REVIEW: Mac Miller – Circles

‘Well, this is what it looks like right before you fall.’

It’s rational that whatever you feel before, during and after listening to this posthumous record in its entirety can be justified and explained by the overwhelming sense of grief bound up in its loops of verse and chorus.

It’s difficult not to attach poignancy to every lyric from the first mumbled offering. Jazzy, smooth and complicated – a theme which resurfaces again and again – Circles is every music fan’s nightmare and I found myself trying too hard to make sense of things from start to finish.

After openers ‘Circles’ and ‘Complicated’ ease you into an oddly relaxing experience which rests in a comfortable beat, juxtaposed by lyrics that both embrace and alienate the listener, ‘Blue World’ kicks things up a notch. I suppose to me it seems like the album – Miller – searches for something: companionship? Acceptance? Truth? Meaning? Not sure he finds it.

Lighter moments pick the album up and cradle it, like the funky brass mid-section of ‘I Can See’ and the easy groove of ‘That’s On Me’. In its entirety the record is fluid as it moves from showy interludes to Miller’s unmistakable tone and back again. Lyrical pinpoints are particularly unsettling; as the record draws to a sombre close, Miller urges the listener: ‘Don’t keep it all in your head / The only place that you know nobody ever can see’, well cemented in the ballpark of sentiments scattered throughout the album.

The content is repetitive, always seeming to find its feet back where it started – which for every listener is certain to mean a very different place. I imagine it’s unifying, whilst absolutely unique to the individual – but isn’t all the best music?

Satisfyingly uplifting and utterly tragic in equal measures – a melancholy tribute to a true artist.

Words by Yasmin Duggal

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