There was always just something about Mike Posner that I really struggled to connect with. He came across a little arrogant, a little too entitled and I struggled to have empathy or relate to his more vulnerable moments. But the talented singer-songwriter has always known how to tell a good story and create a catchy and slick pop moment. However his third studio album ‘A Real Good Kid’ is a very different collection to anything he’s done before. In the spoken introduction he asks listeners to take this album seriously and to listen to it the way it’s been intended to be heard, which is from start to finish. He politely asks if you don’t have time to listen to the full forty minutes then to turn it off and to come back when you do have time. Immediately from this moment he had my respect because as of recently we seem to be living in a singles dominated market where no one is really focusing on full bodies of work. And he vividly expressed how he wanted his vision of heartbreak and self realisation to be heard as a whole body of work and that impressed me.
From the opening chords of ‘January 11th 2017’ he reflects on the death of his father and how his loss has impacted his unique journey. This solemn and raw track sets the mood of the record before he dives into the experimental elements of ‘Wide Open’ and ‘Song About You’ which ends up sounding like something from Justin Timberlake’s recent era. In-between the mellow moments of ‘Drip’, ‘Staring At The Fire’ and ‘How It’s Supposed To Be’ where he addresses grief and death, he still manages to deliver some euphoric and radio ready moments. ‘Move On’ is a heartbreak track that floats within a dreamy state of mind. He finds comfort in his heartbreak and confesses what he already knows deep down. “I got high when I met you. I got high to forget you. I feel pain, I don’t want to. But I have to, yeah, I have to”. Where as ‘Stuck In The Middle’ is a raw and vibey self-reflection track that looks back on all the decisions he’s made in his life. “People love the old me and don’t know where he’s gone. Too tired to be famous, too vain to be unknown”. It’s a very basic song that just relies on it’s honesty and raw lyrics instead of overloading it with complex ideas. But it’s in these very simple and real tracks that he shows essences of why he made such a name for himself. They are bright and innovative and see him leaving his ego behind which is refreshing. The concept record is a moment caught in time for him and whether he continues to make music or not, this is a great reflection of where he’s at mentally, physically and musically right now.
You can purchase a physical copy of ‘A Real Good Kid’ from Sanity https://www.sanity.com.au/products/2409747/A_Real_Good_Kid