Mac Miller just woke up from a dream. His latest album, GO:OD AM, is the story of the morning after. It’s his first LP since signing with Warner Bros. Records in October of 2014, and it bleeds with perspective. It’s Miller catching more than a glimpse of sunlight as he exits the woods of a drug-soaked past.
I’ll tell you what it’s not. It’s not another mindless “we made it” album that exists solely for the culturally celebrated purpose of hype. We’ve all seen a lot of those in recent years. It’s not a full recovery either. It’s an introspective story that can’t be read on a surface level. Miller isn’t going to pretend he’s committed to sobering up. Rather, he’s learned from his experience. He’s trying to find the balance between perfection and apathy, “between heaven and hell,” as he references in “Brand Name” and later in “Ascension,” the latter of which provides an answer:
“What’s between heaven and hell? A brand new me.”
Here’s the track list:
- Brand Name
- Rush Hour
- Two Matches (feat. Ab-Soul)
- 100 Grandkids
- Time Flies (feat. Lil B)
- Weekend (feat. Miguel)
- In the Bag
- Break the Law
- Perfect Circle / God Speed
- When In Rome
- Cut the Check (feat. Chief Keef)
- The Festival (feat. Lil Dragon)
Like the afterglow of an acid trip, the album winds its way through halfway-psychedelic sound waves and mixed emotions. Raw piano riffs and faded horns provide a landscape that mingles with jazz at times. In “Perfect Circle/God Speed,” you can almost hear the piano’s hammer strike its chord, and it’s beautiful.
Let me stop for a second to note that “Perfect Circle” is the epitome of the album. It’s a reverb-filled, eerie culmination of his admittedly egotistical style, and it’s so vulnerable. “ROS” is a true love song, tracks like “In the Bag” and “Cut the Check” celebrate his success, but nothing preaches the message of life’s process like “Perfect Circle / God Speed.”
Oh, and don’t worry. He’s still as lyrically sharp as ever.
“I’ve been murdering the game. I’m almost out of victims. This food for thought usually enough to feed 1000 pigeons.” (from “Time Flies”)
Most people know Miller as a lyrical suburbanite who wanders into childhood nostalgia for inspiration, and that certainly hasn’t left him yet. But GO:OD AM is the “what next.” He’s building on the foundation by baring his soul. He’s not fully enlightened, but he has learned. You should too. Grab this album.
If you decide I’m full of it, at least check out:
“Perfect Circle / God Speed”