Circles is the new posthumous record from beloved artist Mac Miller. Intended to be a follow-up to Mac’s previous album, Swimming, the album’s production was cut short due to his unfortunate death in 2018. Fortunately, singer, songwriter, and producer Jon Brion, who Mac was working with before his death, was determined to complete the album and make sure it was polished for release. Much like Swimming, this album also covers many of the mental issues we know he was suffering from in the years before his death. On the album, Mac reflects on his life successes and struggles in a positive, introspective way. While the subject matters are often sad, Mac has a way of spinning his stories in a way that leaves a silver lining of hope for both him and his fans. For example, on tracks like “I Can See”, Mac offers a glimmer of hope as he writes that he can finally see his problems from an outside perspective. In many ways, Swimming and Circles are journeys of self reflection and growth, where Mac came to terms with the way he felt and seemed to be committed to turning it around.
My personal favorite song on the album is “Hand Me Downs”, a beautiful track about how Mac wants to pass his genes down to a child of his own, much like handing down an old pair of jeans. The soothing instrumental perfectly fits Mac’s almost effortless flow to make this song simultaneously one of the saddest and most uplifting tracks on the album. On one hand, it’s hard to listen to this song without tearing up a little because we now know Mac will never get to fulfill this dream, but on the other hand Mac sounds so at peace on the record and this song in particular that we can at least know that he would be proud to call this album his own.
A lot of posthumous records that have come out recently have been obviously tampered with and pieced together from hundreds of audio clips, creating a mess that doesn’t sound anything like the artist. I’m happy to say that’s not the case at all with Circles. While we don’t know how much of this was finished before his death, it’s easy to hear Mac’s influence and ideas on each of the tracks. Circles fits perfectly in his discography and is a great successor to his last project Swimming. Circles is truly a great sendoff for Mac that respects his artistic legacy while still managing to deliver great content and closure to his fans.