Updated: Jun 10, 2020
Artist: Mac Miller
Sub-Genres: R&B Hip-hop
Label: Warner bros.
If you know Mac Miller you probably resonate with at least one of his top 5 selling albums, Best Day Ever, Faces, Watching Movies with the Sound Off, GO.OD AM, and The Divine Feminine. It is the style mashing from these 5 albums that make up Swimming. All identities of Mac Miller (EZ Mac, Larry Fisherman, Larry Lovestein, the Velvet Revival, and Mackey) are seen in this album as it is presented in the same style as Faces.
As Mac Miller’s career sprouted and grew throughout our lives, you are able to see the development of his music as time passed. Starting off with Blue Slide Park when he was just a kid making YouTube videos of him rapping in a tree about his Nike’s on his feet. Then evolving his rapping towards the real-life problems and more on the experimental side of rapping with abstract ideas. With his albums, Faces and Watching Movies with the Sound Off, talking about drug addiction and abuse, love, and other perspective altering topics, it was clear that Mac Miller was one of the best in the game because he was so different from the other internet rappers of his time. As Mac became older, he kept his music original by bringing in style of his rap, leaning more towards R&B infused groovy base lines and a huge focus on poetical rapping, as clearly seen in The Divine Feminine, which was Mac’s album about meeting love (Ariana Grande). And finally, we have Mac’s last album and by far one of his crown jewels: Swimming.
Swimming is one of those albums that you don’t just hear once, say it’s good, and then don’t go back to it. Swimming is an album that you listen on repeat for weeks at a time. Mac starts this off with, “Come Back to Earth”, which has a symphony of melodic sounds soothing the listener in the background with Mac’s vocals over the top the music, which sets the mood of the whole album. Once the mood was set, Mac bounces around the album, switching from calm rapping about heavy subjects to a funky bass line in the background and Mac Miller singing vocals and leaning away from his original rap and more towards the new style of rapping that he claimed. In the song “What’s the Use”, we are introduced to a funky bass line by the great bassist and friend of Mac, Thundercat, that plays a low funk line that continues throughout the entire song while Mac lays bar after bar down, matching his flow to the bass.
Moving away from the upbeat funk, Mac’s slower songs on the album “Self Care” and “Wings”, which are lined up to flow together, are two of the most serious and closest to home songs on the album. This is where I find that he expresses the loss of Ariana Grande and his battle to find himself one more the most in the album. Side note to “Self Care”, the music video’s scene starts with Mac Miller buried alive in a coffin, carving”Memento Mori” (Latin for “remember that you have to die”). Mac miller died just over a month after the release of swimming, which brings up to my last song I would like to bring up from this album. The last song Miller produced, and the last song on this album. “So it Goes”. This song is one of the saddest yet breathable songs I have ever heard made by Mac. He gives off the sense of “it is what it is”, and how everything happening around him does not bother him anymore, and he has fully let go of his past self. As we come to the end of the song, the same instrumentals that started this album begin to come back, eventually engulfing the vocals in sound and leaving the audience feeling as if they are staring at clouds go by gracefully across the sky.
I believe this album is the product of all previous albums combined, all previous styles of Mac, and all previous Mac identities. All put on the same platform. This is what makes
Swimming one of Mac’s best albums. He takes the best parts of each album (emphasizing on The Divine Feminine, Watching Movies with the Sound Off and Faces) and interweaving these styles to create one of the best representations of himself. RIP Mac Miller, Memento Mori.
Sounds Like: Old school Kid Cudi/ Old Mac Miller’s, Faces
SELF CARE -> WINGS
SO IT GOES
ALL OF THE TRACKS ON THIS ALBUM
Reviewer’s Name: Ross Wofford
Date of Review: 10/10/18