Opening with “Broken Whiskey Glass,” a highly reverbed, but ultimately a well-produced instrumental feeds into Post Malone’s dreamy style of vocalization. He begins with the lyrics, “Slaved for the man and I broke my fucking back, so you can take your nine-to-five and shove it up your ass…I done spent some time chasing women that don’t give a shit, I done learned my lessons and I ain’t never gon’ forget.” A solid, but deceiving opener that leads into “Big Lie.”
This is where Stoney takes its natural mold and becomes the radio-friendly “music” that it truly is. “Big Lie” is busy and while the fairly layered instrumentation uses 808’s and finger snaps, Malone delivers a verse here where he states, “So you flexin’ that’s a big lie. When I pull up, get this bitch live, and you know that I’mma get mine.” The track’s subject matter and Stoney’s for that matter is primarily about coming up, flexing, and how Post Malone is constantly in a wave of emotions.
Following is “Déjà vu,” a “Hotline Bling” style of island pop track that features none other than Justin Bieber for a quick verse on here. The instrumental uses some dreamscape guitars that echo and float through the track and has Post Malone delivering a verse over about, “I’m trying to see you from my own perspective, you all in my section tryna come to my section.” This then opens the floodgates for Bieber to come in and slow the track down into more of a somber, club track where the instrumental becomes the key player on “Déjà Vu.” The burst of hi-hats and the echoing instrumentals keeps the track moving, but this then becomes the concurrent sound of the album that never seems to change or differ from the social norms of popular trap/radio/hip-hop music.
“No Option” flies into frame and is heavily focused on 808 synth clap beats, and is in similar fashion to the other tracks present on Stoney. It is slowed, but unfortunately does not do enough to really sway the balances of the sound or enough to keep this track from standing out among the other tracks.
Then, “Cold” appears and the instrumental present is okay, but almost too complex and layered for the style that Post Malone adopts with his singing. It changes so often, and tries to put Malone into this slowed style of singing that overall just does not work in too well or as well as it could have been if Malone had put more effort into the actual verses of the track, rather than the chorus. The entire track seems to rely on the production to carry it through and honestly, it is the only saving grace present here and that is the theme for the rest of the tracks present on Stoney. Post Malone comes with a usual slick production, but no flash in his lyrical style or game.
Following is “I Fall Apart,” which is surprisingly a moody, and semi-pop-punk style of track where Malone delivers a love-sick verse that includes some attacking hi-hats and a surprising breakdown in the midpoint. In the breakdown, bouncing synths start to build and eventually launch back into the real prime meat of the track where Malone can deliver a few verses, but again seems primarily focused on the hook of the track, “…didn’t know it before, surprised when you caught me off guard. All this damn jewelry I bought, you was my shorty, I thought.” The main problem that I have with this album, is that no song has a true identity. Every single track sounds nearly identical in chemistry and variation, and there is seemingly no difference between any of the tracks. It is near impossible to find a distinction that sticks out and makes a difference for any of the songs here, all 18 of them.
In comes “Patient,” another (You Guessed It!!) radio friendly trap song that uses hi-hats, snare bounces in the breakdown, and auto-tuned singing. Post Malone delivers the first real verses that last longer than 20-seconds and they are average. They do not sway towards outstanding or mediocre, and this appears to be the mantra that is repeated throughout the entire release of Stoney, it takes no real challenge and unfortunately comes to a shaky middle ground where it does not leave a true mark on music and almost seems to shuttle away once it is over.
An acoustic guitar opens the first section of “Go Flex,” but that is rather quickly shot down to instead adopt the usual style of falling back into the safety net of the booming bass and the rattling hi-hats. Here, “Go Flex” uses some guitar in the backing section, but the trap music style and guitar do not mix well and it provides mixed emotions for Stoney. Does Stoney want to be this radio mass appealed record where everyone hears it and loves it? Or was it supposed to be more of a serious project that real music lovers will understand and gain Post Malone more fans? The morose and brooding subjects on certain tracks is near-antisocial and does not appeal to a mainstream audience, but then the instrumentals present are going to appeal to everyone as they are easy club beats. It is unsure where the album wants to fall, even this track as the ending lands onto a solo of Malone playing the acoustic guitar; where was this album heading?
As we travel further down the rabbit-hole, “Feel” comes about and while not a bad instrumental, it still falls victim to the pit falls where there is no change in format or anything that gives the track a true identity. Even after listening to Stoney multiple times, I still can not pick out a single track that stands out, they all blend together as a soup, rather than a substantial meal. “Feel” features Kehlani and again, her verse is okay, but ultimately doesn’t add much. Malone then comes crashing in with this downright awful line or interjection rather where he states, “Fuck.Me.Till.I.Can’t.See.Straight.” It just was not appealing or satisfying in anyway.
As for the other 8 songs… They all sound the same, buy this record to help Post Malone but don’t listen to it. Please… do yourself a favor and don’t…