Boy didn’t the idea of Post Malone making a big country album or releasing country songs seem like a sexy idea over the last few years. Back in 2020 when he was running around in T-shirts from Tyler Childers, Colter Wall, and Billy Strings, it seemed like maybe he was one of the guys who’d figured it out. He also showed up on Dwight Yoakam’s SiriusXM show singing duets with Dwight, and said he wanted to collaborate with George Strait. Face tattoos or not, it was hard to say Post Malone didn’t have good taste in country music.
The world woke up to this in a big way when Post Malone appeared on a streaming benefit concert hosted by Matthew McConaughey in March of 2021. Malone performed Sturgill Simpson’s “You Can Have The Crown” and Brad Paisley’s “I’m Gonna Miss Her (The Fishin’ Song)” backed by Dwight Yoakam’s road band. After that, many country fans were downright demanding Post Malone record a country album, and Malone was dropping hints that he was definitely open to the idea.
Check in a couple of years later, and Post Malone’s foray into country music has gone from a hypothetical to a reality, and a good idea to a bad one. Instead of something coming together involving folks like Tyler Childers, Billy Strings, or Dwight Yoakam, Post Malone has instead fallen in with the troika of Morgan Wallen, HARDY, and ERNEST. Though fans of these guys might be excited by the idea, it’s not exactly what many true country music fans had in mind. It also turns out it may not even be what Morgan Wallen, HARDY, And ERNEST fans were hoping was in store.
We first saw this supergroup in action at the 2023 CMA Awards in November to decidedly subpar results. Post Malone’s appearance was arguably the most anticipated moment of the night, especially after the CMAs touted it as a “classic country medley.” But those classic country songs turned out to be the silly selections from Joe Diffie’s catalog, a.k.a. “John Deere Green” and “Pickup Man.” Then with Morgan Wallen and HARDY braying horrifically out-of-tune to them, it exposed just how poorly country music’s “top” talent measures up to a hip-hop/pop star like Post Malone
Post Malone did the best with a bad situation, but the question then was, “Why even put yourself in that situation to begin with?” Joe Diffie’s great, but it seemed strange to pay tribute to him 3 1/2 years after his passing, and with songs that really aren’t representative of the depth of his catalog.
Post Malone was also spotted in the studio with Morgan Wallen and ERNEST right before the 2023 CMAs, so we knew it was only a matter of time before something materialized. Well on December 22nd, Morgan Wallen posted a clip of a demo called “I Had Some Help” on Instagram, and tagged Post Malone, Ernest, and writer/producer Charlie Handsome on the post, implying they were to co-writers. Morgan Wallen posted it at about 2 in the morning.
Well according to some, it didn’t go very well. The comments section filled up with negative comments on the track, along with a few positive ones peppered in, and this was for a highly-anticipated collaboration being screened by a highly favorable audience to Wallen. It got so bad in fact, Morgan Wallen and/or his team removed the post entirely. Though there’s not confirmation that it was removed due to the negative reception, it’s certainly not a good look. You can still hear some of the song captured by a Post Malone fan.
The song hasn’t even been released formally yet, if it ever will be at this point. But “Post Malone Goes Country” so far has not gone well at all, even according to Morgan Wallen fans, let alone fans of Tyler Childers, Billy Strings, and Dwight Yoakam who were maybe hoping things would go more in that direction.
It goes to show you that sometimes the hypothetical is more exciting than the execution. It sort of reminds you of the whole “Justin Timberlake Makes a Country Album” thing that happened around his album Man of the Woods from 2018. After Timberlake’s big collaboration with Chris Stapleton on the 2015 CMA Awards, we though this would be Timberlake’s big foray into country. It ultimately turned out to be a flop both inside and outside of country.
Perhaps Post Malone can still pull this out. But perhaps he should start by re-evaluating who he decides to work with. It’s not that ERNEST, HARDY, and Morgan Wallen are incapable of doing good songs, or even seriously traditional country songs. What separates all three of these guys from their Bro-Country predecessors is they’ve all recorded traditional-sounding country stuff to go along with careening into country rap and 808s.
But ultimately, you become the company you keep. And if Post Malone is dreaming to collaborating with George Strait and Billy Strings, that’s where he should point his nose, not ERNEST, HARDY, and Morgan Wallen. With those guys, you’re just gonna get a muddy, multi-genre directionless mess. And so far with the now pulled demo of “I Had Some Help,” that’s what we’ve received.