Brion told Apple Music‘s Zane Lowe, “He comes in and he plays five or six things. There was more hip-hop-leaning stuff, and it was great and funny and personal—the tracks were already pointing someplace interesting. After a couple of those, he goes, ‘I’ve got these other things I’m not sure what to do with.’” Those unplaceable tracks serve as the exploration of Miller’s musicality, melody, and vulnerability that is Circles.
3 Blue World
4 Good News
5 I Can See
8 Hand Me Downs
9 That’s On Me
12 Once a Day
13 Right (Bonus Track)
14 Floating (Bonus Track)
The posthumous album was completed based on a series of conversations between Brion and Mac Miller shortly before his death of an accidental overdose in 2018. Comprised of 12 tracks, Circles adds elements of live percussion, strings and various overdubs to Miller’s final recordings. Lead by the previously shared track “Good News,” remaining songs “Circles,” “Complicated,” “I Can See,” “That’s on Me,” “Hands” and “Once a Day” offer a revitalizing look at Miller’s artistry as he strayed away from his usual hip-hop leaning.
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Listen to Mac Miller’s posthumous album Circles on Spotify and Apple Music below.
Circles is the sixth and final studio album by Mac Miller. Conceived as a sister album to 2018’s full length Swimming,
the album was completed with the assistance of Jon Brion, with whom Miller worked on Swimming and had been working together on Circles at the time of his passing. While sonically distinctly different than its predecessor, Circles features many of the hallmarks for which Swimming was critically-acclaimed upon its release — Miller further realizing his singing voice in addition to rapping, live instrumentation and earnest, confessional lyrical content. Listeners will hear shades of some of the album’s influences in its songs, from the T-Rex guitar tone of “Surf” to the Plastic Ono Band-era John Lennon feel of its production and the inspired cover of Arthur Lee’s 1972 single “Everybody’s Gotta Live.”
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It’s a momentous final entry into the discography of an artist that remains at the center of reimagining the limits of rap.
Miller’s parents also explained how producer Jon Brion — a cerebral musician who has worked with Kanye West and Fiona
Apple, among many others — worked with Miller and played a key role in the difficult task of completing a posthumous album.
“After his passing, Jon dedicated himself to finishing Circles based on his time and conversations with Malcolm,”
Miller’s parents wrote. “We are eternally grateful to Jon and to those who gave their best to the difficult and emotional task of putting out this body of work.”
His parents concluded by acknowledging the difficult of completing and releasing a posthumous album. “This is a complicated process that has no right answer… We simply know that it was was important to Malcolm for the world to hear it.” They also wrote they hope the album will be viewed “meaningfully while keeping sacred what should be kept sacred.”
With Mac Miller’s posthumous Circles album on tap for Friday (Jan. 17), the Mac Miller estate has announced a few listening events spanning the globe for fans to experience the anticipated project.
The first is set to take place in Sydney, Australia on Thursday (Jan. 16), while there are a pair of events taking over Miller’s hometown of Pittsburgh, NYC, and Los Angeles, on Friday and Saturday (Jan 17-18) to complete the release weekend.
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