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Why Post Malone Is So Damn Catchy (HBO)

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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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50 Comments

    Popular Comments:

Daniel terentyev . 2019-01-17
garbage race baiting vice back at it again
121 2 . Reply
nickcon . 2019-01-17
Cool video. Until they threw the race card in for no reason.
121 2 . Reply
Bad Hairlines . 2019-01-17
yo imagine actually getting triggered by an opinionated video about a pop artist that happen to bring in race for like 15 seconds😂
121 2 . Reply
Tomasz Niezgoda . 2019-01-16
nice, but exhausting editing
121 2 . Reply
Rinzler380 . 2019-01-16
He clearly is from the future”
121 2 . Reply
Jade S . 2019-01-16
you know what is unique though.. stupid ass news channels using someone else's fame and success for a quick buck. This shit is truly original for real, good work fellas
121 2 . Reply
Jade S . 2019-01-16
Youre trying to say that because his music is reptitive and diatonic its not unique?? Its not just about the notes its what you do with them . Tons of songs stay in key. nobody is saying he's mozart but hes unique, youre all tripping vice.
121 2 . Reply
Allan Ren . 2019-01-16
stay in ur lane vice this is vox's job
121 2 . Reply
Allan Ren . 2019-01-16
did vice literally credits posts succes cuz hes white?
121 2 . Reply
J L . 2019-01-15
Cuz his musics good duh
121 2 . Reply
The Brown Connor . 2019-01-15
people love to be offended. lol




post is dope af
121 2 . Reply
Big Gansgsa . 2019-01-15
Post MALONE SUKS!
121 2 . Reply
Walter Langkowski . 2019-01-14
Alright who gave these two the hatoraid? I can make a playlist of Post Malone and everything he made and never hit skip one time. Also I enjoy watching his live covers of other people’s songs especially rock songs
121 2 . Reply
Anastassia Fowler . 2019-01-14
Media makes everything mundane and racial. 😑
121 2 . Reply
Cheri Stuve . 2019-01-14
I thought it was interesting how they broke the song down. I didn't realize that much went into a song
121 2 . Reply
txniz . 2019-01-14
because he's a good artist smh
121 2 . Reply
Krevin . 2019-01-14
Love yah posty, keep rockin and doin you mate. I tip mah cigar to you
121 2 . Reply
Rambo . 2019-01-14
😂😂😂😂😂 vice is a joke now.
121 2 . Reply
Brian Calderon . 2019-01-14
Not to hate on post but the song rockstar was ghost written by Joey bada$$ (underrated rapper).
121 2 . Reply
Jack Smith . 2019-01-13
vox???lol vice going to shit
121 2 . Reply
Maximus Decimus  . 2019-01-13
121 2 . Reply
KAMENG BENGDE St . 2019-01-13
This video is not catchy at all
121 2 . Reply
Matt Parker . 2019-01-13
Love his music but those tattoos are ridiculous
121 2 . Reply
Justin Paul . 2019-01-13
Post Malone is catchy cause he is Post Malone very simple
121 2 . Reply
Rilly Jo . 2019-01-13
Went dbl play with no promotion. Bet the label loved that
121 2 . Reply
B Elston . 2019-01-13
Vice thinks post Malones voice and looks are average. Good to know. Not. Dicks.
121 2 . Reply
Sportysport . 2019-01-13
This video was about 10 seconds short of calling white privilege the reason for Post's success.
121 2 . Reply
Muhd Hzwn . 2019-01-13
His videos with h3h3 really showed me that he's really just a genuine dude.
121 2 . Reply
DORIAN PRIME . 2019-01-12
People who are afraid analyse the parts because they dont understand how to make the whole
121 2 . Reply
DORIAN PRIME . 2019-01-12
Stop trying to analyze things just live
121 2 . Reply
Obak King . 2019-01-12
Hes just a good person and singer dont hate
121 2 . Reply
REALITYobservationalist . 2019-01-12
A mad scientist capitalist in the field of pop music
121 2 . Reply
MB Porter . 2019-01-12
This video was repetitive. Catchy af.
121 2 . Reply
Nawar Salim . 2019-01-12
The only reason he is catchy is because you can understand him
121 2 . Reply
Edgars Nezinu . 2019-01-12
I don't know who he is and i don't care ...Just wondering how he is so popular if i don't know him ROFL
121 2 . Reply
Lucad . 2019-01-12
i dont know if theyre talking shit or complimenting him, and why tf bring race into it LOL
121 2 . Reply
M G . 2019-01-12
The song in the background...


Just Fire
121 2 . Reply
AARon PLate . 2019-01-12
Haters... they sounded like a racist kanye promoting beyonce and belittling post.. gtfo..
121 2 . Reply
Manhi . 2019-01-12
If just one person reads this, it'll honestly make my day. I'm an producer from Algeria & I know people write this all the time but I believe me I'll be the one you'll be happy you listened to , If one person could give this a thumbs up
you'll be one step closer to helping a man's dreams come true , I swear I don't suck and you won't be disappointed , Just give me one chance and 3 minutes of your time. Thank you
121 2 . Reply
justkidding . 2019-01-12
"Face tattoos and unkempt hair aren't usually a formula for pop stardom"

What? 🤨
121 2 . Reply
MrBobbyDolow . 2019-01-12
So much spite
121 2 . Reply
Mexican Bev . 2019-01-12
I can hear “better now” echo in my head and I love it.
121 2 . Reply
Dino velvet . 2019-01-12
Lol pop defined by melody or melanin
121 2 . Reply
Muhd Dck Ibrahim . 2019-01-12
I'm Black & you guys are just a bunch of of haters, and yall should also stop acting like you know much about music. The real reason post is very popular and loved is his unique voice and enticing manner of approach to every instrumental, period. STFU. Hey vice, are you guys out of shit to document? What a bunch of losers.
121 2 . Reply
Dino velvet . 2019-01-12
Repetitive because he is not talented ain't got word play and oh yeah repetition is the number one form of brainwashing
121 2 . Reply
burdy . 2019-01-12
Yeah... they’re white? And?
121 2 . Reply
El Jefe . 2019-01-12
So basically he is a talentless hack
121 2 . Reply
Zimri Hinshaw . 2019-01-12
He might wear the formula on his sleeve, but that doesn’t mean that his music doesn’t come from the heart and have real feeling behind it.
121 2 . Reply
Spikes Hostage . 2019-01-12
I know he's pop but some of his music is like or is rap.
121 2 . Reply
Mike alll . 2019-01-12
The problem is people like the "experts" dont actually know how to create good music. They just know how to teach. If you can't do, teach. And they hating on my man just cause he's white.
121 2 . Reply