Mac Miller’s posthumous ‘Circles’ is a bleak glimpse at an artist on the cusp of their own demise

Mac Miller’s posthumous ‘Circles’ is a bleak glimpse at an artist on the cusp of their own demise

Photo by Brick Stowell
Words by Scott Hudson

Well, this is what it look like right before you fall”, are the chilling, opening lyrics of Mac Miller’s final project, Circles.

The posthumous record is evidence of Miller’s evolution past his hip hop foundations.

Good news/that’s all they want to hear/they don’t like it when I’m down”, Miller sings on ‘Good News’. A commentary on the pressures and expectations Miller felt from the public, the charged track has a surprisingly relaxed delivery, paired with soothing instrumentals.

Melbourne artist Baro lends his vocals to the album too, appearing on the song ‘Hand Me Downs’. His soulful voice blends Miller’s verses together, embracing one another like a warm hug. 

‘Blue World’, Miller’s collaboration with electronic duo Disclosure, offers their particular flavour to Miller’s album, bringing a more upbeat energy to Circles.

Once a Day’ closes out the album. “Don’t keep it all in your head/the only place that you know nobody ever can see”, sings Miller, his lyrics drawing attention to mental health with sharp-shooting vocals.

Circles offers a rare insight into the mind of someone on the cusp of their own demise. Mac Miller, despite his passing, has posthumously released an album that pays little mind to pop trends, with tracks sitting over five-minutes in length, alternating song structures, and instrumental breaks.

With melancholic lyrics, a diverse range of styles and basslines so lively they almost hold sentience, Circles is a refreshing addition from an established artist that feels untouched by peer pressure or label standards.