Mac Miller - Circles
Updated: May 21
Circles is Mac Miller’s posthumous album after his death on September 7, 2018 and his sixth album overall. It was released January 17, 2020 after Jon Brion took over to finish the album after being heavily involved in it’s making before Mac’s passing. Whenever an artist dies, it can be controversial for the family, or people who were close to them, to release an album because it will always depend on how much was recorded before death and it could seem like they are trying to make money out of the artist. However, in this case it certainly doesn’t seem that way.
Circles – The first track of the album sets the overall theme of Mac struggling with his addiction and mental health issues before his passing. Specifically, he details feeling lost in life over a slow and sombre instrumental. His vocals are great as the listener really gets a feel of how Mac felt in what were likely his final months.
Complicated – A very synth heavy instrumental as the feeling of being lost continues for Mac. His vocals are great again as he delivers another powerful and emotional message about his mental state before his passing.
Blue World – Mac’s choppy flow reflects his feelings on this track very well. The electronic beat by Guy Lawrence accompanies this well as it sounds almost hectic in a laid-back way. The vocals on the refrain are some of the best on the album.
Good News – This track is sensational and probably a contender for one of Mac’s best ever. It was the first track released after Mac’s death and for good reason. It follows Mac trying to suppress his negative feelings for the benefit of those around him and trying to find any kind of positivity in his life. The plucky instrumental along with Mac’s vocals make for a truly emotional track. He opens up about his feelings including his thoughts about taking his own life making the track even more emotional. For me, these emotions that make is throwing out are what makes the song so incredible.
I Can See – On this track, Mac explains how he can see what his addictions and problems look like from others’ perspective, but he still can’t seem to stop. The vocals and the message received from the track are just as powerful, but it’s not my favourite instrumental.
Everybody – A cover of ‘Everybody’s Gotta Live’ by Arthur Lee. Despite the fact it’s a cover, with the brilliant vocals and the minimalistic instrumental, Mac makes the song his own as the lyrics fit perfectly with what Mac is trying to say on the album.
Woods – Mac details how he’s in a relationship beyond fixing on this track, whether that’s with a person or with drugs the message is still strong. He uses the metaphor of being stuck in the woods, unable to escape to portray this relationship. The second verse is one of few rapped verses and his flow is great.
Hand Me Downs – Mac reflects on his self-destructive nature on this track. His vocals are great, and it contains the only feature of the album with Baro on the chorus. His vocals are beautiful and nearly steal the whole song from Mac.
That’s On Me – Personally, I didn’t like the chorus on this track as the vocals let down, they were great on the verses though. The message is one of the strongest on the album, however as Mac feels like his mental problems are all his fault.
Hands – A more traditional hip-hop track, being the only fully rapped song on the album, but Mac proves he can still pull it off. His laid-back flow is great and really gives the listener the feelings of a younger Mac from an older album/mixtape.
Surf – Mac seeks guidance on this track with some of the best vocals on the album. A lot of emotions come through on the chorus as Mac uses the water metaphor to represent growth past his problems, making it feel like a more positive track. However, knowing the context of Mac’s death, the lyrics make it one of the saddest tracks on the album.
Once A Day – On this final Mac track, maybe ever, he details how he keeps trying in life but never gets anywhere. The vocals are incredible and help to create one final powerful message from Mac.
Overall Thoughts – During his life, Mac didn’t have the most consistent albums. He takes on a slightly different style for what is his most consistent and arguably best album yet. The lyrics are emotional, and the delivery is great. What makes this album so good is the way so many people can relate to it regardless of who they are. Whether it’s addiction, depression or someone who is just having problems in their life, anyone could listen to this and think that they’ve felt that way at some point as well. The album immortalises Mac in people’s minds. It is one of the most emotional albums that I’ve ever listened to. The only problem I have with it is that on some tracks, an extra chorus is added at the end making it longer for no real reason. But overall, it really feels like this is what Mac would’ve wanted. RIP Mac.
Favourite Tracks – Circles, Good News, Everybody, Surf, Once A Day
Great Tracks – Complicated, Blue World, I Can See, Woods, Hand Me Downs, Hands
Least Favourite Track (but still very good) – That’s On Me
Rating – 8.6