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REVIEW: Why you need to listen to Detroit native Mike Posner's 'A Real Good Kid'

Vulnerable, emotion-laden album delves into singer's mind

Mike Posner performs on stage during KROQ Absolut Almost Acoustic Christmas at The Forum on December 9, 2018 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for KROQ/Entercom)
Mike Posner performs on stage during KROQ Absolut Almost Acoustic Christmas at The Forum on December 9, 2018 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for KROQ/Entercom)

DETROIT – Detroit native Mike Posner dropped his third studio album last month, a raw, emotion-laden record that dives into the vulnerable parts of the singer's mind and life.

"A Real Good Kid" is a 40-minute long emotional roller coaster that Posner asks fans to listen to straight through "without texting, without emailing, without outside distraction of any sort." The album blends singing and spoken word verses in a way that can only be fully appreciated when listened to this way.

After requesting that those who can't devote time to listen to the record as it was intended to be heard return to the music at a later time, Posner introduces the next 11 tracks.

"People keep asking what happened to me," he says.

Posner drew heavy criticism for changes in his appearance and sound when he performed during the halftime show of the 2018 Detroit Lions Thanksgiving football game. He took the stage with his hair and beard scraggly and grown out, a completely new look for the singer.

But the change wasn't random, as Posner shares in his deeply emotional 2019 release.

"The answer is this."

Posner sings about the death of his father in "January 11th, 2017." He describes the day and touches on what the loss did to him, before closing the song with recordings of him speaking with his father. It's the first, but not only, instance such recordings are included in the songs.

He moves on to tackle acknowledging the pain and struggles associated with a breakup in "Song About You" and "Move On," addressing what he must do to move forward.

In "Drip," Posner refers to the death of Swedish DJ, Avicii last spring, which was ruled a suicide.

"Avicii died and little homie calls me up, and he's crying. I told him, 'I'ma be honest with you, 
If you don't get your (explicative) together, you're next," he says. 

Posner also offers a look into a life that isn't as perfect as one may think it is. It's a candid and sincere moment, perhaps some of the most emotionally charged lines in the whole record.

"Am I the only one here who doesn't know what the (explicative) is going on?" he says, raising his voice before dropping to near crying. "I worked the last 10 years. I'm a multimillionaire. I'm 30 years old. It's supposed to all be good. It is not (explicative) all good."

In the longest song on the album, the nearly 6 1/2 minute "Perfect," Posner sings about just that -- perfect moments, both good and bad, such as opening up to someone and getting let down. It's a simple, almost comforting track.

He ties together the album with "How It's Supposed To Be." He runs through a list of things that he has done and things that have happened to him, including his father's death, reiterating that "maybe that's the way it's supposed to be."

Posner closes the song and the record with an excerpt of his father talking from an Oct. 2, 1988, when Posner was 8 months old.

"Let's see if we can get him -- Michael, look up here! Where you goin', Michael?" his father says, in what appears to be a home video, before the album ends with his father saying, "Anyway, he is a real good kid," wrapping up the many feelings and memories encompassed in the record.

Posner uses the album to unravel his mind and unpack what has impacted him heavily, taking imperfect moments and creating a lyrical masterpiece, packed with vulnerability and uncertainty. 


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