Inside The Grooves

For the music lover

Picture of Mac Miller's Circles album with the record on the turntable and the cover behind it
Picture of Mac Miller's Circles album with the record on the turntable and the cover behind it

One year after his untimely death at 26, Mac Miller sends us one last farewell from the beyond the grave.

“Well, this is what it looks like, right before you fall.” are the first words that hit you when the needle drops. What follows is 56 minutes of Mac Miller’s most honest work to date. Letting us know that he left his “frat rap” days behind him as he started working on more “instrument based music”.

It would be a crime to talk about this album and not mention Jon Biron, legendary music producer, who was working on this album with Mac before his passing in September 2018. Here, he is able to pick up the pieces Mac left behind and the end result sounds like a completely finished product that leaves the fan in me sad I’ll never get to see how much further Mac was planning on taking his music.

Unpacking some of the lyrics on this album show a man who is struggling with his drug use, and finding out who he wants to be as a person. “Things like this aren’t built to last, I might just fade like those before me.” sings Miller on the track “Woods.” For the first time in his life, he is being honest with himself, placing the blame on his shoulders for all life’s shortcomings. They say admitting you have a problem is the first step to fixing the problem, and here is a man who is for the first time in his life trying to please himself instead of everybody else.

It’s truly a shame this will be the last time we get to hear a full length Mac Miller album, especially knowing where he planned to go with his music. While he was excited to experiment with making more instrument based music, at first experimenting with it on his 2018 album “Swimming” which was half/half in terms of rapping and singing. On “Circles” he goes all the way with the instrumentation, while planning on making a 3rd installment which was set to be a return to rapping just to show his old fans he hadn’t forgotten them.

Before this album, I didn’t really view Mac Miller as someone who was a polarizing figure in the rap word. However, I think he was one of the most interesting rappers of his generation. I truly believe he was going to do great things for the genre that had never been done before, and hopefully he laid out some of the ground work for his peers to continue off of and want to further experiment with more instrument driven rap.

Some of my favorite tracks off this album include “Blue World”, “Hand Me Downs” , “Surf”, and “Once a Day”.

I hope Mac would have been proud of this last album from beyond the grave, and wherever he is, he’s happier there then he ever was on Earth.

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