We’re thrust into Mac Miller’s hauntingly magical posthumous album “Circles” with the eerie verse “Well, this is what it look like right before you fall.”
This raw and piercing introduction set the tone for this album and epitomizes not only “Circles,” but also posthumous works in general. They’re dark, beautiful and an opportunity for the artist to leave one last mark.
This album in particular is gut wrenching, giving fans a glimpse into what Miller might have been feeling and experiencing before he passed away.
The album is bittersweet, but that’s not to say that’s all it is. It’s a pure masterpiece.
“Circles,” which was released on Jan. 17, was largely produced by legendary producer and composer, Jon Brion. With the backing of Miller’s family, Brion went on to finish “Circles” which Miller had started before he passed.
“He had talked to me a lot about what he wanted sonically. Like, ‘I want this to feel wider,’ or ‘deeper.’ So, for me, I felt like, ‘O.K., these are technical jobs that I can do,’” said Brion according to The New York Times.
Brion explained that he didn't want to guess what Miller might have wanted, he rather sought to approach finishing the album from a technical standpoint.
On his Instagram, he posted that Miller’s family explained that he created “Circles” as a companion album to “Swimming.” The idea was swimming in circles.
Just nine days later fans saw that vision come to life in the 12-track album where Miller sang about abandonment, hurt, regret and the quest for peace.
In “Complicated” Miller sang “Some people say they want to live forever. That’s way too long, I’ll just get through today.”
Later on in “Woods” Miller said, “Yeah, things like this ain't built to last. I might just fade like those before me.”
The album is full of self-awareness and Miller’s fight with mental health. While it is heartbreaking, it is Miller’s ability to be honest and articulate that is so admirable and which cements him as a legend.
As Miller matured, his music evolved and he wasn't ever tied down to his earlier work or one sound. Songs like “Donald Trump,” “Senior Skip Day” and “Thumbalina” remind us of the earlier days of Miller where many of us first became fans, but they also show how far he’s come.
Throughout the years Miller went from frat bro rapper to experimenting with funk, jazz and indie folk.
Miller was a gifted and versatile musician, but he was also smart, insightful and gentle. “Circles” showcases it all from his talent to his range to his growth, both musically and personally. “Circles” is a gem, but above all it speaks to the legacy of Miller.
Posthumous albums, whether it be Amy Winehouse’s, The Notorious B.I.G.’s or Miller’s, pay homage to the artist that was taken too soon all the while being a final goodbye to fans.
Miller’s posthumous album was done so tastefully and devoid of any sort of exploitation. Brion and Miller’s family created an album that showcased all the best parts of Miller and fans can’t thank them enough.
Twitter and YouTube are filled with millions of fans praising the album and agreeing that the album gives them the closure they needed.
This album was painful to listen to with lyrics that either foreshadowed Miller’s demise or pleaded for help and sanity, but it was great nonetheless.
I can’t lie and say I am a music expert who makes any sense in my commentary on Miller or this album, but what I can say is that as a Mac Miller fan, this album is a beautiful end to his discography and a testament to him and his talent.