Mac Miller’s Faces comes to streaming

The remastered project has its quirks and differences, but it’s still Mac

Over seven years after its release on Mother’s Day 2014, Mac Miller’s Faces has come to streaming services. The initial tape saw a free release via DatPiff, but this remaster via the family estate has brought about a version that is different, not better. Along with the remaster is a short film, a handful of animated music videos, and an officially pressed vinyl.

To put Faces in a box is the wrong way to write this article. The main differences sonically between this Faces and the original are slight. In terms of mixing, 2014’s Faces had a bit of a static-like quality to many of the tracks and sometimes had Miller’s voice low in the mix of his songs. This version sees most of the tracks adjusted to bring Miller’s vocals to the forefront, along with tweaked instrumentals. A good example of these changes can be observed on “New Faces v2.” On the latest release, the drum loop begins much earlier than it does in the initial release.

Part of what made Faces such a revered project amongst fans was the use of various samples in the original release. Having released it for free and not profit, Miller was able to use an abundance of samples throughout the project without needing to pay the originators to license their use. With the re-release, many fans were expecting most of the samples to be butchered or removed, which is only mildly the case.

Some of the samples that were kept were those on “Here We Go” and “Diablo.” The sample used in “Here We Go” was a paraphrased speech from a 2005 movie, Kingdom of Heaven. Another sample which was retained was the interpolation of Duke Ellington’s “In A Sentimental Mood.” This sample is the heart of the beat in “Diablo”, so it was only right that it stayed.

Some samples that were cut from this remaster of Faces were those from the original versions of “Wedding,” “Funeral,” and “Grand Finale.” Whether it was a money or a licensing issue, this remaster saw the removal of multiple audio clips. Namely, a clip of a Charles Bukowski interview, a passage from a Hunter S. Thompson interview, and a clip from the 1980 film, Where the Buffalo Roam.

While these are not a big deal overall, they did play big roles in furthering the segue from one track to another throughout the project. Although they will be missed, having the mixtape on streaming is bigger than a few samples that didn’t make it (though hardcore fans will probably maintain their position that the underground version is superior). 

One major difference between the original Faces and this re-release is the addition of “Yeah,” a five-minute bonus track that was not available on the 2014 DatPiff release. The track originally leaked in December 2019 under the name “8:21 AM.” The song itself is a haunting slow burner that rifles through nihilism and existentialism over a simple beat. While Miller never had a fantastic vocal range, this song may just be one of his strongest vocal performances, if not the best.

Remastering Faces is not going to be detrimental to a legacy that was already solidified. It would be easy to write this off as a money grab, but that is not accurate to everything that the estate has done after Miller’s death. Money has been spent on remastering the project well, and on producing and creating music videos and the short film that had no necessity to be made.

Without a doubt, this tape being more widely available will make sure that it finds its way to new listeners. At its core, this re-release is for the fans, and even if it isn’t perfect, it’s an acknowledgement to those that still love his music.


Graphic by Taylor Reddam


Revisiting Mac Miller’s Faces – a mixtape ahead of its time

Mac Miller’s 2014 opus isn’t available to stream, but it sure is worth the download on DatPiff.

Six years after its release, Faces is still Mac Miller’s pièce de résistance. The 2014 mixtape came out during an interim period between Miller’s tenure with Rostrum Records and his subsequent signing with Warner Records. Following his sophomore album, Watching Movies with the Sound Off, Miller was making music at lightspeed. His projects, You, Delusional Thomas and Faces are a fraction of the projects that Mac released after 2012’s Macadelic. Miller was not shy about his work ethic as he proclaimed on his track, “Malibu,” “I’m recordin’ like I’ll die tomorrow.”

Having ditched Rostrum Records, Miller showcased his freedom by fleshing out his Larry Fisherman alter ego, producing 14 out of 24 tracks on the project himself. As mentioned by Miller over the course of his career, most of the songs on this tape segue from one into the next in an attempt to leave the project as a start-to-finish listening experience. Using production play and sample cuts from movies, classic jazz and famous writers alike, the tape draws from a variety of sources of inspiration. Faces features a variety of guest appearances, most notably Thundercat, Earl Sweatshirt, and Vince Staples.

Faces has no shortage of dark, funny, and borderline terrifying lyrics. On some tracks Mac is singing his own praises, other tracks see him joking around with his friends, on “What Do You Do” he’s alluding to his own demise (“A drug habit like Philip Hoffman will probably put me in a coffin.”). This tape has no shortage of drug references, whether it’s PCP, LSD, or referring to cocaine as “the same shit that got Whitney,” Faces is an unadulterated view into Miller’s drug infested lifestyle at the time. His bars don’t sugar coat any of it, making this tape some of Mac’s most candid and soul-bearing work.

At the midway point in the album, Mac presents a trio of songs named after celebrations, “Happy Birthday,” “Wedding” and “Funeral.” Each one segueing into the next, the trio tells three separate tales of introspection going from an upbeat yet depressing birthday party, to a failed love story, ending with “Funeral,” where Miller admits, “Doin’ drugs is just a war with boredom but they sure to get me.”

The closing track, “Grande Finale” serves as the conclusion to the tape’s winding road of cocaine-induced delirium and wide range of sonic experimentation. The closing track sheds some closure as Miller admits his habits could kill him, as they eventually did. In an interview with Billboard, Miller admitted that “‘Grand Finale’ was supposed to be the last song I made on earth.”

From top to bottom, Faces is a complete body of work that takes listeners on a journey narrated by Miller. Coming in at a lengthy 86 minutes, this project isn’t necessarily the type of album you’d sit down and listen to start-to-finish, but the road that Miller navigates with Faces has something for everyone to appreciate. Whether it’s the snappy back and forth with Vince Staples on “Rain” or the psychedelic trip that is “Colors and Shapes,” this tape covers a variety of bases and still finds a way to be some of Mac’s best work lyrically and production-wise.

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