Mike Posner is a versatile performer known for his interesting lyrics and distinctive style of music. He is best known for being one half of the rock band The Nylon Records along with David Lee Roth. Posner has also gone on to be a successful screenwriter and producer but his true passion is in the world of music. He is probably best known for creating and performing the songs on the television show Saturday Night Live.
Michael Posner was born in June of 1973 in Brooklyn, New York City. In the early 1990s he went to college in Santa Barbara, California but soon left to pursue a career in music. Posner wrote and sang lead guitar for several years with a local band called Brainstem. After leaving the band he began working with producer Mark Volker in the band Weezer. Later in their career, he wrote and sang lead for numerous other bands and artists including The Fugees, The Rolling Stones, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smiffy Wheels, Bringmith, Weezer, and Porcupine Tree.
The Cooler by Mike Posner is a collaboration between him and rapper Beanie Balmaz, who were originally from Chicago, Illinois. The album was eventually certified platinum by the United Kingdom’s Royal Grammophonie and debuted at number 34 on the charts. The singles featured on The Cooler include “Dirty Laundry”, “Mystery Train”, “Breathing Problems”, “Bodily Divorce”, and “Fade”. This collaboration was the start of a long association between Posner and Balmaz, which would result in numerous other songs and collaborations.
The follow up to The Cooler was Mos Def and Pharrell Williams’ Billie Jean. The song for this album was also produced by the bandheads of the time, as was the case with The Cooler. Though Posner did not work on this album as much as he had previously, he did return to it later in his career. Eventually he would create the very successful Billie Jean song with Pharrell.
Thematically, The Uppers is not too far off from the other Posner albums, except that it is more of an urban album rather than a hip-hop one. The most obvious difference between the two is that Posner incorporates hip-hop instruments into his songs. He includes sample beats from sampling the classic hip-hop records of the time, though he does not attempt to copy them word for word. The samples are used sparingly but do add to the overall feeling of the album. The guitar riffs from the sample beats provide a nice background for Posner’s vocals, which he does lay mostly in the chorus of each track.
At about halfway through the album, Mike Posner starts to sing along with his band (which includes drums and bass). The song closer, called “Fell on the Way” contains an excellent instrumental section, featuring keyboards and pitched cymbals to accompany Posner’s voice. Finally, after the instrumental, the band goes into a more conventional song structure again, with Posner singing lead. Although it is only a short song, it is enough to establish the direction of the album and the sounds that would follow. Although not entirely a mainstream hit, it has definitely helped to make Mike Posner more mainstream – at least a little bit.