By Zach Hester (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

In the years since debuting “Cooler Than Me” in 2010, Mike Posner has had quite a few transformative years. The breakout single pushed the now 30-year-old singer into stardom and he continued to rise with 2015’s “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” and his collaborative project Mansionz with singer Blackbear.

In his latest record A Real Good Kid, Posner takes a much different approach to not just his music, but his entire life.

The new record, as said in the introduction, is meant to be listened to as an interrupted whole, instead of bit by bit. After finishing the entire project in one sitting, I completely understand.

This album is a journey for Posner. It begins with the death of his father in “January 11th, 2017” with tough to hear lyrics like “the day my daddy died, I became a man.”

The seamless transitions between each song do make it feel like a story between tracks like “Wide Open” and “Song About You.” It’s in the latter that Posner seems to describe his new mantra, “I just wanna unwind, unwind / Everything that makes me confined.” It’s clear that he felt boxed in, but now it’s more evident that he’s free.

Both “Move On” and “Staring at the Fire” are easily my favorite tracks. The chorus in the latter is instantly memorable, while “Move On” is the clear lead single that should head immediately to radio. “Stuck in the Middle” also falls into that commercial-friendly category while also serving as a great acoustic companion to the 2017 song “Caught in the Middle” by Paramore.

A Real Good Kid is nothing short of a powerful, personal record but I’m not sure that it’s something I’ll return to regularly. I maintain that the singles “Move On” and “Stuck in the Middle” are still among the best songs. While I’m not completely sold on this new, more acoustic direction that Mike Posner is going in, I’m just glad to see him so happy with what he’s making.

Best Songs: Move On, Staring at the Fire

Rating: ★★½