Artist: Mac Miller
Label: Warner Bros. Records
In early August 2018, one month before his untimely passing, Mac Miller released his fifth studio album, Swimming. Almost two years since his previous release, Miller returned with his most complete body of work. His last major release, The Divine Feminine, painted a picture of Miller in love and happier than ever. In stark contrast, Swimming is Miller at his loneliest, most troubled, and introspective.
This album delves deeply into his mental state, substance abuse problems and heartbreak, while highlighting the anguish that follows. His reflection on these experiences comes across as wise and extremely self-aware, sounding like a man at peace with his reality. Even in its lighter moments, such as with the funk-infused, Thundercat-assisted jam “What’s the Use?,” Miller is still dealing with his demons. At its darkest, Swimming tells the tale of a man wounded, drowning in a sea of self-doubt, self-meditation and self-medication.
The album’s strongest moment, “2009,” is gorgeous, starting off with a swell of violins that lead into a beautiful piano loop. Lyrically, Miller reflects on his career and his journey, from his breakout mixtape, to 2018. Miller’s career was one to behold. From stoner-friendly frat rapper to one of the most diverse and talented people in hip hop, his growth was astounding. With every release, he got better and better. Swimming is Mac Miller’s best album and one of the best albums of 2018.
Trial Track: “2009”
Star Bar: “You gotta jump in to swim
Well, the light was dim in this life of sin
Now every day I wake up and breathe
I don’t have it all but that’s alright with me”