Post Malone: ​​Twelve Carat Toothache Album Review

Nearly a decade into his career, Post Malone has largely shed the baggage of his younger years — the days of cornrows, gold grills, saucin’ and short-sighted comments about rap music. He’s a nine-time Grammy nominee and a stylish man who, at a glance, has stopped getting tattoos — at least not on his face. He has become part of the pop music establishment, and his fourth studio album, Twelve carat toothacheis accordingly sleek, streamlined, and a little less vulgar and ostentatious than his earlier work — a sign that Malone is taking himself more seriously, for better or for worse.

For someone so outwardly colorful, Malone has long been a straightforward lyricist with funny and curious twists in his songs. There was, of course, the absurd saucin’-and-swaggin’ chorus of “White Iverson,” as well as his amusing childish mention of “beautiful boobies” on “Spoil My Night.” But he also includes unlikely people in his memorable moments, such as praising Bon Scott on “Rockstar” or singing “Come with the Tony Romo for clowns and all the bozos” on “Psycho.” Even when he bows, Malone tends to expose the mistrust of his own desires, as on Beerbons & Bentleys songs “Takin’ Shots” and “Same Bitches.” on Twelve carat toothache, he continues to play straight, declaring on the opening track, “I was born to raise hell/I was born to take pills,” and “I was born to fuck hoes/I was born to fuck up.” There are probably more arty ways of articulating those feelings, but that’s not how he works: he instantly delivers what’s in front of him, whether that’s the front of his mind or a forward-facing mirror, as in “Cooped Up” when he lists exactly what he’s wearing (“Gucci my Prada, Miyake/Louie, Bottega and Tommy”).

The songs on Twelve carat toothache toss between pain and joy, and while Malone has always fitted lament into his albums, these new sad songs don’t feel tormented, labored, or unfriendly. Instead, Malone deftly plays bitterness with a nod to the merry ‘Lemon Tree’, vibrating his voice with playful hyperbole. Elsewhere, the delightfully over-the-top “Love/Hate Letter to Alcohol,” created with Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes, opens with a cascade of vocal harmonies. The production booms and the drums thunder as Malone sings about getting too drunk and knocking all his teeth out. While you can hear the sadness in the tone and lyrics, the song sounds triumphant – like something that could soundtrack a raucous night out.

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