Mac Miller grows, matures with latest release

Chris Duncan

Many musicians turn toward love for their inspiration, weaving tales of triumph and heartbreak to tell their stories. But with Mac Miller’s most recent release, he doesn’t just focus on one romance — he professes his feelings for every woman alive.

When Miller released his debut album Blue Slide Park in 2011, he found instant mainstream success but lacked the voice to connect with a variety of listeners. His transformation began in 2015 with GO:OD AM, a resounding success in the betterment of Miller’s sound, but just a year later with his latest release The Divine Feminine, Miller completes his makeover and now stands as one of rap’s pioneering creative minds.

Although The Divine Feminine started out as an EP, it’s nearly impossible to tell because of how thought-out each song feels. The album has few noticeable holes in its production and mixing, bringing to the table an extremely well-rounded experience for listeners. Built upon funk and soul-infused beats, the album’s sound is one of eroticism. But rather than being about a specific woman, Miller’s love is instead directed toward the female form. This premise is like a loaded sexist shotgun, waiting for someone to pull the trigger and make something go wrong, but Miller never brings aggression into the project. It’s more of a strange endearment.

Miller’s flow on this album often equals or exceeds that of GO:OD AM, highlighting emotional moments in each song. “Dang!”, which features fantastic vocals from
Anderson. Paak, displays Miller’s hip-hop talents on an ethereal beat, making it the obvious choice for the album’s standout single.

Even his singing takes a step up on this project. Miller likely spent time honing in his vocal abilities to make special moments in each song even more memorable. The record’s third track, “Stay,” highlights Miller’s voice, placing it at the forefront of the track’s chorus and transitions to make it the key player in the song’s progression.

Not every track soars, with a few derailing because they can’t pull in the listener. “Cinderella” might grow on some people after a few listens but struggles to make any
noticeable impact from the get-go because of its lackluster feature from Ty Dolla $ign and a boring beat. Other songs such as “Soulmate” and “We” fall short of their marks, coming across as demo moments rather than fully fleshed out ideas.

Beyond those few stumbling blocks, Miller sounds like he has come into his own, experimenting with new keyboard effects and some
unconventional syncopation patterns to keep songs interesting. “My Favorite Part,” a duet with Ariana Grande, sounds like a strange premise but turns out to be a resounding success in highlighting Miller’s transformation into an artist willing to try something new.

As the record’s concluding track “God Is Fair, Sexy Nasty” fades out to conclude the LP, The Divine Feminine feels more like Miller’s dissertation rather than just another album in his discography. Although he may still be vulgar at moments, Miller’s transformation from a care-free party-going fiend into an introspective neo-soul artist is, for all intents and purposes, complete with this album. The Divine Feminine embodies an outlook rather than a moment, allowing Miller to project his inner thoughts and create an experience his fans will love.