s nuanced and received in diverse ways.

When I first heard “Psycho,” I immediately responded to the production. It’s beautifully layered, like you can touch it. Between the tinging strings, the loopy synth, and the shifting sub-bass, the song feels impressively full.

To me, it’s the strongest element of the track.

Lyrics

I’ve never considered lyrics to be a defining factor for an artist like Post Malone. He’s far more concerned with bass lines and real instrumental implementation — but he is what he is. You get the same lyrical content you would with any other new-age hip-hop/trap artist.

The lyrics are mostly about the new social class Post has suddenly entered into.

But, his mood seems within reach. With lines likecan’t really trust nobody” and “I got homies, let it go,” (or whatever he says here) you get a sense of self-sufficiency and groundedness.

There are staples in the song where listeners can relax and enjoy the moment…

“And I’m like wooooaaaaah.”

That’s really what this song is: a feel-good track. After all, Post is on his “aye-flow” anyway (he throws in a quick “aye” after every line in verse one). It’s not meant to go that deep.

If you sit back and pick apart the lyrics, you’ll be disappointed.

So don’t.

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(Yawn)

The funny thing about Posty are his ‘I’m-really-rich-and-underwhelmed’ lines. He’s half cocky, half grim 100% of the time: “Made my first million, I’m like shit this is it.”

I’ve spotted his lack of zeal in other smash hits, as well. Take “Congratulations” for example:

“They were never friendly. Now I’m jumpin’ out a Bentley. And I know I sound dramatic.”

Like no Stone Malone, you don’t sound dramatic AT ALL. It sounds like you’ve been waiting on it, so he’s got this calm air about him. You can sense he’s sort of “meh” about all his massive success.

But I guess that’s just hip-hop… Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

Branding

Branding in hip-hop can get out of whack at times. It’s commonplace to find cover art and album covers completely out of sync with the sound and/or artist.

“Psycho” seems to be one of those songs.

The junk yard, the wolf, even the title; no way, whatsoever does it relate to the content of the song. It just doesn’t line up.

That’s the give and take of the song.

I do want to credit “Psycho’s” YouTube video though. Technically, it’s just the official audio but it goes beyond that. It sits at a clever sweet spot between full-motion visual and still-image audio.

In the video, you view the same scene the entire time — but it feels alive. The camera floats about, light fixtures malfunction, and this mysterious creature twitches in the dark; it’s super creative, really.

I admire how the focus remains on the sound and production of the song. A lot of music videos do too much these days.

This is a pleasant switch-up.

Overall, I think “Psycho” is a great bridge into what will become Post Malone’s second full-length project Beerbongs & Bentleys.

It’s safe to say this is a highly anticipated album… with this single, the stakes are even higher.

- AZ

Thanks for rockin’. I’m on the bird, too.

Bored, uneducated, homeless — em dashes are my specialty. I write what I see, think, and feel. That’s it.

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