"Beerbongs & Bentleys" is the second studio album by American rapper Post Malone, released by Republic Records on April 27, 2018. The album features guest appearances from Swae Lee, 21 Savage, Ty Dolla Sign, Nicki Minaj, G-Eazy and YG.
It would be churlish indeed to deny that a lot of the songs on Beerbongs & Bentleys are exceptionally well-turned, stuffed with hooks and powerful choruses: Rockstar’s global success had less to do with shenanigans involving YouTube than the fact that it’s a maddeningly catchy song, and there’s plenty more where that came from. Furthermore, while no great shakes as a rapper, Post Malone’s singing voice is impressive and the production is regularly tricked out with beautiful touches: the lovely Mellotron intro to Rich and Sad; the eerie, feedback-and-echo-heavy guitar that runs through Takin’ Shots. However, over a protracted period of time – and Beerbongs & Bentleys goes on and on like a charity telethon – there’s a paucity of original ideas, the sense that he has virtually nothing to say for himself, and that whatever he has, has already been said umpteen times before with considerably more skill, wit and impact. Meanwhile, the guest appearances are a mixed blessing. An impressive array of supporting talent has been assembled, seemingly with the express intention of showing Post Malone up: the gulf between what he does and the sparky power of Nicki Minaj’s guest verse on Ball for Me – “could have been a seamstress, still wouldn’t cut him slack” – feels immense.
Of course, Beerbongs & Bentleys’ defects might be less evident in smaller doses, if you consider it less as an album than a collection of songs made for picking and choosing, for filleting on to playlists, then the aforementioned hooks, choruses and production touches might well outweigh the repetitiousness and predictability. Listening to it, you understand both the charges against him and the reasons for Post Malone’s success, and you wonder how long his apparent impenetrability will last. Whether he can move with the times when the trends collated here change remains to be seen.
Reviewed by Alexis Petridis for theguardian.com.