Mansionz has released the best pop album that I’ve heard in a very long time and for some reason it is getting zero attention. What makes this extra surprising is that the duo is made of producer/songwriter Blackbear, who has worked on a few hits, most notably Bieber’s song Boyfriend, and Mike Posner, who is a the singer/songwriter of Cooler Than Me and one of the most overplayed songs of 2016, I Took A Pill in Ibiza.
Now, I might be a bit biased in that I already think Mike Posner is one of the absolutely most undervalued pop singer/songwriters of this generation. I find his songs to be incredibly introspective and dynamic. He’s an interesting character who supposedly didn’t handle the money and fame that he received after finding initial success nearly a decade ago, selling off his luxury cars and whatnot to live the life of a pauper. And now, he finds himself richer than ever with one of the biggest hits of the year along with numerous writing credits for other pop stars, including, Bieber’s Boyfriend. Yes, that is where he and Blackbear became buddies.
The Manzionz album is fascinating. The general theme of it seems to be “be weird, be you, be fun.” The beats are different, sometimes soft and sometimes screaming. The lyrics range from brutally honest to tongue-in-cheek, over the top ridiculous.
On my first listen, I was already sold through the first couple of songs, but when track 5 hit, I knew I was listening to something exceptionally interesting. “i’m thinking about horses” is a 6 minute track of Posner reciting very personal poetry that sits as if written for me. He ponders about god and sex and getting older. It makes me want to order his recently released book of poetry.
The second half of the album becomes more ridiculous and, if you don’t understand what Posner and Blackbear are creating, can come off as silly and juvenile and as pointlessly shitty as most other pop records. Songs about rich white girls and threesomes. But I get the feeling that they are writing these songs because they think it’s fun, not because they think it’s pertinent. This isn’t Migos or Lil’ Yachty singing about ho’s and bitches. It’s a couple of guys who found a friendship over songwriting and are amusing themselves by poking fun of music today while writing insanely catchy songs.
It’s a weird record, but weird is important.