“I have a hard time talking to people about shit—that's why music is so cathartic and so special,” Post Malone tells Apple Music. The genre-bending, soul-baring hitmaker's fifth album is the first he's recorded since the May 2022 birth of his daughter, and it expands on his emotion-heavy sound in surprising ways, whether through power-pop hooks or sparse sonics. “Having a baby really put a lot into perspective, and it's really slowed me down a lot party-wise, going out and being crazy,” he said. “But it's the most beautiful thing.” He and his family have relocated to Salt Lake City, which has allowed Post to more fully appreciate the wild ride he's been on since the 2015 release of his debut single “White Iverson.” “I never really got to stop and smell the roses,” he says. “I never really got time or had the bandwidth to experience the journey to its fullest, so I guess that's what I'm trying to do now.” Post, who largely worked on AUSTIN with pop tunesmith Andrew Watt and his frequent collaborator Louis Bell, wrote songs in a more organic way this time out, “sit[ting] there cross-legged with the cans on and so much reverb” while working out chord progressions with his collaborators. “It was a really eye-opening experience for me in how I could write music, and how I could make music,” he says. “There are so many different ways. A song is there; you just got to find it.” “Green Thumb” might reach a new frontier—not just in his songwriting, but in pop songwriting as a whole. “I think it's the only breakup song where you talk to plants,” Post says of the spare guitar ballad, in which he despairs over an ex who's left her garden behind for greener romantic pastures. Songs that describe those moments where partying gets out of control—like the anthemic “Enough Is Enough”—were written from a place of after-the-fact self-reflection. “Writing that song was not about current experiences; it's not like I can't go to Vegas,” he says. “It's super cathartic to be able to tell your story and then reach out to people who maybe have gone or are going through it, [to] at least bring joy through music.”

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