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Mac Miller - Circles

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Circles

Mac Miller

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On September 7, 2018, just a month after the release of his critically acclaimed fifth album, Swimming, Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller died from an accidental drug overdose. His struggles were no secret, but there was a glimmer of hope on Swimming that hinted that better days might be around the corner. While those possibilities were unfortunately lost with his passing, Miller did manage to record extra material that ended up on the posthumous set Circles. Intended as a companion piece to Swimming (i.e. "swimming in circles"), the album was completed by producer Jon Brion (Fiona Apple, Kanye West), who maintained the laid-back vibe and introspective mood of its predecessor. Subdued and reflective, the beats hit softer and the reliance on piano and Brion's quirky production choices make for a lush, comforting listen. With the bittersweet benefit of hindsight, the album's lyrics shed some light on Miller's state of mind at the time of his death, providing clear signs that the rapper was in need of more help and support. For fans, Circles will be a tough listen, as Brion's often-playful musical backing belies the sadness and resolve in Miller's voice. On "Complicated," he languidly raps that he's "way too young to be gettin' old" atop shiny synths, later wondering "Why does everyone need me to stay?" on the frustrated "Good News." On "Surf," he makes it even clearer, deciding he's "gotta get going before I'm gone." Even when he's singing someone else's material, as on "Everybody," a cover of Arthur Lee's 1972 song, he manages to make the original lyrics sound even more dour, concluding that "Everybody's gotta live/Everybody's gonna die." If Miller hadn't passed, Circles would be an insightful, focused addition to his strong late-era catalog, shining a necessary light on emotional and mental health struggles and sobriety through his deeply reflective lyrics and the wonderfully enjoyable and warm production work by Brion. Instead, it's yet another reminder of lost potential and a life cut tragically short. ~ Neil Z. Yeung

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Circles

Mac Miller

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1
Circles
00:02:50

JON BRION, Producer, Cymbals, Guitar, Vibraphone - John Armstrong, Recording Assistant - Vic Wainstein, Associate Producer, Recorded by - Rouble Kapoor, Recording Assistant - Mac Miller, Producer, Vocals, MainArtist - Greg Koller, Mixer, Recorded by - Eric Caudieux, Recorded by - Patricia Sullivan, Masterer - M. McCormick, Writer - Ben Fletcher, Recording Assistant - Ben Sedano, Recording Assistant - Jeff Sosnow, A&R Manager

2020 Warner Records Inc. 2020 Warner Records Inc.

2
Complicated
00:03:52

JON BRION, Producer, Guitar, Synthesizer - John Armstrong, Recording Assistant - J. Brion, Writer - Vic Wainstein, Associate Producer, Recorded by - Rouble Kapoor, Recording Assistant - Mac Miller, Producer, Vocals, MainArtist - Greg Koller, Mixer, Recorded by - Eric Caudieux, Recorded by - Patricia Sullivan, Masterer - M. McCormick, Writer - Ben Fletcher, Recording Assistant - Ben Sedano, Recording Assistant - Mono Neon, Bass - Jeff Sosnow, A&R Manager

2020 Warner Records Inc. 2020 Warner Records Inc.

3
Blue World
00:03:29

R. WRIGHT, Writer - G. FORREST, Writer - JON BRION, Additional Production - Vic Wainstein, Associate Producer - Mac Miller, Vocals, MainArtist - Greg Koller, Mixer - Patricia Sullivan, Masterer - Guy Lawrence, Producer, Recorded by - M. McCormick, Writer - G. Lawrence, Writer - Jeff Sosnow, A&R Manager

2020 Warner Records Inc. 2020 Warner Records Inc.

4
Good News
00:05:42

Wendy Melvoin, Guitar, Bass - Matt Chamberlain, Drums - JON BRION, Producer, Guitar, Keyboards - J. Brion, Writer - Vic Wainstein, Associate Producer, Recorded by - Rouble Kapoor, Recording Assistant - Mac Miller, Producer, Vocals, MainArtist - Greg Koller, Mixer, Recorded by - Eric Caudieux, Recorded by - Patricia Sullivan, Masterer - M. McCormick, Writer - Jeff Sosnow, A&R Manager

2020 Warner Records Inc. 2020 Warner Records Inc.

5
I Can See
00:03:40

Shea Taylor, Producer, Drums, Horn, Recorded by, Strings, Synthesizer - R. Taylor, Writer - JON BRION, Producer, Keyboards, Vibraphone, Synthesizer - John Armstrong, Recording Assistant - Vic Wainstein, Associate Producer, Recorded by - Rouble Kapoor, Recording Assistant - Mac Miller, Vocals, MainArtist - Josh Berg, Recorded by - Greg Koller, Mixer, Recorded by - Eric Caudieux, Recorded by - Patricia Sullivan, Masterer - M. McCormick, Writer - Ben Fletcher, Recording Assistant - Ben Sedano, Recording Assistant - Jeff Sosnow, A&R Manager

2020 Warner Records Inc. 2020 Warner Records Inc.

6
Everybody
00:04:16

A. Lee, Writer - JON BRION, Producer, Drums - Vic Wainstein, Associate Producer, Recorded by - Rouble Kapoor, Recording Assistant - Mac Miller, Producer, Vocals, Bass, MainArtist - Greg Koller, Mixer, Recorded by - Eric Caudieux, Recorded by - Patricia Sullivan, Masterer - Tony Royster, Jr., Drums - Zachary Acosta, Recorded by - Jeff Sosnow, A&R Manager

2020 Warner Records Inc. 2020 Warner Records Inc.

7
Woods
00:04:46

Wendy Melvoin, Guitar - JON BRION, Keyboards, Additional Production, Bass - E. Dan, Producer, Writer - J. Brion, Writer - Vic Wainstein, Associate Producer, Recorded by - Rouble Kapoor, Recording Assistant - Mac Miller, Vocals, MainArtist - Greg Koller, Mixer, Recorded by - Eric Caudieux, Recorded by - Patricia Sullivan, Masterer - E. Klughammer, Writer - M. McCormick, Writer - DAVID x ELI, Producer - Jeff Sosnow, A&R Manager - D. Ruoff, Writer

2020 Warner Records Inc. 2020 Warner Records Inc.

8
Hand Me Downs
00:04:58

JON BRION, Producer, Drums, Guitar - Vic Wainstein, Associate Producer - Rouble Kapoor, Recording Assistant - Mac Miller, Producer, Vocals, MainArtist - Greg Koller, Mixer, Recorded by - Patricia Sullivan, Masterer - G. Stevenson, Writer - M. McCormick, Writer - Jeff Sosnow, A&R Manager - Ross Ferraro, Recorded by - Stefan Durandt, Recorded by - B. Sarka, Writer - Baro Sura, Drums, Vocals

2020 Warner Records Inc. 2020 Warner Records Inc.

9
That's On Me
00:03:37

Wendy Melvoin, Guitar - JON BRION, Producer, Drums, Guitar, Piano, Bass - John Armstrong, Recording Assistant - Vic Wainstein, Associate Producer, Recorded by - Rouble Kapoor, Recording Assistant - Mac Miller, Producer, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist - Greg Koller, Mixer, Recorded by - Eric Caudieux, Recorded by - Patricia Sullivan, Masterer - M. McCormick, Writer - Ben Fletcher, Recording Assistant - Ben Sedano, Assistant - Jeff Sosnow, A&R Manager

2020 Warner Records Inc. 2020 Warner Records Inc.

10
Hands
00:03:19

Matt Chamberlain, Drums - JON BRION, Producer, Hammond Organ, Percussion, Reed Organ - J. Brion, Writer - Vic Wainstein, Associate Producer, Recorded by - Mac Miller, Producer, Vocals, MainArtist - Greg Koller, Mixer, Recorded by - Eric Caudieux, Recorded by - Patricia Sullivan, Masterer - M. McCormick, Writer - Jeff Sosnow, A&R Manager

2020 Warner Records Inc. 2020 Warner Records Inc.

11
Surf
00:05:30

JON BRION, Producer, Drums, Guitar, Bass - John Armstrong, Recording Assistant - J. Brion, Writer - Vic Wainstein, Associate Producer, Recorded by - Rouble Kapoor, Recording Assistant - Mac Miller, Producer, Vocals, MainArtist - Greg Koller, Mixer, Recorded by - Eric Caudieux, Recorded by - Patricia Sullivan, Masterer - M. McCormick, Writer - Ben Fletcher, Recording Assistant - Ben Sedano, Recording Assistant - Jeff Sosnow, A&R Manager

2020 Warner Records Inc. 2020 Warner Records Inc.

12
Once A Day
00:02:40

JON BRION, Percussion, Additional Production, Bass - John Armstrong, Recording Assistant - Vic Wainstein, Associate Producer, Recorded by - Rouble Kapoor, Recording Assistant - Mac Miller, Producer, Vocals, MainArtist - Greg Koller, Mixer, Recorded by - Eric Caudieux, Recorded by - Patricia Sullivan, Masterer - M. McCormick, Writer - Ben Fletcher, Recording Assistant - Ben Sedano, Recording Assistant - Jeff Sosnow, A&R Manager

2020 Warner Records Inc. 2020 Warner Records Inc.

Album Description

On September 7, 2018, just a month after the release of his critically acclaimed fifth album, Swimming, Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller died from an accidental drug overdose. His struggles were no secret, but there was a glimmer of hope on Swimming that hinted that better days might be around the corner. While those possibilities were unfortunately lost with his passing, Miller did manage to record extra material that ended up on the posthumous set Circles. Intended as a companion piece to Swimming (i.e. "swimming in circles"), the album was completed by producer Jon Brion (Fiona Apple, Kanye West), who maintained the laid-back vibe and introspective mood of its predecessor. Subdued and reflective, the beats hit softer and the reliance on piano and Brion's quirky production choices make for a lush, comforting listen. With the bittersweet benefit of hindsight, the album's lyrics shed some light on Miller's state of mind at the time of his death, providing clear signs that the rapper was in need of more help and support. For fans, Circles will be a tough listen, as Brion's often-playful musical backing belies the sadness and resolve in Miller's voice. On "Complicated," he languidly raps that he's "way too young to be gettin' old" atop shiny synths, later wondering "Why does everyone need me to stay?" on the frustrated "Good News." On "Surf," he makes it even clearer, deciding he's "gotta get going before I'm gone." Even when he's singing someone else's material, as on "Everybody," a cover of Arthur Lee's 1972 song, he manages to make the original lyrics sound even more dour, concluding that "Everybody's gotta live/Everybody's gonna die." If Miller hadn't passed, Circles would be an insightful, focused addition to his strong late-era catalog, shining a necessary light on emotional and mental health struggles and sobriety through his deeply reflective lyrics and the wonderfully enjoyable and warm production work by Brion. Instead, it's yet another reminder of lost potential and a life cut tragically short. ~ Neil Z. Yeung

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