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Post Malone’s ‘Twelve Carat Toothache’ gives biting take on the impact of fame

Post Malone’s ‘Twelve Carat Toothache’ gives biting take on the impact of fame

Post Malone’s ‘Twelve Carat Toothache’ gives biting take on the impact of fame
June 10
13:00 2022

For the first time in three years, North Texas native Post Malone is sharing his sound. His newest studio LP, “Twelve Carat Toothache,” was released on June 3. Before its premiere, Malone promised fans that this project was the most authentic to himself and his continuously expanding style.

Throughout the rapper’s fourth studio album, Malone makes his testimony clear — he hates fame and what it’s made of him. From the first lines of the opener “Reputation,” Malone’s state of mind is far removed from his previous braggadocios self, as seen in 2017’s “Rockstar.” Desperate cries are heard through lines like “You’re the superstar, entertain us” as he laments about his failures to live up to others expectations in the limelight. This theme is carried throughout the 14-song tracklist as Malone describes how his celebrity status has damaged his self-image and relationships with those closest to him.

This melancholy introspection reaches its peak later on in the second half of the album. “Euthanasia” further details how Malone has hit rock bottom, almost completely giving up on himself. Simple but impactful lyrics like “I spit another tooth in the trash can, I gave up on keepin’ me in touch,” detail the full extent of the artist’s misery and self-disgust. The haunting opening echoes of “Oh my God, just take the fire off of me” in “Waiting for a Miracle” further illustrate Malone’s helpless and self-inflicted state.

Malone evidently took advantage of his three-year hiatus by attempting to offer a deeper look inside him and his career. The artist that had previously sang about the adrenaline-filled triumphs of fame now shows glimpses at the intense, more shameful side of success. In doing so, Malone demonstrates a newer, more sincere artistic craft. 

To further make up for his extended time off, the track list includes a variety of collaborations. Several of these numbers featuring other top artists, including Doja Cat and The Weeknd, still offer a glimpse at Malone’s classic, pop style. While certain features, like “I Like You (A Happier Song),” seem too upbeat and out of place for “Twelve Carat Toothache,” others like “Wasting Angels” still match certain themes of pressure and regret. Although a bit more removed from the album’s personal themes, these tracks offer nice breaks in tone to help relieve the listener from some of the darker, hard-hitting songs.

Self-loathing albums are nothing new, as seen from the success of projects like “Happier Than Ever” by Billie Eilish, Drake’s “Views” and almost every Radiohead song ever released. However, unlike its peers, “Twelve Carat Toothache” is more honest about the artist’s own contribution to their despair. Malone is very open about the fact that he is the one to blame behind his drinking and drug-filled benders. While the attention and access he gained from his celebrity status acted as a catalyst, in the end, it’s been him making his own destructive decisions. 

By taking accountability for his own struggles, Malone gives insight into his personal and artistic growth. Through having the ability to accept and reflect on his self-destructive state, Malone grants a new take on the impact of industry influences. This realistic perspective gives Malone’s audience a more honest look into not only the artist himself but the overall industry culture he was once submerged in.

By far his most melancholic production, “Twelve Carat Toothache” stands as what is arguably Post Malone’s most authentic album. Straying further away from his well-known lively sound, the singer gives his audience a dim, more inward-looking take on what life can look like once you’ve reached the top. While the themes surrounding Malone and Hollywood throughout the album are not novel in their own right, they clearly deliver his personal truths. The artist’s lack of nuanced metaphors effectively shares a new extension of himself and his artistic capabilities.

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Samantha Thornfelt

Samantha Thornfelt

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