Thursday, May 19, 2016

Song of the Day #305 - Post Malone - Boy Bandz

I got NSYNC dancin' on my neck

You prolly know Post Malone from White Iverson, which has 168 million views and is thus proof that nothing will ever make sense because things are too good to make sense. After each layer of novelty - his appearance, his flow, his falsetto, the lyrics - falls away, and the song proves resilient, still good, maybe even better than ever, you start to sense that maybe you're watching one of our greatest living musical geniuses.

But if you want further confirmation, check out some of his other songs, which are orders of magnitude less popular but pretty much equally good. This shit runs deep. This is my favorite, but it isn't really all that different from the rest of his catalog. Once again we've got our boy rapping about jewelry and money and luxury in a gigantic verse bolstered by a super-catchy hook that he repeats five times (still too few). The central image of "boy bands" hits a Riff Raff-esque sweet spot of meaninglessness and evocativeness... sure, it probably just means that he's making money on par with what NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys made, but it also seems to evoke the flashiness of early 2000s boy bands music videos... you know the shot where they're dancing on a stage, and it's all silver and blue, and there's tons of white lights flashing all over the place? I'm not sure what video(s) this scene actually appears in, but it forms the mental icon of the genre for me. And I think it's what Post Malone is picturing when he says that he has NSYNC dancing on his neck, that his diamonds are that flashy. And geez even if it is just about the money, there's something really great about reducing it not to "I got Backstreet Boys money" but just "I got Backstreet Boys". That transformation is a key part of many of my favorite aspects of hip hop writing.

And then the production, oh man. This was done by Shlohmo, so you know it's just absolute transcendent banger tier. My love for Shlohmo is often centered around his DJ sets or his instrumental work and I can go far too long without remembering that I first got into him through his hip hop production. How can I forget that he was the one who made Pretty Boy Swag into this wonky space odyssey, or made Hard in the Paint into Earthbound night music. Here he demonstrates an absolutely genius understanding of the potential of Post Malone's voice. The main vocals are paired with a staticky "shadow" effect, expanding them across the entire range of the song and flirting with an abrasive quality that really intrigues me. But then he also throws in these soaring samples of Malone vocalizations, sometimes echoing the main lines, sometimes totally abstracted from any sort of lyrical content. It's vaguely similar to some Thom Yorke songs, like The Hollow Earth... and now that I've said that, I've maybe driven away any readers who kept visiting this blog after my AMSP review, hahaha.

Anyways yeah, Post Malone is great. I haven't gotten to his latest mixtape yet but I'm pretty hyped. Like Lil Yachty, he's a stirring example of the ever-spreading pool of popular hip hop, a fertile ground for more voices every day.

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