Mac Miller – “Circles” review

This is the 1st posthumous outing & 6th full-length album overall from Pittsburgh’s very own Mac Miller. The man exploded onto the scene in the 2010s with a handful of projects including K.I.D.S. (Kickin’ Incredibly Dope Shit), Macadelic, Watching Movies with the Sound Off, Faces & GO:OD AM. Last time we heard from Mac was in August 2018 with Swimming, an album inspired by his breakup with Ariana Grande. However, Mac unexpectedly & tragically passed away just a month later. A sequel to Swimming was already in the works at the time of his death with the very album we see here, as Jon Brion was brought forward to complete what Mac had started.

It all begins with the title track, where Mac vents about being lost over a mellow instrumental. The next song “Complicated” vents about depression over a Neptunes inspired instrumental while the track “Blue World” talks about Ariana Grande over a glitchy instrumental. The song “Good News” talks about wanting to suppress any negative thoughts over a tropical instrumental while the track “I Can See” makes a bunch of gorgeous spiritual references over a dystopian instrumental.

The song “Everybody” is a decent cover of Arthur Lee’s “Everybody Gotta Love” while the track “Woods” wonders if he can get enough love over a woozy beat. The song “Hand Me Downs” talks about needing someone to keep him sane over a soothing instrumental while the track “That’s on Me” finds Mac blaming himself for his Ariana breakup over a blissful instrumental. The song “Hands” is a positivity anthem with a slow beat while the penultimate track “Surf” talks about growing over an acoustic guitar. The album then finishes with “Once a Day”, where Mac provides wisdom over a minimalist instrumental.

While I’m not a big fan of posthumous albums, this was bittersweet. There are a few weak moments, but it really sounds like a complete product from Mac’s vocals down to Jon’s stellar production. If this is the last we’ll ever hear from the man in a full capacity, then it’s a beautiful swan song.

Score: 4/5

Mac Miller – “Swimming” review

In the 2 years since his disappointingly average Divine Feminine, Pittsburgh MC/producer Mac Miller has been laying low since then. However, he’s finally back with his 5th full-length album.

The opener “Come Back to Earth” vents about his mental struggles over a luscious synthesizer & the next song “Hurt Feelings” vents about how things in his life are different over a mellow yet bass-heavy instrumental. The track “What’s the Use?” vents about his addiction over a beautiful synth-funk instrumental while the song “Perfecto” talks about depression over a laidback instrumental. The track “Self Care” addresses his breakup with Ariana Grande over a cloudy instrumental while the song “Wings” gets introspective over a settle instrumental. The track “Ladders” is about how he & this unnamed woman are all they have & the synth-funk instrumental on here is absolutely flawless.

The song “Small Worlds” talks about his imperfections over a slow-twangy guitar & the 4-start count at the beginning made me think this was a Neptunes beat at first. The track “Conversation” is an open message to Ariana over a druggy Cardo beat while the song “Dunno” reflects on the good times in his previous relationship over some finger snapping & some Neptunes-like synthesizers while the song “Jet Fuel” is about staying high & existing forever over some groovy guitar work. The penultimate track “2009” is about finding peace over an Eric G instrumental with snapping fingers & keyboards while the closer “So It Goes” ends things perfectly as he gets motivational over some prominent drums & faint synths.

I was hoping for Mac to make a triumphant comeback & at the end of the day, that’s exactly what I got. Sure the execution on a few tracks could’ve been better, but the production is absolutely beautiful & the personal themes are very compelling.

Score: 3.5/5