Everyone is unique in their own way, whether that be through their appearance, height, or hair color, we all share the love of music. These days there’s many new up and coming artists creating new music and genres that appeal to an audience through the beat, sound, or lyrics. With the vast variety of music, there is bound to be something out there for any individual. History has proven this by the evolving changes music has gone through in past centuries, from the spread of Christianity developing European music in the year 325 to a young adult creating EDM (Electronic Dance Music) beats on his/her computer in 2018. Certainly, it won’t stop here, we can expect more changes in the years to come, which is the best part.
Music is a form of expression and art that can provoke feeling and emotions that one can’t describe with words. Songs with lyrics add to the distinct sensation one feels because the poetic lyrics tell a story and turns passion into words. Due to this, it is evident that the music industry will never “die out” because musicians have a strong relationship with their music which forms a stronger one with their fans. According to AWAL.com, there are predictions that state “streaming will be a key factor in driving growth in the music industry by 5% each year until 2020” -3-, this proves that music will continue to spread, and with this expansion comes monetary profit. A forecast created by Goldman Sachs predicts that the music market will be worth $41 billion dollars by the year 2030 (-1-).
An outcome like this wouldn’t have been possible without the contributions of great artists and musicians of the past and present. The shift in music can be seen in the middle ages, when “the church cultivated, supported, and directed music as it did art, architecture, poetry…” (Lecture Slide). Later, “a social awakening was occurring in the music” (Lecture Slide) and plainchant was veering off from the church. Composers include: Antonio Stradivarius (who became the ‘godfather’ in the string community), Johann Sebastian Bach (known as the ‘godfather of fugue’), Charles Ives (first American modernist), and so on Lecture Slides. No doubt about it, there are still admirers of these men to this day, but to me, there is a modern artist that truly captures my attention.
This artist is publicly known as “Post Malone” who emerged in the music world in 2015 with his first hit “White Iverson” which reached a million views within a month (-2-). Post Malone’s real name is Austin Richard Post, currently 23 years old, born on July 4, 1995 in Syracuse, New York. Post first became inspired to create music through the game Guitar Hero (2009) and watching YouTube videos, recording his first mixtape at age 16. -4-. One of the best features of Post is his appeal to a vast audience, his unique style of “combining a pop-friendly ear for melody with hip-hop production and rock sensibilities” -5- has gained the admiration of fans all over the nation.
Culturally, Post faces criticism as “a white artist making a lot of money making rap-influenced music” -5- because most expect him to stick to pop music instead of rapping, but his success has proved otherwise. Post Malone himself has stated “if anybody’s still living in the mindset that only one race can make one certain type of music and that another race can only make another, that’s a very outdated way of thinking” -5-. Malone’s honesty and genuine personality has gained him a faithful following and seen as a likeable musician. That’s one of the things artists these days have a difficulty of balancing, some may make great music but have had unethical actions. There are artists that have been involved in controversies, been arrested, or have ongoing court feuds. Malone himself “deflects controversies and navigates backlash by being honest and up-front about his intentions” -5- which reflects in his songs.
One song that stands out from Malone’s sophomore album ‘Beerbongs and Bentleys’ released in April 2018 is “Better Now.” This song is a reflection of Post’s past relationship with an ex, believing that both still have feelings for each other and apologizing for letting her down. -6- Throughout the song, Post expresses what he feels, how he tries to move on, and his raw feelings for the girl he lost.
In the first ten seconds of the song, there is an eerie sound of a voice partnered with strums of a guitar emitting a desolate feeling. Then going into the chorus:
“You prolly think that you are better now, better now
You only say that ’cause I’m not around, not around
You know I never meant to let you down, let you down
Woulda gave you anything, woulda gave you everything”
Malone speaks directly to his ex, stating that she’s possibly doing better than he is after the break up and hinting that he would do anything for her. As post sings the chorus, the guitar strum follows in the background while the focus is on Malone’s voice, then in the second round of the chorus, sharp electronic beats are heard as a lead-up to the first verse.
Part of the first verse continues with the guitar playing in the background while Post’s voice is joined with electronic beats keeping the tempo of the song:
“I did not believe that it would end, no
Everything came second to the Benzo
You’re not even speakin’ to my friends, no
You knew all my uncles and my aunts though”
In the middle part of the verse, the electronic beat speeds up because the lyrics sung here need more emphasis, reflecting on what Malone thought of the relationship; his view of something permanent but realizing that it won’t happen:
“We were lookin’ forward to the rest of our lives
Used to keep my picture posted by your bedside
Now it’s in your dresser with the socks you don’t like”
Now, the last past of the verse is when the music goes back to Malone’s voice where he makes an attempt at moving on by drinking alcohol, but even that can’t erase the thoughts, nor the feelings Malone has towards the girl:
“Drinkin’ Henny and I’m tryna forget
But I can’t get this shit outta my head”
Then Post sings the chorus again leading into the second verse where he feels shattered that she has moved on with another guy while he also tries to do the same by spending money, but it doesn’t work because he’s remembering the past:
“I seen you with your other dude…
I was so broken over you
Life it goes on, what can you do?
I just wonder what it’s gonna take
Another foreign or a bigger chain
Because no matter how my life has changed
I keep on looking back on better days”
When the chorus comes around again the bridge that comes after, serves as the climax of the song before it ends with the chorus one more time. It is simple yet delivers the tender sentiment in Malone’s heart that he will try to move on although he just lost his beloved. The music becomes soft in order to give attention to what Post is singing while in the background, echoes can be heard:
“I promise
I swear to you, I’ll be okay
You’re only the love of my life”
This was the grand ending of the song, the music is in compound meter, switching back and forth between a slow and fast beat; only slowing down on parts where Malone expresses pure endearment. The use of the guitar throughout the song keeps it steady, unlike mainstream music that is heavily autotuned, this song is centered around Malone’s natural voice. The song has beautiful lyrics that speak to me. Relating to what he’s saying with relationships; emotions are confusing, and thoughts are all over. Post Malone sets himself apart from others in the music industry, he does sing about money and a lavish lifestyle in his songs, but at the same time, he can pour deep feelings into a song and show another side of him, something raw that connects with his fans.


I'm Katy

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