Pop music is rarely interesting these days. White-washed R&B that would be nothing without a TikTok-friendly snippet and a made-for-radio hook qualifies for good music in 2023. Sure, people who use terms like “bop” and phrases like “vibes are immaculate” see little wrong with the worrying churn that’s turning the music industry into a goal-shifting sycophant desperately trying to go viral on TikTok. The rest of us, however, may feel like pop music has lost what little soul it had left.
It’s gotten to the point where I actually think Rebecca Black’s “Friday” was ahead of its time and that Ark Music Factory (the cretins behind such exploitative pop bops) were true pioneers in this game. Patrice Wilson, the guy who rapped on each of these songs and ran Ark Music Factory with his business partner Clarence Jey, is basically the Kanye West of TikTok-friendly pop music (TikPop?)
Lizzo, Taylor Swift, Charlie Puth. All pop stars that have pushed boundaries and created massive fandoms over the past decade. However, I think it’s Post Malone that’s fast emerging as pop’s most interesting savant.
And to think it all started with the on-trend “White Iversion” – a song I never really cared for.
In fact, I never really paid too much attention to Post Malone until recently. “Rockstar” and “Wow” are fun, but I’m very much surface-level when it comes to Post Malone’s music.
Yet, ahead of his upcoming tour of Australia. I decided to dig deeper into his catalogue. What I found was what makes pop music so great. Taylor’s subtle excursions into other genres outside of her country-pop roots has given her music a lot of depth. Songs like “Cruel Summer” and “Blank Space” are intelligent, catchy and pointed. But think about it and it’s still pop. It’s still vanilla. It’s not Beyonce.
Malone, on the other hand, represents the heart of pop right now. The pastiche of sounds that first built rock & roll into the seminal style it is today. He takes hip hop, R&B, rock and country, mainly, and blends it into interesting, paradigm-shifting music that’s fueled by raw emotion.
Dude is also just a really nice guy. And while I haven’t met him, internet chatter positions him as somewhat of the music industry’s Keanu Reeves. Everyone who has met him hasn’t a bad thing to say about him.
And maybe that’s what makes his music so great. Him. He shows his vulnerability and personality on songs like “Chemicals” while easily gliding through softer songs like “Sunflower”.
Such a thought requires no deeper exploration. Post Malone is the perfect pop star for our time, and he represents what should be the gold standard right now. Exploratory, interesting music that appeals equally to people who call songs “bops” and those that still maintain that music is the most important artform in history.
Post Malone just may be the gold-standard pop star of our time. In my opinion, the only other choice is Beyonce.
Post Malone arrives in Australia for a three-show tour this month.
Thursday 23d November – Brisbane Showground, Brisbane
Wednesday 29th November – The Domain, Sydney
Thursday 30th November – Melbourne Showgrounds, Melbourne