Arts & Culture

Memento Mori

By Celina Simmons

Mac Miller was no stranger to broadcasting his feelings through his work as we saw in his 2016 album ‘The Divine Feminine.’ The album was targeted as a love letter to his girlfriend at the time, Ariana Grande. On Miller’s fifth and latest album, ‘Swimming’, he opened up about recent heartbreak and personal struggles he had been facing.

‘Swimming’ reaches a new artistic appeal for Miller. His albums of the past have been mostly hype-rap whereas here, we see a more singing and melodic approach. Critics claim he is “out of key” or “slightly depressive” but if you look at it from an artistic standpoint, this could all be symbolic.

On the first song of the album, “Come Back to Earth,” Miller appears to be on pitch throughout the whole song. This may have been because he believed that he would be able to overcome his demons one day. He says, “I just need a way out of my head / I’ll do anything for a way out of my head.” These lyrics welcome the listeners to his album as well as his creative outlet that is a part of his healing process.

His “out of key” singing throughout the rest of the album can be taken as him conveying his temporary weakness, whether it be a result of his recent breakup with Grande or towards his addiction to drugs. In “Perfecto” the chorus says “It ain’t perfect but I don’t mind / because on the surface I look so fine.” The singing here can be perceived as off key; although he states he looks fine, the singing could represent that he does not feel fine. In “2009” he sings, “Everyday I wake up and breathe / I don’t have it all but that’s alright with me.” Miller is not convincing saying these lines and it may represent how much of a long process healing can be. In his song “Conversation Pt. 1” he says, “You ain’t from my planet we don’t speak the same language.” Here he could be ostracizing himself from the public or demonstrating how media has ostracized him by broadcasting the breakup with Grande.

Mac Miller took a new approach with this piece and it became a work of art. Although critics may be quick to overlook it due to the nitty gritty of sound, the album is full of symbolism that is relatable to many of his followers.

This album review was written three days before the death of Mac Miller. On Friday, September 7th, Miller passed away from a suspected drug overdose. His cause of death is unknown exactly until the toxicology tests come back, which can take many months.

Mac Miller

Illustration Courtesy of Frazer Robertson

Malcolm McCormick, otherwise known as Mac Miller, started his career in music when he was still in high school. He was a self-taught musician and learned how to play the piano, bass, guitar, and drums on his own. At the start of his career he was known as EZ Mack, and put out his first mixtape, “How High,” when he was 15.  Miller signed with “Rostrum Records” label in 2010 and put out his mixtape ‘KIDS,’ that was based off the movie “Kids.”

By the end of 2010, Miller set about on his first tour called “The Incredibly Dope Tour”, which sold out at every location. In 2011, he released his first album with “Rostrum Records” called ‘Blue Slide Park’. It became No 1 on Billboard 200 and sold over 140,000 copies in the first week. His career was skyrocketed from there.

In 2013, he started his own TV series called “Mac Miller and the Most Dope Family”(2013-2014) and even started his own record label, “REMember Music,” which he named after a close friend who had passed away.  He eventually signed a distribution deal with Warner Bros. for his label in 2014 for  a hefty ten million dollars. Throughout his career, he worked under the name “Larry Fisherman” and would produced songs under that name. He continued to put out music and at the time of his death, he had roughly 21 albums and mixtapes.

Mac Miller made a lot of big steps very fast in his career which ultimately brought him to the fame and success that he had before his death. But not only was he an eager artist, he was also a really great person at heart.

All of his friends and family have been devastated over the loss of this influential artist. He was an inspiration to a lot of big names out today like Post Malone, Lil Dicky, Chance the Rapper, and many more. Schoolboy Q, a friend and co-artist to Mac, decided to delay his album release due to his death and Post Malone shared on social media “I wouldn’t be where I was today without you… Never a more kind and sincere and beautiful person.” Actor and writer Quinta Brunson shared on Twitter some personal pictures of her and Miller saying “To a man who had supported me every step of the way. I love you so much. Thank you for everything. Thank you for sharing your gifts. I love you.”

And his fans are grieving just as much as his friends are. For most Mac Miller fans, his music was the type that we could relate to, whether it be wanting to get hyped up for a night out to “Loud” off ‘Macadelic’, or to get into the feels to “Ascension” on ‘GO:OD AM.’ His fan base was generally the same age as him so that could play a factor but most importantly, he wrote his songs about real life and the struggles of getting through it. Personally, I would turn to his music whenever I felt alone or upset and it was a little reminder that no matter how bad life could get, I could always escape in his music and I think that a lot of his fans would say the same thing.

Malcolm McCormick was more than another rap artist in the game, he was an idol and a hero to a lot of people. He blessed our world with his gift of words for as long as he could and that will live forever. Rest in Paradise Malcolm McCormick.

Categories: Arts & Culture

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