After 2018’s beerbongs & bentleys, Malone still gave us earworms with Hollywood’s Bleeding. He explores fame and fear with a sense of relatability and conviction for the masses, and captures the universal emotions of heartbreak and hope with catchy beats. It is to no one’s surprise the most talked-about album won the Best Album in the 2019 American Music Award (the AMAs).
A radio-favourite — “Circles”— is an addictive one. A song about guilt and pleasure is a guilty pleasure of mine. It is on repeat and I don’t mind it, but the nerve of him to sing about avoiding blame. Maybe that’s the magic of Malone; he makes it relatable. His frustration mirrors mine. “A Thousand Bad Times” endures because the song is about perseverance. (“It’s gonna take a lot more to kill me, bitch”) Of course, who could miss out the hit-maker “Sunflower” with Swae Lee for the soundtrack of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse in this album?
Each track in this album is an experience and Malone invests these emotions into each and every song. “Goodbyes” seems like something ripped from his heart: fervent and desperate. The 2-minutes track, “Internet” is candidly blunt but we appreciate his honesty. (“Fuck the internet, and you can quote that”). The sense of detachment in “Myself” despite acknowledging his own success is as refreshing as it gets.
My personal favourite, however, is “Staring at the Sun” featuring SZA. It reminds me of the Greek mythology of Icarus and the hamartia in all of us; there’s almost a guarantee that we are going to fail, but “give me a chance”. In retrospect, it makes no difference. “I can count on you to let me down.” It’s profoundly aggravating, and this song actually reveals a lot more about the millennial-boomer divide (yikes).
Like the way Malone ends his speech with “I love grapes” in the AMAs, is it really a surprise he ends off his album with “Wow.”? (“Yeah your grandmama probably know me.”)