In the year and a half following his multi-platinum full-length debut, Post Malone continued his climb up the celebrity ladder, extending Stoney's success with the number one single "rockstar" and second-place follow-up "Psycho." Those tracks landed on his chart-topping second effort, Beerbongs & Bentleys, which arrived in spring 2018. With a team of producers including Louis Bell, PartyNextDoor, Scott Storch, and London on da Track, the set benefits from livelier beats and varied atmospherics, especially when he steps outside of his narcotic comfort zone. However, much like Stoney, it wears out its welcome with a bloated track list and abundance of tiresome, overly dramatic lyrics that often veer into gross and wildly misogynistic territory as Post delivers lines about "beautiful boobies," putting a woman's privates "in a motherf***ing bodybag," and his inability to "make a ho a housewife." Elsewhere, he tries to convey his swirling emotions with gravitas, yet ends up sounding like an ungrateful kid who enjoys the benefits but can't handle the work. "Paranoid," "Rich & Sad," and "Jonestown (Interlude)" are just a few peeks into this tortured soul. Half-rapping, half-singing, he laments that he "can't get no relief," convinced authorities and enemies are following him, even comparing himself to Edward Snowden at one point. He sleeps with a gun, he's lost family, friends, and lovers, and wishes all the money could buy something meaningful. Such bids for sympathy fall flat most of the time, especially considering the abundance of hedonistic odes to sex, drugs, and rap-rock & roll. "Zack and Codeine," "Takin' Shots," "rockstar," and "Same Bitches" are carefully tailored to maintain his reputation, but like his appropriated image, feel forced and disingenuous. Post fares slightly better when he sticks to simple, relatable topics like love and heartbreak. Wading through the murky gloom, a handful of standouts reveal themselves on the latter half of the album. "Otherside" and "Blame It on Me" bleed like lost Auto-Tuned ruminations from 808s & Heartbreak, while the tender acoustic number "Stay" is Post's most natural offering here. Guests like Swae Lee and Ty Dolla $ign get lost in the mix, while G-Eazy, YG, 21 Savage, and Nicki Minaj bolster Post's credibility while stealing the spotlight on their respective tracks. Beerbongs & Bentleys is an apt reflection of his lavish lifestyle and his subsequently begotten hardships, but its attempts at sincerity work only when Post Malone stops trying so hard.
AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung