Following the success of his record-smashing sophomore album “Beerbongs & Bentleys,” singer and rapper Post Malone has returned with his third studio album and quite possibly his most ambitious project yet. Despite promising singles leading up to the album’s release and a variety of impressive features, “Hollywood’s Bleeding” oftentimes fails to deliver on Malone’s true potential as an artist and misses the mark more than it hits it. Minus a few obvious highlights and even career defining moments from the musician, Malone’s third record unfortunately lacks much of the heart and soul that have shaped his previous projects.
Throughout the duration of its seventeen track setlist, “Hollywood’s Bleeding” often finds itself in a juggling act with underdeveloped concepts, shallow lyrics and familiar indie pop- inspired production. In-between this juggling act though, Malone is occasionally able to hone in on his strengths and deliver shining moments of triumph. Although bogged down by more than a few unimaginative tracks, Malone undeniably delivers some of his best work to date in the midst of “Hollywood’s Bleeding.”
Generally though, these moments of triumph aren’t enough to make the project a truly cohesive one. Energetic and well-produced tracks like “Die for Me” (feat. Future & Halsey) and self-titled album opener “Hollywood’s Bleeding” repeatedly get dragged down with lackluster tracks like “Saint-Tropez” and short fillers like “I’m Gonna Be” and “Myself,” breaking up the flow of the album. In the end, Malone’s third outing leaves a surprisingly unbalanced ratio of replay-worthy songs to forgettable ones.
Rather than spend time developing and evolving his sound, Malone continues to take cheap shots by going for radio-friendly hits. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing and even works to his strengths in some cases, many of the songs on the record don’t go beyond having any value besides nice hooks and catchy melodies. “Staring at the Sun” (feat. SZA) for instance has the potential and star-power behind it to be unique and interesting, but rather ends up sounding like an empty carbon-copy of previously released pop-anthems like “Sunflower” (feat. Swae Lee).
In-between these more underwhelming moments of the album though, Malone fortunately comes through with his talent in other unexpected places. “Take What You Want” (feat. Ozzy Osbourne & Travis Scott), the undeniable stand-out track from the album, puts a lively energetic beat together with some of the most influential modern musicians and most alluring lyrics on the album. Malone takes a duo that in theory shouldn’t work together and makes it work in a new, refreshing, and eventful way, making this one song alone worth the price of admission. Other enjoyable tracks include “On the Road” (feat. Meek Mill & Lil Baby) and the Kanye West produced “Internet.”
While “Hollywood’s Bleeding” won’t do much in terms of converting non-listeners of Malone into mega-fans, it does do enough right to make it worth listening to. As always Malone delivers with smooth production, catchy choruses and a few eye-catching tracks, but does little to go above and beyond expectations on his third studio album.