Mac Miller Circles (2 LP Clear Vinyl)
NME (Magazine): 4 stars out of 5 -- "CIRCLES may all too often evoke a keen sense of sadness, but it also makes room to celebrate the artistry of one of music's true renaissance men."
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Vinyl LP Details
- Number of Records: 2
- Released: April 17, 2020
- Originally Released: 2020
- Label: Warner Records
Rolling Stone3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[A] genuine companion piece, a time capsule to be placed alongside SWIMMING. The songwriting is comparatively languid and often carries the feeling of a dream, as Miller constantly retreats into his head, a refuge and a prison, to nurse his battered spirit."
Billboard - "Fans are in both for a gift and an emotional journey from the beloved artist -- who was only getting better with time."
Billboard - "Mac Miller's CIRCLES is the epilogue for a kind-hearted star gone too soon, solidifying his artistic growth over warm, melodic instrumentals."
NME (Magazine)4 stars out of 5 -- "CIRCLES may all too often evoke a keen sense of sadness, but it also makes room to celebrate the artistry of one of music's true renaissance men."
Paste (magazine) - "His production is evocative, and his lyrics are dreamy, but honest. Depression and heartbreak are common themes in Miller's music, but the pain in CIRCLES is more palpable than before."
Pitchfork (Website) - "The few songs that do have raps in them display his love of the form and improvement as a writer."
- 3.Blue World
- 4.Good News
- 5.I Can See
- 8.Hand Me Downs
- 9.That's on Me
- 12.Once a Day
On September 7, 2018, just a month after the release of his critically acclaimed fifth album, Swimming, Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller died from an accidental drug overdose. His struggles were no secret, but there was a glimmer of hope on Swimming that hinted that better days might be around the corner. While those possibilities were unfortunately lost with his passing, Miller did manage to record extra material that ended up on the posthumous set Circles. Intended as a companion piece to Swimming (i.e. "swimming in circles"), the album was completed by producer Jon Brion (Fiona Apple, Kanye West), who maintained the laid-back vibe and introspective mood of its predecessor. Subdued and reflective, the beats hit softer and the reliance on piano and Brion's quirky production choices make for a lush, comforting listen. With the bittersweet benefit of hindsight, the album's lyrics shed some light on Miller's state of mind at the time of his death, providing clear signs that the rapper was in need of more help and support. For fans, Circles will be a tough listen, as Brion's often-playful musical backing belies the sadness and resolve in Miller's voice. On "Complicated," he languidly raps that he's "way too young to be gettin' old" atop shiny synths, later wondering "Why does everyone need me to stay?" on the frustrated "Good News." On "Surf," he makes it even clearer, deciding he's "gotta get going before I'm gone." Even when he's singing someone else's material, as on "Everybody," a cover of Arthur Lee's 1972 song, he manages to make the original lyrics sound even more dour, concluding that "Everybody's gotta live/Everybody's gonna die." If Miller hadn't passed, Circles would be an insightful, focused addition to his strong late-era catalog, shining a necessary light on emotional and mental health struggles and sobriety through his deeply reflective lyrics and the wonderfully enjoyable and warm production work by Brion. Instead, it's yet another reminder of lost potential and a life cut tragically short. ~ Neil Z. Yeung
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