Dearest Mac Miller,
“SWIMMING” is the album I didn’t know I needed. Just like how you told Zane Lowe you went on a journey whilst creating this record, I too, went on a journey whilst listening to it. With each listen, I delved deeper into a self-reflective journey of my life; with no stone left unturned.
“My regrets look just like texts I shouldn’t send.” From the first line, you got me.
“I just need a way out of my head. I’ll do anything for a way out, of my head.
“And I was just drowning, but now I’m swimming.”
‘Come Back to Earth’ depicts how I’ve been feeling and what I’ve discovered about myself as a person up to this point. It really was the perfect opening track to set the mood for the rest of the record.
I assume that when you wrote this record, the content (and context) of the songs were most likely “SWIMMING” around the topic of broken relationships and heartbreak but I couldn’t help but relate to it on a personal level with everything I’ve been through these past 12 months, losing my Father so suddenly last August.
The hook of ‘Hurt Feelings’ really hit me – I may have shed a tear or two – despite the bouncy production that it could have easily been mistaken for a feel-good tune.
Keeping with that bouncy beat, your latest single ‘What’s The Use?’ featuring Thundercat is clearly about your ex but I don’t really care about that. And again, bringing it back to my personal situation, there were a lot of people I had to “cut out of the frame” after the heartbreak I experienced. The stupid things people say to you when you lose someone close to you really boggles my mind. Having all that come to the surface these past few months really showed me who should be in my life and who shouldn’t.
And just so you know, there are certain musicians who I wish wouldn’t rap and sing on their records, but I don’t mind when you do it. It’s somewhat soothing especially when I connect to your lyrics in such a meaningful way.
‘Self-Care’ has been a personal anthem for me. Having been released for a few weeks now, I’ve been able to really enjoy it, over and over, connecting with each layer upon every listen.
Yeah, I been reading them signs
I been losin’ my, I been losin’ my, I been losin’ my mind, yeah
Get the fuck out the way, must be this high to play
It must be nice up above the lights, and what a lovely life that I made, yeah
I know that feelin’ like it’s in my family tree, yeah
That Mercedes drove me crazy, I was speedin’
Somebody save me from myself, yeah
Tell them they can take that bullshit elsewhere
Self care, we gonna be good
Hell yeah, they lettin’ me go
I feel like ‘Self Care’ is also the turning point of the record because after this song, ‘Wings’ is when you really invite us on your journey, reflecting on your path of self-discovery and displaying your vulnerability for all of us, as you “wonder who the fuck I supposed to be.” ‘Wings’ is a definite favourite for me.
Through heartbreak and loss, you definitely learn a lot about yourself and that’s exactly what ‘Ladders’ is for me. The lyrics tell me that you’ve been on this path for a while and you’ve learned that you know what you like and what you don’t like, including those that enter your life – you just know who should stay and who should go. I can completely relate to this feeling of following your gut instinct.
When you released the trio of songs in the lead-up to “SWIMMING”’s release, ‘Small Worlds’ was not the song I gravitated towards; it was ‘Programs’ (for the record), so I have to admit I was a little disappointed that it didn’t make it to the final cut of “SWIMMING”, but with each listen, I’ve slowly grown to love ‘Small Worlds.’ I’ve built up a wall around me too, and it has to take the right person to break it down. And that flip towards the end where you really break it down for us? It definitely had me feeling some type of way.
As I mentioned earlier, some people say stupid things to try to relate to you and what you’re going through, and in those moments I just did not recognise those people for who they were. It really weeded out who was there for me truly as a friend and who was there living vicariously through for this creative life. I’ve had many ‘Conversations (Pt. 1)’ about this with friends and colleagues. See what I did there? 🙂
When I had to take on more responsibility, my energy depleted pretty quickly as each day passed, like how you felt running out of ‘Jet Fuel.’ And I totally get it, but unlike you, when I run out of that energy/fuel, I need time to myself to recharge my batteries to take on whatever comes next.
I also noticed you reference a lot of jets throughout this record, in ‘Hurt Feelings’ and ‘What’s the Use?’ as well as ‘Jet Fuel.’ Were those subtle signs of you flexing on your fans? Hmm.. =)
To me, ‘2009’ felt like a personal diary entry, where you completely opened up to us about how life has changed for you since that year; the year when all of this really started for you. It was a beautiful aural experience to hear you being so raw and honest about what you’ve seen and experienced, again showing your vulnerable side and opening up as to who you are as a person on this record.
“SWIMMING” is definitely your best record to date and by far, my favourite piece of work from you.
“SWIMMING” changed my life for the better and I thank you, Mac, for creating it. I know it wasn’t a solo effort with plenty of collaborators jumping on board but the cohesive record you all created together was a beautiful piece of art – Art that I would be more than happy to invest in.
From a fellow lover of words and music.
Mac Miller’s highly-anticipated new album, “SWIMMING” is out now via Warner Bros.