‘Until the day we have to meet again’

Delving into the late legend’s last goodbye

Tate Fallon, R3 Features Editor

In September 2018, music fans were left in shock, losing one of the most talented, soulful rap artists of his time to an accidental drug overdose. But one and a half years later, we got our final goodbye from the man himself: Mac Miller.

Before his death, Miller was working on an album with producer Jon Brion.  After he died, Brion dedicated himself to finishing the project.

On Jan. 17, Miller’s family released an album containing the music he was working on before his sudden passing. In the official social media post, Miller’s family said, “We are left to imagine where Malcolm was going and to appreciate where he was. We hope you take the time to listen.”

Photo by Christian Weber
Mac Miller in his recording studio

His final album titled Circles takes listeners through a journey of hard-hitting, heavy lyrics mixed with Brion’s experimental and minimalistic beats.

Miller is known to have alluded to issues concerning his mental health previously, as he communicates this to his listeners in his lyrics. This theme appears throughout the compilation of songs.

It starts off with “Circles,” a song with a melancholy tone on loop for almost three minutes, which opens with Miller singing the line, “Well, this is what it looks like right before you fall,” a line that left me speechless. Sitting there, listening to his voice gave me chills. I felt like his ghost was right there, next to me, telling me to keep listening even though I felt so overwhelmed with emotion.

Then it shifts to a song titled “Complicated” which talks about life’s daily struggles. Miller says his head feels “cluttered” and even when he tries, he is left unable to “clean up the mess [he] made.”

Two songs later, he refers back to this line in the track “Good News,” singing, “I spent the whole day in my head / Do a little spring cleanin’.” Listeners are given a sense of hope that Miller’s mental state is slowly improving, which continues throughout the song as he lets himself be free.

Later tracks, “I Can See,” “Woods,” “That’s On Me” and “Surf” show optimistic points of view, with Miller seeking to understand and reflect. He contrasts that with a mix of somber and sweet tones, in the songs “Hand Me Downs,” “Hands” and “Once A Day,” which show the mental hardships and difficulties that the artist couldn’t find peace with.

The album ends with the line, “Once a day, I try, but I can’t find a single word.” This is the perfect way to express how I felt after hearing Circles—heartbroken and speechless knowing that while this work is a masterpiece, it’s unfortunately his last.