“I Was Drowning But Now I’m Swimming …”
I’ll admit that I’m not a fan of today’s hip-hop. Yeah yeah yeah, I’m an oldhead. Seriously though, face-tattooed mumble rappers are okay, but they’re now a dime a dozen and I find it hard to discern one artist from another. That being said, I never really looked into Mac Miller with a serious curiosity because his hits never really stuck with me. In fact, I remember when his last album The Divine Feminine came out, I gave it a listen. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I do not remember one song off of it.
Fast forward to 2018 … Mac Miller has been wildin’ out. He was dating the most popular pop music artist today, Ariana Grande, for a good two years before they broke up back in May. Days later, he was arrested for driving under the influence.
I think it’s safe to say that since then, and perhaps because his ex-girlfriend immediately started dating Pete Davidson, Mac started laying low for a while in the months leading up to the release of his album. His album makes it clear that he was going through some rough life lessons.
In the intro track, ‘Come Back To Earth‘, Miller sings my favorite verse of the whole album:
“In my own way, this feel like living,
Some alternate reality,
And I was drowning but now I’m swimming,
through stressful waters to relief”
… He hit rock bottom and spent some time there, but now he’s on his way to a better life. In fact, he recently appeared on NPR’s Tiny Desk to promote the album and things are looking bright for the rapper!
By far, my favorite track from the album is ‘Hurt Feelings‘. I hope it gets some time on mainstream radio because it slaps and has some of the best lyrics of the year. Other standout tracks include ‘Self Care’, ‘Dunno’, ‘2009’ and ‘Jet Fuel’. The album features appearances by Snoop Dogg and Thundercat.
The overall vibe of Swimming is reminiscent of Frank Ocean‘s Blonde with its melancholic and tired feeling. I’m sure there is some inspiration that was brought on by Ocean.
At the end of the day, Mac Miller’s Swimming isn’t groundbreaking but it is very memorable. The vibe is perfect for those long drives and just chillin’ at home. His emotion is genuine and you can feel it in the lyrics. The production is great and you really get sucked into some of the beats. Even if you’re not a fan of hip-hop, Swimming is well worth a listen for anyone who can relate to his struggles.
My Rating: 8/10