If liking Post Malone's Hootie and the Blowfish cover is wrong, I don't want to be right

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Post Malone will forever be the most Mad Libs-y artist working in music. Post Malone raises more than $2 million for COVID relief with a Nirvana covers livestream? Oh sure. Post Malone joins the rest of the Bud Light Cinematic Universe for its latest Super Bowl commercial? Hey, why not. His latest move might be the most imaginative string of nonsense words that make perfect sense together: Post Malone covers Hootie and the Blowfish’s “Only Wanna Be With You” for Pokémon’s 25th anniversary virtual celebration, slated for this weekend.

So let’s break this down bit by bit, shall we:

Post Malone

The guy with the face tattoos and Grammy nominations. Maybe you’ve heard of him by now.

Hootie and the Blowfish’s “Only Wanna Be With You”

Excellent song due for a reappraisal. After seeing singer Darius Rucker’s Architectural Digest home tour multiple times (don’t ask), I’ve never been more confident in their comeback into the public’s good graces. Pure dumb-guy lovestruck bliss, with the vowel extension — "you-ou" — you needed to make it in the era.

Pokémon’s 25th-anniversary virtual celebration

What the hell, how is this 25 already? Haunting when you sit with it for a moment, but the years start to add up. The video games kicked off in 1996, with the big-screen debut close behind in 1998. It’s endured across a dizzying number of gaming platforms, long enough to enable “Pokémon Go to the polls” and titles on the Nintendo Switch. With that kind of longevity, it obviously leaves a mark on some artists who graduate to fame, including Post, who’s performing at the virtual concert on Saturday along with fellow fan Katy Perry.

Toss all these together, and it’s honestly a pretty good cover! Posty’s one of the finest at reappraising kitsch from his childhood into something overly earnest — and genuinely better than it has any right to be. No overt Pokémon references here, although you can graft the title’s affection onto any of those fictional creatures, if you’re so inclined. He switches out the Miami Dolphins for his team, the Cowboys, in one key lyric, but otherwise the instrumentation is just about the same, with his dreamy, warbly flourishes.

I’m not sure what cultural conditions could bring us closer to a Nickelback revival in this vein — Joe Biden’s inauguration felt like it could flip the cultural reset switch — but Post Malone feels like one of the only guys who could make it happen. Maybe for the Mario anniversary party.