Mac Miller | Swimming


Family Average: 6/7

Mac Miller presents Swimming. In his fifth studio album he tackles a number of pretty tough topics. These include his very public breakup wit singer Ariana Grande, dealing with his temper, and temptation of escapism. What in the world did we all think?

Listen along on Spotify and read on to find out:


When Swimming came out after my first listen I was like “I think this is his best album ever,” and I told all of my friends to listen. There is not a bad song on it. I remember also thinking that we have grown up with Mac Miller and when we were little gremlins just hanging out skipping school and going to parties that's what he was rapping about. Now that generation is aging, and facing adulthood and being lost and facing demons while Mac Miller has aged with us and the themes on this album still coincide with what we're going through, the adult mac miller, Mac Miller for new adult listeners.

The production is absolutely beautiful and it is him, he is an incredibly talented musician, and has loved music his entire life. The boy just genuinely loved music, he seems like one of those people that just hears all these sounds in his head and must create them. The results are just beautiful.

Mac Miller was in the presence of and respected by people who make good music, his talent was recognized.

I like the Thundercat features and the funk. I noticed how dark and sad the lyrics were but after his death, I kept listening and listening and it just realized how fucking sad this album is, so many hints and clues, he was trapped in his head. One of my favorite metaphors from this album is “jet fuel” “Okay, okay, well I'ma be here for a while/ Longer than I did expect to/ I was out of town, getting lost till I was rescued/ Now I’m in the clouds, come down when I run out of jet fuel /But I never run out of jet fuel.” That was one of the issues, he never ran out of “jet fuel” so he never had to face the world sober, he was always up there. His voice too on this whole album just sounds melancholy, he's slipping, he uses that metaphor too that he felt like he was slipping and any day could be his last. At first listen, my favorite song was 2009, so sad and it just really makes sense “it aint 2009 no more,” and how crazy that 2009 was almost 10 years ago and that it's in a song. But then on one of my many post death listens I came to the song “Wings” and I was like this is absolutely beautiful, the production, the arrangement, the words, it makes u feel so good, it's a beautiful piece of music, and I was like, “this is it, this is my favorite song.” This album is impeccable though devastating. Flawless, I could listen forever, and keep finding more details.



Back to Earth is the eleventh studio album released by the British singer/songwriter Cat Stevens. It's the only album he recorded using the name Cat Stevens after his conversion to Islam... Ha okay just trying to lighten the mood because oh boy this is going to be a bit of a heavy review. From the first song Back to Earth I cleared my schedule for a classic sad afternoon. Gosh darn can not catch a break these last couple of weeks. What between Travis Scott’s Astroworld, and this I feel like the world justs wants to ring my tear ducts dry. Luckily I frequently break up listenings with episodes of Looney Tunes, and that kind of seems to keep my spirits up. Boy oh boy this album, I get this feeling the entire album of just a brutal uphill climb, and at the end there is still no real resolution there just a kind of acceptance, that stuff is going pretty bad. It like similar bleak themes I run across in films, where people are getting by with no clear goal in mind other than survival. Movies like The Mist, or The Road, yeah yeh. Sounds, yeah let’s also talk about some sounds I run into on this guy. Swimming is a pretty appropriate title for the album woof the whole thing is just submerged. Difficult to explain, but I guess it's like when you are in a dream, and everything is happening in front of your face, but your mind is too far away to alter the course of anything. Drums are low low low, and the guitar when it pops up is all strung out and surfy. Mac’s voice drones and almost growls through every track. I don’t know I like it.



I admit that I wrote Mac Miller off before I ever really listened to him. I judged the book by its tabloid plastered and frat approved cover. Whoops. But hey, I’m here now. First and foremost, this album is heavy. Released before Miller’s death, it’s difficult to separate the music from his life and evident personal struggles. Miller’s vulnerability and self-doubt are on full display, creating an experience evocative of Swimming in which we are drifting, floating, and struggling to tread water alongside him.  It reads like a diary -- similarly stream-of-consciousness, sort of untempered, punctuated with moments of confusion. I appreciate the ticking pace of the tracks, slow and steady as he seems to be working through his thoughts. The voice is breathy, labored almost, and words drawl over a mix of woozy, gooey sounds, accented by moments of orchestra and guitar. At times I lost interest because it felt drawn out, his efforts half-hearted. But I like that. It feels unresolved and unsure; a manifestation of his mental space, speaking of uncertainty but optimistic of what may come. It’s sad, but sage, and actually quite beautiful.



It is so sad we lost this talented artist.  I often am exposed to artist through a semi shared google music with some of my kids.  I came across this album in this way and was super impressed. His lyrics here are a real glimpse into everything he was going through in his life.  On one track in "Swimming" he says, "Do anything for a way out of my head." "My regrets look like texts I should not send". Gripping lyrics that are totally relatable no matter who you are.  The album comes across to me as almost more soul influenced then rap. I creates a warm smooth mood with the melodies and yet the lyrics are revealing and often upsetting. I give this a



This album definitely sets a tone. It is the modern version of Burt Bacharach or Perry Como. It kind of makes me want to put on a lounge jacket, set a fire and pour some brandy. It reminds me a lot of smooth jazz with a modern feel. "Ladder" was a nice pop song with a lot of flow but I was distracted because it sounded like Lonely Island music. On the other hand "Conversation" was edgy and had a less lounge like quality to it. I was pleasantly surprised that I actually liked this album. I know that any music with words is trying to say things with them, but honestly I am completely blind to any lyrics in rap songs. To be fair I would have to listen to it a few times to really absorb the message, and I am not going to do that. I have to give Mac credit because he is starting to break down my walls of resistance to rap music. It still doesn't really appeal to me, but I thought it was good.


Sean Maldjian