BY JULIA PIZZUTO
Assistant A&E Editor
“Circles,” the sixth and final album of Pittsburgh-born artist Malcolm Miller, known to
the world as Mac Miller, was released on Jan. 17. The posthumous album comes nearly
a year and a half after the rapper’s accidental drug overdose. Fans were shocked by his
death on Sept. 7, 2018, at the young age of 26.
The single “Good News” off the new album was number 17 on Billboard Hot 100 for
the week of January 22, making it Mac Miller’s highest charting solo track ever.
Miller meant for “Circles” to be a continuation of album “Swimming,” which dropped
in Aug. 2018, barely a month before Miller’s death. The vocals for “Circles” were
previously recorded, but the instruments for the album and some overdubbing were
completed by producer John Brion.
Brion and Miller were good friends, and had collaborated on “Swimming” as well.
Brion decided to finish Mac’s work after being asked by Miller’s family.
Miller had been dropping hits since he released his mixtape “But My Mackin’ Aint
Easy” under the name Easy Mac. However, Miller’s last two albums moved away from
rap, “Hands” being the only true rap track on “Circles.”
The track “Blue World” strays into jazzy territory, starting with a sample from 1950
song “It’s a Blue World” by The Four Freshmen. The song is freshman Jesse Chelednik’s
favorite off of “Circles.”
“It has an older sound to it, like it’s a classic song…its nuts,” said Chelednik.
The lyrics of both “Circles” and “Swimming” are evident of Miller’s struggles with
mental health and addiction. In the “Circles” song “Complicated,” Mac expresses just
wanting to make it through a day before he can think about the future.
The track “That’s On Me” is Mac acknowledging his own mental state, with “that’s on
me, I know” repeated throughout the song. Upon hearing the track “Once a Day,” Brion
told Apple Music he “ran out into the hallway and cried again and dried my eyes out and
went back in.”
While most of the songs on “Circles” focus on Miller himself, some love songs are
included. The song “Woods” features the line “hate love, heartbreak will have you
The album is a unique opportunity for fans to celebrate new Mac Miller music one final
time. “It’s like a gift from beyond the grave,” said Chelednik.