As many people know, Malcolm James McCormick, also known as Mac Miller, passed away in September of 2018. His newest album, Circles, was released to the public by his family on January 17th, 2020, just a couple of days before his birthday. Miller’s family was well aware of what his music did for all of his fans and how much of a tragedy his death was for not only his fans but many people in the world. Before Circles, came his album Swimming, which was an album about his own self-discovery. Then sadly, he passed away about a month later unable to see the success that that album would then bring him. Circles is a sort of epilogue and a sense of closure to his life’s work after his tragic death. These two albums are supposed to represent the concept of “swimming in circles”.
Not only are his songs on both albums impactful and helpful to those who relate to his problems, but the entirety of the album Circles is a response to the struggles he was dealing with when he released Swimming. For example, “So It Goes” a song on his album Swimming is a song about struggling and dealing with anxiety, “I can’t get no satisfaction, goddamn/They sayin’ I’ve been gone too long…/My god it go on and on/Just like a circle, I go back where I’m from”. In contrast, his song “Good News” on Circles is a song about realizing his issues, “I’m running out of gas, hardly anything left/Hope I make it home from work/Well, so tired of being so tired”. Mac Miller openly addresses his issues of burning himself out with the pressure of people only wanting to hear the “Good news/That’s all they wanna hear/No, they don’t like it when I’m down”. He then suggests within this song that he has so much to live and work for in his lines, “That there’s a whole lot more for me waiting/I know I’m maybe too late, I could make it there some other time/Then I’ll finally discover/That it ain’t that bad”. He realizes in this album that he needed to acknowledge his issues before he can finally do something to make them better.
Mac Miller was truly an extremely talented individual who had a vision for his music since he was just fifteen years old. Circles is a more optimistic ending to his visions and concepts he was trying to portray to society. We can see Miller grow through each of his albums starting from his idealistic album Blue Slide Park, to his groundbreaking, witty rap album Watching Movies With The Sound Off that established Miller as a serious rapper, to his concept albums GO:OD AM and The Devine Feminine which are about love and connection, to his self-discovery album Swimming, and finally to his realization and optimistic self-care album Circles. Mac Miller was truly a revolutionary artist that put so much time, effort, and emotion into his work. Such a genius angel will forever be missed in the music community and our hearts.