Circles album review by Sophie lajnef

On January 17th, 2020, Mac Miller released his first posthumous album entitled Circles. His death, caused by an accidental drug overdose, sent the industry and his many fans into shock. Having recently released his 2018 album, Swimming, critics and fans were anticipating what this shift in style and theme would mean for his later work.

Circles was an extension and perhaps a conclusion to the misanthropic, melancholic, melodic tone of Swimming, the perfect way to wrap up Miller’s legacy and showcase his growth as an artist. Miller had been working closely with producer Jon Brion, who was dedicated to completing and releasing the album as Miller would have wanted.

The album itself stands out from the rest of his discography; the strength of Circles lies not primarily in his lyricism and flow, like previous albums, but more in acoustics. It incorporates low-fi, jazz, indie, and elements of soft R&B for a nostalgic sound (hence the title, coming full circle).

A fan favorite that exemplifies this unique fusion of sound and genre is “Blue World”. The song opens with a sample of the doo-wop song “It’s A Blue World” by the Four Freshman, before transitioning into Miller’s signature rap verses coupled with an electronica-esque beat, interrupted periodically by melodic interludes of Mac’s singing, a new but common theme on Circles.

The album in itself is about breaking the loop of everyday existence, which, in a way, he achieved. He leaves us with another way out, though, imparting some of his newly found wisdom on his fans, preserving his legacy, and ensuring that it won’t repeat itself.