Swimming in Circles with Mac Miller

Category:  Music
Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020 at 6:11 PM

Starting from the beginning, “Swimming” is about the struggles Mac Miller has faced throughout life. It also came out a month before the rapper’s death; listening to the lyrics, it’s clear that there was more to that particular album.

Miller died on Sept. 7, 2018 from an overdose of alcohol, cocaine and fentanyl. A year later, it was determined by the Los Angeles federal prosecutors that he was given “counterfeit oxycodone pills that contained fentanyl, cocaine and Xanax.”

Now, “Circles” is Miller’s sixth studio album and first posthumous album after his passing, and the second part to his “Swimming’” album. His family posted the following on his Instagram: “At the time of his passing, Malcolm was well into the process of recording his companion album to ‘Swimming,’ entitled, ‘Circles,’ two different styles complementing each other, completing a circle — Swimming in Circles was the concept.”

The post continues to say, “We simply know that it was important to Malcolm for the world to hear it. One of the most difficult decisions in the process is how best to let people know about it…Information regarding this release, his charity, and Malcolm himself will be found at @92tilinfinity (Instagram).”

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Circles. January 17.

A post shared by Mac (@macmiller) on

The family’s post makes sense after listening to “Swimming” and “Circles” consecutively.

With their encouragement and the help of two featured artists, Matt Chamberlain (drummer) and Wendy Melvoin (guitarist/bassist), Miller’s producer Jon Brion made this album become a reality.

The first song from “Circles” is “Good News,” originally released on Jan. 10. The song really makes any listener wonder what Miller was going through, especially when hearing the lyrics: “Why can’t it just be easy? Why does everybody need me to stay? Oh, I hate the feeling, When you’re high but you’re underneath the ceiling.”

These lyrics specifically make it known that Miller was struggling, whether it was with drugs and alcohol, his relationships or even just life in general. But due to his death, fans may never know or understand what he was specifically referencing.

Moving on with the rest of the album, it continues to stay slow and mellow, but is not as explicit as most of the music from his past work. With how slow the album sounds, Miller almost doesn’t seem to fit the rap genre the way most artist do. Comparing him to rap artist Eminem, one is faster and fits the normal genre while the other seems to fit a different genre altogether.

Listening to the record, it’s eye-opening to know that no matter what, money doesn’t always make people happy; many of the songs in “Circles” cover what would seem like mistakes made in life.

The song “That’s on Me” starts with the chorus of repeating the notion that something is Miller’s fault; the question becomes what. He says, “don’t wait on me” and “don’t let me down.” You begin to understand that perhaps he was suffering more than people know.

Thanks to his family, Mac Miller’s output ends (for now) with his “Circles” album connecting everything together. Their statement of “Swimming in Circles” really means that life always repeats. It gives Mac Miller a great end, and it allows for his fans to understand what he faced in life.

Tags: review

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