Mac Miller “Circles” Album Review

Lucas Pari, Sports Editor

Mac Miller’s posthumous album, “Circles,” was released on January 17th, 2020. In a statement released by Miller’s family on January 8th, it was revealed that Miller was “well into the process of recording his companion album to Swimming, entitled Circles. Two different styles complimenting each other, creating a circle; Swimming in Circles was the concept.” The family stated that after Miller’s passing, his producer, Jon Brion, dedicated himself to finishing Circles based on his time and conversations with Miller. Miller’s family posted a statement to Instagram, along with the album’s cover. The first single from the album titled “Good News” was released the same night, and Miller’s family confirmed that the music videos for the songs on “Circles” would be the last content posted on any of Miller’s online channels and profiles. Now, without further ado, this is my review of Mac Miller’s “Circles”.

This is a picture-perfect album, I’ll say that right out of the gate. Every song is truly beautiful in its own way, whether it’s a slow melodic tune, like the title song “Circles,” “Good News,” “Surf,” “Once A Day,” and “Hand Me Downs,” or a more upbeat sound, like “Complicated,” “Hands,” and “Blue World.” We hear Miller reflect on his life through songs like “Good News,” “That’s on Me,” and “Complicated,” and he encourages his listeners to enjoy the life that we are living, in songs like “Surf” and “Woods.”  However, Miller also lets us journey into his mind, and shows how aware he was of the situation he was in with lyrics like, “Why does everybody need me to stay?”, “There’s a whole lot more for me waitin’ for me on the other side,” and, “Then I’ll finally discover, that it ain’t that bad,” from the song “Good News.” It’s almost as if Mac is speaking from the other side. I feel as if he knew that he could go at any moment, given the extent his drug abuse was affecting him, and he subtly hints at that fact on “Good News,” which many, including myself, would argue is the most emotional and reflective song on the album. There’s not one track that feels out of place on this album–each is greatly complemented by the stellar production from Jon Brion, whether it be the ambient sounds on songs like “I Can See” and “Woods,” or a more funky style on songs like “Blue World” and “Complicated,” or more melodic instrumentals on songs like “Circles”, “Good News” and “Surf.” Every inch of this album is perfect in every sense, and deservedly so.

I was quite worried about this album before it came. We have seen how a studio disgracefully mishandles a deceased artist music in the past. Quite possibly, the most glaring example of this is with the releases of XXXTENTACION’s two posthumous albums entitled “Skins” and “Bad Vibes Forever.” The studio themselves stated that both albums were unfinished, and that they decided to have many artists feature on the album to try and give it a more “completed” feel. It is also painfully obvious that these albums were released solely to profit off of the deceased artist.  Not only did this reflect badly on the studio, but it also unfortunately serves as a stain on XXXTENTACION’s legacy. However, the Mac Miller situation is different. It was clear from the message from Mac’s family that this album was almost complete, and was being handled with great care by Jon Brion. And after listening to the album, it is safe to say that this is different. This album was clearly not made for money, but instead to honor Mac Miller’s memory and continue his legacy. This album is purely transcendental, and truly an amazing listen every time.