Mac Miller’s posthumous album, Circles, satisfies

Abigail Kapoor, Staff Writer

On Jan. 17, late rapper Mac Miller released his album, Circles via Warner Records. It was his 6th
and final album, a companion to his previous album, Swimming.
The two were meant to complete each other. “Two different styles complementing each other,
completing a circle–Swimming in Circles was the concept,” said a statement on Miller’s Instagram from
his family.
In their announcement, his family explained how Circles was planned to have a different tone than
Swimming, and Mac collaborated with Jon Brion in producing the music. After Miller passed away on
Sept. 7, 2018, Brion was approached by the Miller family and asked to complete Circles. He devoted
himself to concluding Miller’s final album, the way he would have wanted it.
Initially, Miller was nervous about approaching Brion, intimidated by his distinguished status as a
producer and film composer. However, when Brion’s films with themes of anxiety and depression, are
taken into consideration with Mac’s well-known history of mental health struggles, the duo makes more
“These were his exact words: ‘Oh, yeah. Hi. I really wanted to meet you, but I don’t know if
you’d even consider what I do as music,’” said Jon Brion, quoting Mac Miller in Vulture.
Brion worked to preserve Miller’s original works. He produced the album meticulously and at a
deliberate pace to keep it as close to Miller’s creation as possible. Brion knew Miller’s vision and
realized how this album was more than just a new project, but an act of closure for everyone who held
him close to their hearts.
“It was beautiful that Brion didn’t change a lot of the album– it shows his respect for Mac, and it’s
assuring for fans to know that his last album was the best it could have been,” said 10th grader Avery
Brion decided on ‘‘Once a day’’ as the closing track. When he was editing the album after
Miller’s death, Brion had a flashback to when Miller played him the song. He was immediately stunned
by how perfect it was, and couldn’t bear to make any changes to it in production.
The companion set of albums, Swimming and Circles, were supposed to be a trio. Swimming was
meant to be a mix of hip hop and song-based style, whereas Circles was to be mainly song-based. The
third was believed by Jon Brion to be a pure hip hop album.
“It’s unfortunate that he didn’t get to finish Circles and do his third album, but it was so amazing
that Jon Brion stepped in to get Circles out for all of Mac’s fans,” said sophomore Emma Sy.
Miller’s exact plan for the third album is unknown. Still, the general theme of the first two
albums, his struggles with mental illness and the effects of substance abuse, would most likely have
continued in the third.
Before his passing, Miller discussed with Brion his desire to have the music in Circles be deeper
and more song-like than his usual hip-hop, rap sound, possibly highlighting the volatile, emotional
aspects of the songs. The most popular songs on the album are “Circles,” “Blue World,” and “Good
“Right before you fall, stumbling around you been guessing your direction” are lyrics in ‘Circles’
where Miller confesses he is lost and depressed. He closes with the words, “Don’t put any more stress on
yourself, it’s one day at a time,” in which he is a lot more positive. I have seen this pattern in some of the
songs on this album, where he begins by pouring out his feelings, and then by the end, he has changed to
a more encouraging and uplifting tone,” said sophomore Nicole Bonavitacola.
Let this be the indelible mark Mac Miller leaves his fans. For everyone who has loved Mac
Miller’s work, remember him by the encouragement he ultimately communicates in all of his albums, and
in Circles most of all.