Morgan Wallen and Post Malone in a karaoke bar
feature

Five Biggest Takeaways from Post Malone and Morgan Wallen's ‘I Had Some Help’

May 15, 2024 9:51 am GMT

x-logo
f-logo
email logo
link icon

Link copied

Content Sponsor

Post Malone has made his first official step into the country music world by dropping his long-teased collaboration with Morgan Wallen, ’I Had Some Help’.

It's hasn't even been out for a week yet, but the addictive, uptempo earworm has already slotted in at No. 15 on the Mediabase Country Radio chart, as well as earning the biggest streaming day for a country song of all time on Spotify, in addition to setting a record for the most streams accumulated in a day by an all-male collaboration.

At the time of writing, ‘I Had Some Help’ sits at a staggering 34.5 million streams on Spotify alone. To put that in context, one of the other big commercial country releases that week, Thomas Rhett's ‘Beautiful As You’, has racked up 800,000 streams.

You might be thinking, ‘Well, this is a blockbuster link-up between two of the biggest artists on the planet, so of course it's going to break streaming records and surge up the charts’.

That's true. But now the dust has settled, there are a handful of subtler points of interest about ‘I Had Some Help’ and the unique way in which it was released that can perhaps offer us some insight into Posty's debut country album, the future of single rollouts and more.

Here are Holler's 5 Biggest Takeaways from the release of Post Malone and Morgan Wallen's ‘I Had Some Help’:

1. Post Malone is embracing a Nashvillian, mainstream sound

Despite making his name in Rap and Hip-Hop, Post Malone's been a country aficionado since Day 1, with the New York hitmaker having delivered a range of stellar country covers throughout his career. However, when he confirmed his first full-length country project was on the way, fans were wondering what kind of style he'd lean into. Would it be the alt-country, outlaw aesthetic of Colter Wall, Sturgill Simpson and Tyler Childers - three artists Posty has regularly toasted in interviews - or would it be a more commercial, Nashville-inspired sound?

‘I Had Some Help’ confirms it'll almost certainly be the latter, with Malone trading verses with Morgan Wallen across a lush, pop-infused bed of electric guitars and synth-driven riffs.

Given how well ‘I Had Some Help’ has been received - and the fact that Posty has teased a similar genre-fusing collaboration with Luke Combs in ’I Ain't Got A Guy For That’ - we think it's safe to say this is the approach that will drive his forthcoming record.

2. Fans make terrible A&Rs

It's easy to forget, amidst the sea of fervent plaudits, obliterated records and dizzying streaming figures, that when Morgan Wallen first teased ‘I Had Some Help’ back in December, it was greeted with a decidedly lukewarm response from his followers.

A number of outlets and publications reported on how fans were calling for Morgan to never release the track, with some dubbing it “the first” song of his that they didn't like.

Fast-forward to May 10th, 2024, and it's the biggest song in the world, with ‘I Had Some Help’ hurtling towards the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. What changed?

Admittedly, Morgan's original teaser was not “the real mix”, as Post Malone later joked when he shared his own snippet of the track in March, but even so, this radical about-turn in the overall consensus highlights that, especially when a song is in its early stages of production, fans aren't actually very good at sniffing out a hit.

We saw the same kind of response when Wallen first teased ‘You Proof’ - a song that went on to become the longest-running Billboard Country Airplay No. 1 of the decade.

Fans hated the demo, underlining that, with artists increasingly including their social media followers in decisions such as the name of their next single or which track they should drop next, perhaps they're taking the drive for fan engagement a tad too far.

3. Morgan Wallen is on-track to become the biggest crossover star since Garth and Shania

After a year that saw him produce the most streamed song and album of the year, Morgan Wallen undoubtedly cemented himself as the biggest country artist in the world.

Now, considering the arrival of ‘I Had Some Help’ in tandem with the unreleased teasers Morgan has been sharing of late, it's clear the Sneedville singer-songwriter is poised to take this a step further and exceed the bounds of country music.

Whenever Morgan Wallen breaks a new record - something that's becoming an almost-weekly occurrence - often, the previous holder of that milestone was Garth Brooks. Take ‘I Had Some Help’, for instance, which accumulated 167 first week adds at country radio, earning it the status of becoming only the second single in chart history to debut with the backing of all reporting stations. The first single to do this? Garth Brooks' ‘Longneck Bottle’ in 1997. Similarly, ‘I Had Some Help’ debuted at No. 15 on Mediabase Country, the second-highest debut of the monitored era. The highest? Garth's Brooks' ‘More Than A Memory’ in 2007.

This isn't just about the stratospheric success Morgan is enjoying, though. The other fascinating development is his stylistic and even aesthetic evolution over the past 12 months. Two unreleased fan-favourites from the forthcoming record, ‘Lies, Lies, Lies’ and ‘Come Back As A Redneck’, extend the genre-blurring of One Thing At A Time, while his 2024 Abbey Road Sessions featured a surprising but enchanting cover of Nothing But Thieves’ indie hit, ‘Graveyard Whistling’.

When you factor in his appearance in Drake's ‘You Broke My Heart’ music video, the pop-leaning sonics of ‘I Had Some Help’ and the less overtly country aesthetic he opts for at live shows, it's apparent Morgan Wallen is in pole position to emulate the groundbreaking popularity of Garth and crossover stardom of Shania. As Posty ventures into Music City, it seems Morgan is turning his attention outwards.

It's another intriguing aspect of what a mutually - and equally - beneficial collaboration this truly is. Despite possessing more Diamond records than any other artist in history, Post Malone's previous single, ‘Chemical’, only reached 13 on the Billboard Hot 100, whereas Morgan Wallen's ‘Last Night’ held onto No. 1 for a staggering 16 weeks. On the flipside, when looking beyond the States, Morgan has never picked up a UK Top Ten, while Post Malone has three to date.

With their new collaboration en route to hitting No. 1 on both these charts, to say Posty and Morgan ‘Had Some Help’ from one another here is a massive understatement.

4. Unreleased teasers are the future of single and album rollouts

Despite the initially frosty reception given to that first ‘I Had Some Help’ demo, when Post Malone shared his version in March 2024, the track exploded and spread like wildfire online.

As well as going viral on TikTok and Instagram, Posty's snippet piqued the interest of a broader fanbase that might not have engaged with his December CMA Awards performance, which was a colossal moment for country music, but perhaps didn't connect quite as deeply outside of the genre. When examining Google trends, for example, the number of people searching ‘post malone morgan wallen' had a minor bump around the CMAs - but in March, when Posty teased ‘I Had Some Help’, the figures leapt up to a peak quadruple this size.

Some fans have taken to comments sections to complain about how drawn-out the ‘I Had Some Help’ rollout was, but as we've seen this week, Posty and Morgan's teams timed this to perfection. The snippets and teasers laid the foundation ahead of the duo's momentous live debut at Stagecoach, with the sense of anticipation sky-high when they unveiled - at long last - the official release date, May 10th. We all knew ‘I Had Some Help’ would be a hit, but the fact that it's been such a streaming behemoth means other labels and strategists will be taking note.

5. Country Radio isn’t dead - yet

For years now, commentators, influencers and the average joes on Broadway have been bemoaning how Country Radio is behind the times. In today's era of immediacy and short attention spans, releasing a song on Spotify and Apple Music, and then officially ‘sending’ it to Country Radio a week or two later feels like an outdated system.

Fans don't want to wait anymore - especially when an artist's latest Country Radio single is a song that dropped two years ago. Lainey Wilson's ‘Wildflowers and Wild Horses’, which hit No. 1 at Country Radio earlier in May, was released way back in 2022, so it ends up feeling somewhat irrelevant to announce it as a ‘new single’.

However, Post Malone and Morgan Wallen turned this system on its head with the release of ‘I Had Some Help’, by making it available to select radio stations two days early.

On May 8th, the only way fans could hear ‘I Had Some Help’ was to tune into the airwaves, something that helped the song enjoy a fantastic debut on the Country Radio charts, while simultaneously giving Country Radio a much-needed boost.

Big Loud's Stacy Blythe, SVP of Radio Promotion, explained the rationale, “Post and Morgan delivered a huge hit record; we knew we had to do our part and deliver a huge launch at country radio. Our radio partners made this set up incredibly exciting and we are so grateful for how they stepped up to support with no hesitation”.

There are unquestionably still a host of issues with the overall Country Radio set-up that need solving, but Posty and Morgan might just have offered a blueprint for its salvation.

For more on Post Malone, see below:

Written by Maxim Mower
Content Sponsor
Morgan Wallen in a blue backwards-turned hat on-stage.
news

Morgan Wallen Discusses Fourth Album, Writing with Post Malone and More in New Billboard Interview

Post Malone @ ACM Awards 2024
news

‘Never Love You Again’ by Post Malone - Lyrics & Meaning

Holler Country Music
news

Miley Cyrus and Post Malone Reportedly Set to Appear on Beyoncé's New Country Album, ‘COWBOY CARTER’

Artist - Morgan Wallen, Post Malone & Ernest
news

Morgan Wallen Hits the Studio with Post Malone and Ernest