Photo by Brick Stowell courtesy of Warner Records

Stuck Swimming in Circles

Completing and contemplating Mac Miller's final album
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Completing and contemplating Mac Miller’s final album

Mac Miller‘s family and record producer, Jon Brion, released his final album, “Circles,” on Jan. 17. “Circles” completes his previous album, which was under works during his accidental overdose a month after “Swimming” was released in 2018.

“Circles” goes deeper into his personal life and the struggles he was dealing with. Songs such as the last song, “Once a Day,” hit home. Miller had posted a snippet of the song on his Instagram story the day before his death.

Jena Schuh, a zoology student at Humboldt State University, said she knew this album was going to be one of, if not the greatest, album Miller worked on when she first started listening.

Miller’s album goes deeper into the idea that although he was rich and famous, he still dealt with struggles.

“The style of ‘Circles’ truly portrays who Mac as a person was,” Schuh said. “Even though he had a lot of money and fame, he still went through the daily struggles that a lot of normal people have too.”

Throughout the album, Miller openly talks about how he was feeling and some of his darker thoughts about the world and himself. He displays vulnerability to himself and is more transparent in “Circles” than any other album he made.

Miller’s album goes deeper into the idea that although he was rich and famous, he still dealt with struggles. In the song “Circles,” Miller talks about how he’s tried to change, but can’t.

“He’s just so creative and so unique. I feel like no one could ever guess what Mac would want, you know?”

Hazel Belair

This album in particular has a lot of things that people can relate to, such as going around and around in circles in life. In his song, “Blue World,” Miller describes the craziness of the world and the devil being on his doorstep, but carrying on and shining. It’s an album of pain and tribulations, but also triumph. He continues to talk about himself rising up, shining or continuing on.

This album gave Mac Miller fans mixed emotions. Hazel Belair, a 21-year-old Arcata resident, said she chose to avoid listening to the album because it wasn’t finished by Miller himself.

“He’s just so creative and so unique,” Belair said. “I feel like no one could ever guess what Mac would want, you know?”

The family asking Brion to complete the album was an important part of keeping the authenticity. Brion had been working with Miller on not just “Circles,” but also on his last album, “Swimming.” They had been experimenting with different sounds, instruments and lyrics.

With the amount of time the two spent together, Brion learned a lot about Miller, but particularly about his music style and preferences. After countless hours in the studio with him, Brion picked up on what Miller was looking for in the album and how he wanted it to sound. There isn’t anyone else who could have made this into a more pure Mac Miller album than Brion did.

HSU geography student Olivia Dorenkamp thought Brion did a great job on the album and brought out new sounds.

“‘Good News‘ and ‘Woods‘ put me in a state of bliss and remembrance of his past music,” Dorenkamp said. “Overall into a groovy state of mind.”

Although “Circles” was Mac Miller’s final contribution to the music world, it was one of his most beautiful. He died over a year ago, but his memory continues to live on through his lyrics and the musical creativity that’s portrayed in “Circles” and his other albums.

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