Why Post Malone Is So Damn Catchy (HBO)

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  • Published on:  Saturday, November 10, 2018
  • Face tattoos, unkempt hair, and beer-swilling aren’t the typical blueprint for pop stardom. And yet, we still have Post Malone.

    He’s one of the most listened-to and inescapable artists of the moment, and his music has broken commercial performance records previously held by The Beatles and Michael Jackson. But for every Posty fan, there seem to be even more people confounded by the idea that he has fans at all.

    VICE spoke to Berkeley College of Music songwriting professors Kareem Clarke and Brian “Raydar” Ellis to discuss the Post Malone phenomenon. They credited his repetitive rhythms and melodies and strategic song structure as major players in his music’s popularity potential. Another advantage? His average singing voice.

    “You know, it's different from a Beyonce when she sings ‘Love On Top’ you know when she gets to the part where she modulates, in other words she goes from from one key to a higher key to a higher key,” Ellis explained. “When she's doing that, at a certain point the average listener is just not going to be able to follow, like they can't […] For artists like Post or artists like Rihanna, they tend to just work inside a specific, limited range of notes that complement their voice but also complement the average listener.”

    Looking at his music and persona in aggregate, it’s clear Post Malone is the beneficiary of a rare confluence of factors that almost predestine him for mass popularity. The formula is covering all his bases at once.

    His songs are easy for everyone to remember and sing. His music pulls from multiple genres without ever fully committing to one. He’s a pop star and a populist. He does beerbongs and he drives Bentleys.

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  • Mouthy Buddha  (Nov 10, 2018))

    This video was a really long backhanded compliment.

  • Vellamo  (Mar 4, 2019))

    +dausedman Everything you don't like is nazi. REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

  • theKONGTRACKS  (Feb 10, 2019))

    Ladies & Gentlemen, the most perfectist statementual critique, "TWO THUMBS-UP!!" #theKONGCRITIC

  • FScorpion678  (Nov 10, 2018))

    The race part came in so abruptly lmao

  • lil Pump the 3rd  (22 hours ago))

    +Just A Black Atheist lot of the rappers who are not getting played on radio is mostly because they swear and in most places music or the hosts cant swear on radio between certain times, and so most radio stations dont tend to put songs on that swear alot which is why NF gets played and plus NF is a talented rapper and you comparing him to iggy(what seems like ur comparing them) is stupid i dont even like NF or listen to his songs but the ones my friends force me to listen to are really good

  • Tech Freak  (Feb 3, 2019))

    +RyanGames If that were true then black artists doing what post did would dominate. They aren't. Plus, we see the artists all the time, in videos and interviews and concerts. They're famous because of the radio though.

  • Jordan Schlansky  (Nov 10, 2018))

    The answer: he is THE nicest guy in the industry

  • tommunist10  (Mar 5, 2019))

    “Why do you like his music?”Cuz he’s a nice guy.LMFAO

  • Silver Dragon  (Mar 3, 2019))

    He does seem like a super nice guy but come on that’s not enough to be a pop icon.

  • Milan Thakkar  (Nov 10, 2018))

    Vox called. They want their video style back.

  • Dude Laser  (Jan 12, 2019))

    Milan Thakkar Vice. Vox. Whats the difference nowadays?

  • jakobion  (Jan 9, 2019))

    holy shit i thought this was vox lol

  • WordsAreLikeRivers  (Nov 10, 2018))

    of course you just had to throw in a comment about race. good job.

  • KENU  (Mar 8, 2019))

    ls7orBust ignoring race won’t get rid of racism

  • Tech Freak  (Feb 3, 2019))

    Good job getting offended.

  • A Year Ago Today  (Nov 10, 2018))

    This is a vox video

  • SincerelyWilliam  (Feb 10, 2019))

    They're under the same company lol

  • Tech Freak  (Feb 3, 2019))

    +Gerome Manicia Facts don't care about your feelings.

  • John Paul  (Nov 10, 2018))

    Ahhahaha, the problem is that he's wihte, got it.

  • Tech Freak  (Feb 3, 2019))

    +Wegar Monsen They just said that's weird that black artists making pop music weren't called pop as much.

  • Nah. The problem is that you're white and you don't want to acknowledge that his success is correlated with his exposure which is correlated with his skin color. White artists get doors opened which aren't opened to Black artists. The real question is why are you so resistant to that truth?

  • Michael B  (Nov 11, 2018))

    Legit music snobs lol... Making it sound as if he's not a great artist. He writes, produces, sings, plays instruments. Post is great

  • tommunist10  (Mar 5, 2019))

    Michael got offended that the elemtary music theory went over his head, so now he’s insulting them lol.My guy, 8 year olds know what they’re talking about. This stuff is simple. The second they talked about modulation and theory you stopped listening and got angry. What they’re saying is the equivalent of 4x4=16.Stop being so insecure; it’s petty. Learn about music. Stop being stubborn - grow.

  • Tech Freak  (Feb 3, 2019))

    +Nord I'll bet you don't believe racism against blacks exists.

  • Miss Surreal  (Nov 10, 2018))

    If the formula is so easy then YOU do it lol. Why aren't you a millionaire? Where are your hits?

  • tommunist10  (Mar 5, 2019))

    Some people value the art of music enough to not exploit it. Imagine that.

  • J C  (Feb 5, 2019))

    Those who can't do, teach. Teachers are failed professionals. Especially at the collegiate level.

  • RicardoMo  (Nov 21, 2018))

    Holy shit this video was 100% pointless

  • tommunist10  (Mar 5, 2019))

    Not everyone is obsessed with money and business lmao smh. The fact that you assumed that if he knew how to exploit people for money, then he would, is indicative of the ethics you adhere to. Reach for the stars, champ! lmao

  • J C  (Feb 5, 2019))

    +Kush Keen if it is in fact so easy, where is your business?