Not what I expected but exactly what I needed is the best way I could explain Mac Miller’s posthumous album titled Circles, which was released in January.
Though a posthumous album feels eerie it is definitely the closure I, millions of other fans, his family and loved ones, and Malcolm himself needed. Following his death in 2018, I wasn’t sure how to live with the fact I would never see him perform live and would never get to see his career continue to bloom. One of my favorite artists of all time, his music spoke to my soul in ways most other artists haven’t. Miller’s oftentimes heavy yet heartfelt lyrics accompanied by his versatile sounds are some of the reasons I find his music so distinguished. His albums tell a story from beginning to end, something not entirely unique to him but is so well done by him.
His last album released before his death, Swimming, has become one of my all-time favorites and left me wanting more. I wanted to see him come to the resolutions and clarity he was pondering in this album. Circles does the tricky job of tying it all together. Miller was working on Circles with composer-producer Jon Brion at the time of his passing. It is not known how far into this project he got but Miller’s family put their full trust and support into Brion to make the album he would’ve been proud to share with the world.
Surely this task was not easy, therefore Brion should be immensely proud of himself for not only giving us a great album but making one he knew Miller would be proud of. Filled with questions about life, “Does it always gotta, does it always gotta. Gotta be so complicated?”, viewpoints on humanity, “Everybody’s gotta live. And everybody’s gonna die. Everybody just wanna have a good, good time. I think you know the reason why,” and personal notes to self, “No, they don’t like it when I’m down” this album explores the depths of self-discovery, healing, and the shared human experience.
If you haven’t had the chance to give this or his entire discography a listen, I highly recommend you do. Rest in Paradise Malcolm James McCormick. Your impact will live on forever.