It’s no simple thing to write about an artist’s posthumous work. There are many pitfalls to fall into. You don’t want to put them on a pedestal just because they have passed, but how do you not look back at the beauty they have created and not mourn for what more they could have done?
Mac Miller released over seven albums from the time he first began to work. His first album, Blue Slide Park emerged as a free for all. On it, Miller revels in the long sleepless nights of celebration and debauchery. His single “Up All Night” famously says, “Gimme another cup / Won’t be leaving till three”, but part of it also sounds like a bit of a satire. “Got a reputation” he says; maybe he was just singing what was expected of him.
This is a thought that comes in light of the transition his music seemed to make over the course of several albums. His music changed from upbeat party tunes to a rhythmic, slow moving beat. His song “Weekend” spoke of the horrors that those long nights of partying wrought on him: “Getting high just to deal with my problems”. The final album Swimming – which he released before his passing – included a song named “Self Care”. He was said to have been clean at the time. This positivity and upward trend made his eventual passing all the worst because it was both expected and unexpected.
“Good News” is the first single to be released after Mac Miller’s death, and is also the first single of his posthumous album Circles, due out this Friday. The nearly six minute long track hurts to listen to, and somehow seems to bridge the gap between the good vibes mood of Swimming, and the heartbreaking conclusion of the following year. “Good News/ That’s all they wanna hear. No they don’t like it when I’m down/ When I’m flying. Oh it makes em so uncomfortable/ so different, what’s the difference.”
I’m not putting him on a pedestal, but looking at all this beauty, how can you not mourn for what more he could have done? Or maybe I’m just reading too much into it.