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Music Review: ‘Circles’ by Mac Miller

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Fuzzy headed
Circles, the sixth studio album from the late Mac Miller. (Courtesy: Warner Records)

The hip-hop artist’s posthumous album dropped on January 17

Mac Miller’s death in 2018 sent shockwaves throughout the entire rap and music industry. Before his accidental overdose at age 26, he collaborated and befriended some of this generations’ greatest artists like Kendrick Lamar, Ariana Grande, and Lil Wayne.

Many artists including J. Cole, G-Eazy, Anderson Paak, Halsey, and various others paid tribute in concert and on Twitter for the Pittsburgh native. Everyone who worked with him concluded his friendship and talent were genuine. From his first studio album, Blue Slide Park, to Circles, Miller’s musical growth was evident. He went from a 19-year-old kid making music for his age demographic, to a 26 year-old musical legend with an everlasting legacy.

Miller’s family announced the posthumous album one week prior to its release and shared a track, “Good News,” on all streaming platforms.

Circles is meant to be a companion to his 2018 album, Swimming. On Swimming, Miller provides a perfect mixture of rapping and occasional singing, professing his mental state and heartbreak following his split with Ariana Grande.

In contrast, Circles is entirely a singer-songwriter album except for the tenth song, “Hands.” The album carries the weight of heavy and impactful lyrics under light and airy musical tones.

Together, the two complete the thought ‘swimming in circles.’ Moving forward, but in no particular direction.

Circles is emotional, vulnerable, raw, and vastly different than any of his other projects. With an incredibly deep discography, Miller’s soul will live on through his music for generations.

With lyrics like “I’m lookin’ for balance/I’m in an oasis/well, I need somebody to save me/before I drive myself crazy,” Miller continues to be open and honest about his mental health and drug problems, as he always has. This 12-track project is a depiction of Miller’s innermost thoughts and follows up Swimming beautifully.

The artist has always been open about his struggles with addiction and health, in interviews and more prevalently, his music. He showed fame and money aren’t everything if you aren’t truly happy. As a fan of his music since he first started out, I am still deeply saddened by his passing.

Rest in peace and happy belated birthday, Mac.