Swimming Album Review
By: Eben Timko
It feels like Mac Miller has figured it out. He grew out of his stoner/teen phase of “KIDS” and has been through the ringer since. Mac has been open about his drug use and sobriety, and his tone throughout Swimming is reflective. As evident in songs like “Hurt Feelings”, Mac has perfected that staring-out-the-window-at-the-rain sound and wants to put you into his shoes. That said, Mac is happy. Happy Mac Miller sounds like that summer groovy and funky jawn, coincidentally exemplified by “What’s the Use” - the song right after “Hurt Feelings”. Mac has showed us these type of jams before as he teamed up with the likes of Anderson .Paak.
Mac is known for being a rapper, but spends a good bit of Swimming singing. He would likely admit that he is not the best singer, but it works. He’s comfortable. He can rap, we all know that, and his comfort with where he’s at is evident by the ease with which he slides across each beat. None of his bars seem forced. On “Self Care”, Mac raps “tell them they can take that bullshit elsewhere/self care, I’m treating me right, yeah”. Mac is focused on bettering himself and is happy to share how he’s feeling - good or bad. On “Dunno”, Mac woefully raps and sings about a past relationship, probably his with Ariana Grande, and it feels as though despite his gloom, he’s accepted things and is moving on. He wishes her the best, reminisces out the highlights, and accepts their fate. Mac is comfortable with his emotions and I afraid to bare his soul.
Pitchfork summed things up perfectly by saying that Swimming is an album with “nothing but time on its hands”. That hit me hardest when “Wings” came on. Mac is biding his time, no longer in pursuit of fame or attention. He’s already flying, and now making the mind of music he wants to, exploring his mind as he goes. Mac trusts himself and is confident, which is what is propelling him forward. Swimming isn’t contending for best album of the year, but it feels like Mac is content with his progress. He should be.