Mac Miller surprises with new album, ‘The Divine Feminine’

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, September 28th, 2016 at 9:35 PM
Mac Miller surprises with new album, ‘The Divine Feminine’ by Britton Rozzelle
Album artwork for The Divine Feminine

I’ll be honest. I really wasn’t expecting to hear an aria from Mac Miller when I began listening to his newest album.

I was there when he came to Edinboro and played several songs no one had heard before approximately two years ago.

The whole experience would have been a lot more interesting if he had played songs from “The Divine Feminine,” his newest project, rather than those (if only to point out/reaffirm how odd it is for the previously rap-focused stoner persona to be missing from this album and replaced by something, for lack of a better word, clean).

“The Divine Feminine” has jazz. It has soft piano keys and what sounds like an entire string section with harmonies and R&B stylings. It has CeeLo Green, who I’m entirely convinced was resurrected just for this album.

It’s a lot to take in musically.

The album starts off with “Congratulations,” an incredibly pretentious introduction to this album, beginning with several female voices (one of them belonging to Ariana Grande, who appears later on the album as well), and filled to the brim of sweeping orchestration and piano, while ending with a genuinely fantastic verse from Bilal.

“Dang!” featuring Anderson Paak has no right to be as fun or infectious as it ends up being, and is probably one of the reasons why I even bothered listening to this album to begin with. Full of brass, sass and powerful hooks, this song stands out as, if nothing else, a testament to the fact that Mac Miller can actually make good music.

“Stay,” another standout, follows immediately with a return to the almost sultry sax of the previous song. The track has a more reserved introduction that leads into a more mature-sounding verse than we’re used to from the Miller. “Skin” isn’t a particularly fantastic outing lyrically, it has a fun rhythm to it.

Mac and Ty Dolla $ign collaborate on the next track, “Cinderella,” an 8-minute-long affair that, after a clear homage to the tone of “The Life of Pablo,” shifts into an almost Disney-esque ballad fitted with twinkling piano and guitar-work.

“Planet,” featuring Njomza, recalls “Blue Slide Park” stylistically with much more reserved production, but feels like an R&B jam out of the mid ‘90s. TLC style. Following “Planet” is “Soulmate,” a sample- heavy track that stands out pretty strongly as one of the most musically interesting songs on the album, even dipping at points into Anamanaguchi-styled riffs and deep basslines. Disclosure would be proud.

“We,” featuring CeeLo Green, is basically just a Gnarles Barkley song that never got made and is mostly populated by discordant bass and toned-down vocals, while “My Favorite Part” features Ariana Grande, who is still soaring from the success of “Dangerous Woman.” Overall it’s an okay love song, but that’s about it. Both do what they’re best at here, but it’s not particularly interesting.

The final track, titled “God Is Fair, Sexy Nasty,” featuring Kendrick Lamar, is another 8-minute long track with silky-smooth verses from Kendrick and the confident sense of rhythm that comes with his style, it frankly feels more like a Kendrick song than anything (and to be fair I’m okay with that).

“The Divine Feminine” isn’t a bad album, it’s not a great one either, but it has enough merit to be somewhat noteworthy.

Standout tracks: “Dang!,” “Stay,” and “Soulmate.” 

Britton Rozelle is the Executive Editor for The Spectator. He can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com

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