• May Harding

Mac Miller: Circles Review - The Perfect Bow Out


Overcoming the “complicated process that had no right answer” the world has been granted the final workings of Mac Miller’s masterpiece Circles. Preaching feelings of hope and self care, Jon Brion worked tirelessly to release Miller’s last words to his fans. His alternative creativity opens up a whole new side to his troubled past, using melodic beats to create a sound that contrasts to Miller’s previous “rap” boy style. The world was left in pure dismay after his tragic death in late 2018, just weeks after the release of his album Swimming, the world was left in pure dismay. Closure was not just a want of his fan base, but a necessity that gave fans one last farewell to their beloved Mac Miller.

The release of Circles on January 17th of this year was preempted by his family posting a letter on Instagram in which they expressed their grievances and thanked Jon Brion for all his hard work. The austere and stark songs involved serve to present Mac MIller in his purest form which, although controversial, prove a fundamental part to Miller's goodbye. Alluded to in the only single of the album, “Good News” touches upon feeling exploited by the people surrounding him, who seamlessly went amiss during the rappers darkest times. The track struck a chord with fans, who hailed his poignant depiction of a society obsessed with the notion of fame. Miller paints a far darker depiction of the very serious flaws of the celebrity lifestyle.

Almost all the songs on the Album detail Miller’s greatest regrets concerning his career and life, there is however an overriding theme of self betterment. The first song on the album “Circles” follows Millers journey to self-actualisation; “I cannot be changed, no. Trust me I’ve tried, I just end up right at the start of the line.” Though his tortured past haunts his career. as his last album “Swimming” suggests, this album focuses on self-improvement and getting over the past that holds many people back. Such a message is proof of the importance for the release of this album.

Although Miller was unable to give his final adjustments and approval, not only was the album deep into production prior to his death, but Jon Brion (Producer) was a close colleague that played a pivotal role throughout Miller’s career. In an interview with New York Times, Jon reflected on his relationship with Miller, as well as how his work on the album “Swimming” helped influence the sequential album “Circles”. He reveals that it was his family who reached out and urged for the release of the album. Although there was a lack of Miller’s definite endorsement, his individual style influenced by all rap, R&;B and dance is confidently continued to present the honest and true form of the troubled psyche of Mac Miller. As mentioned in the letter posted on Mac Miller’s instagram page, Circles was made as a companion to his previous album Swimming to form ‘Swimming in Circles’; “two different styles complementing each other, completing a circle”.

A personal favourite would be the song “I Can See” which flawlessly incorporates jazzy beats into an album of predominantly rapped songs as he moves into more melodic tunes. It is speculated that the song features backing vocals from ex girlfriend and acclaimed pop-star Ariana Grande. This adds to the personal touch of the album, as the special relationship between the two artists was close to both of their massive fan-bases. Jon Brion described the song as “good by anybody’s standards, in any genre, these human beings expressing themselves well."

Overall, this album offers something for fans new and old, who can all enjoy the reformed and final masterpiece of Mac Miller’s career. Many will continue to mourn the young

artist’s death, but for the lives of his millions of fans, closure is offered through his ultimate messages encouraging happiness and hope for all walks of life. Gone but never forgotten, RIP Mac.

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BABYSTEP MAGAZINE Est. 2017