Song Review: Post Malone and Swae Lee- “Sunflower”
Post Malone is back on national music charts once again with his new single “Sunflower,” made with hip-hop artist Swae Lee. It was released on October 18 of this year. However, is the song actually good? Or is the single only popular because of Post Malone’s stature in the hip-hop genre? To put it simply, the song is not a product of popularity. “Sunflower” is truly a great song, and it will stay on the charts for a long time to come.
The new hit, first teased about by Malone on an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, has been listened to by millions. The music video, as seen on YouTube, has 47 million views after it was released on the 18th of October (views were checked on November 9). Not only has it been popular on YouTube, but it has also been popular on some of the most recognizable music charts. One such music chart is “Billboard”. On Billboard's Top 100, “Sunflower” peaked at number nine out of every song in the world. It stayed there until it dropped down to twenty fourth a couple of days ago. Also, on Billboard’s “Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs”, it is ranked at number twelve, but peaked at number six last week. “Sunflower” also happens to be in the top ten songs in Hungary, Canada, Ireland, Slovakia, Australia, UK, Czech Republic, and Finland.
With these impressive rankings it is clear that “Sunflower” is considered good by many. However, why is “Sunflower” considered a good song? To start the song, Swae Lee comes first. In his verse, he starts by repeating these lines twice,
“Needless to say, I keep her in check.
She was all bad-bad, nevertheless (Yeah).
Callin' it quits now, baby, I'm a wreck (Wreck).
Crash at my place, baby, you're a wreck (Wreck)”.
I am not a fan of this mini-verse. I do not see any memorable lines or anything amazing to take away from the beginning of the verse. This part of the song does not add to the overall flow. Swae Lee’s voice along with the catchy beat is the only thing saving this segment of the song. Ishan Patel, a junior at EHHS, both agrees and disagrees with me. “That whole part has a nice flow to it,” said Ishan. But when it comes to my statement on the lyrics, he could not disagree more. He said that his favorite lines from the song were actually from this portion. He enjoys the lines where Lee says “Needless to say, I keep her in check, she was all bad-bad, nevertheless.”
The second half of Lee’s verse goes as follows:
“Thinkin' in a bad way, losin' your grip
Screamin' at my face, baby, don't trip
Someone took a big L, don't know how that felt
Lookin' at you sideways, party on tilt
Ooh-ooh, some things you just can't refuse."
The second half of the verse makes up for the lackluster first half. This part just pops to me in a way that the first half did not. To start, Lee moved on from repetition of the same phrases. The new words appeal to listeners a lot more. In this part of the verse, Lee uses couplets, where every two lines rhyme together. These rhymes give off a good flow that was not there in the first half. Once again, Swae Lee knocks it out of the park with his singing in this song. And of course, we can’t skip over the ending to the verse, which can be controversial. However, it is good to know that this is the only explicit reference in the song. The line, which shall remain unspecified, did add a little extra and made the verse more vivid in the listeners head. It is not surprising that this line is one of the more memorable lines in the song.
After the first verse is the chorus, also sung by Swae Lee. The chorus goes as follows:
“Then you're left in the dust, unless I stuck by ya
You're the sunflower, I think your love would be too much
Or you'll be left in the dust, unless I stuck by ya
You're the sunflower, you're the sunflower”
The chorus of the song is usually the most memorable parts of a song. This is no different with “Sunflower.” As the beat picks up for the chorus and Swae Lee starts up again, it instantly gets the listener to get more attached to the song.
Then Post Malone starts his own verse:
“Every time I'm leavin' on ya (Ooh), you don't make it easy, no (No, no)
Wish I could be there for ya (Ooh), give me a reason to (Oh)
Every time I'm walkin' out (Oh), I can hear you tellin' me to turn around (Oh, oh)
Fightin' for my trust and you won't back down (No)
Even if we gotta risk it all right now, oh (Now)
I know you're scared of the unknown (-Known)
You don't wanna be alone (Alone)
I know I always come and go (And go)
But it's out of my control”
The beat calms back down after Swae Lee kills the chorus, Post Malone starts, and he does not disappoint. His verse starts slow, and then picks up as soon as his first line ends (at “easy, no”). Along with Malone's overall tempo, the beat picks up a little as well, and it matches perfectly. This tempo change occurs from the second line to the fifth line (“Wish I could be there” to “Even if we gotta risk it all right now, oh”). Once he finishes the fifth line, it all slows again. The beat, his voice, and the whole tempo. For the last four lines (“I know you're scared of the unknown “to” but it's out of my control”), he finishes the verse slowly with barely any beat in the background, just like he started. This switch of tempo is nothing new for Malone. In fact, he is quite known for the various types of music he is able make just on tempo alone. In this verse, he showcases it. He starts slow, and picks it up, then slows again. This makes for an overall amazing verse from Malone, which is nothing new.
Lastly, Post Malone finishes the song with the same chorus that Swae Lee had earlier. This time, with his own voice. Hearing Malone’s voice repeat the lines is a perfect way to end off the song. Once the chorus finishes, the beat slows down into a calming guitar like solo, and the song finishes.
As for Malone and Lee, this is just another hit for the two. The two artists had already had a hit song this year with “Spoil My Night,” which was a part of Malone’s album “Beerbongs and Bentleys”. I know for me, seeing these artists together is always a treat. When Ishan was asked about the artists, he felt the same. For example, Ishan said “The song hasn’t changed my opinion on them, it just reinforced how much I love their voices”. I couldn't agree more. Both Malone and Lee are some of the most talented artists in today’s music industry, and “Sunflower” proves this.
For anyone that does not know, this song was made for the movie “Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse”, which releases on December 14, 2018. Because of “Sunflower,” the movie is likely is going to draw more people to theaters when it releases. At least that is what I would expect, because I know myself that the song has made me at least a little more interested in the movie.
You can listen to the song and music video here and form your own opinions.