With the blessing of his family, Mac Miller’s album “Circles” released posthumously on Jan. 17.
The beauty of Miller’s “Circles” lies in the lyricism.
In the song, “Once A Day,” Miller sings, “Once a day, I fall asleep with you. Once a day, I try, but I can’t find a single word.”
And yet, he managed to find the words.
Each song included witty plays on words or sentimental lines dealing with the universal conflict of grappling with life’s difficulties while remaining optimistic about the future.
As much as I appreciated being able to relate to the lyrics, I felt that each song was a tribute to himself for getting through his own battles with addiction.
The musical arrangement of the album surprised me. Neither Miller nor Jon Brion, Miller’s producer, confined the album to a slow, somber pace.
After the opening song, the two songs that follow, “Complicated” and “Blue World,” pick up the rhythm.
The beats felt lo-fi at many points, like something reminiscent of bedroom pop.
The blend of hip-hop, rap, at times, jazz and pop added depth to each song that takes it beyond being the traditional hip-hop album.
“Hands” is the only song on the album which feels like a rap song. Though it stands alone in that sense, the song feels harmonious with the other tracks.
The least impressive of the songs for me was “Woods.”
The song alludes to the loss of deep, romantic love, however, neither the lyrics nor sound of the song make it a particularly memorable track.
Miller died at age 26 in Sept. 2018 leaving “Circles” an uncompleted project.
I will say that the album does not feel entirely cohesive. But, I think it’s that element of incompletion that reflects Miller’s desire for artistic growth and optimism for life.
“I Can See,” my favorite song on the album, features a snippet of Ariana Grande’s vocals in the background, which fell heavy on my heart.
In this song, he sings the lyrics, “You got so far to go, but look at where you came from.”
From addiction to his breakup with Grande, Mac Miller embraced his creativity and potential as an artist through the themes of soul-searching, optimism, and resilience which dominate throughout this album.