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Listen Your Heart Out: Music Recommendations — “Circles”

by Sadie Presto


Mac Miller 

Genre: Rap / Hip Hop



Mac Miller: rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer. Malcolm McCormick: son, brother, friend, inspiration. Two different personas that slowly melted together to conceive the man we knew. And when the real Malcolm finally came together, our hearts became lighter and smiles became just as wide as his.

On Jan 8, music fans and Pittsburgh natives alike saw a social media post from an account we never thought we would see again, Mac Miller.

When I saw it, my heart stopped; instant tears swelled in my eyes and my throat tightened.

The line outside the “Circles: Til Infinity” art exhibit. Photo by Kaylee Stinebiser

Mac was more than a hometown hero to me.

I found Malcolm in middle school when his mixtape, “KIDS,” dropped and became a huge fa

n with the arrival of his first album, “Blue Slide Park.” Through every era, I was there, singing along to lyrics that would forever be engraved in my mind.

Through every step of my evolving life, Malcolm was there as the brother I never had.

Photo by Kaylee Stinebiser

Through his art, Malcolm broke down the walls of insecurities by taking us through his lifelong fight with addiction and depression. Mac experimented with hip-hop, psychedelic, R&B, alternative, jazz, funk, soul, and poetry to create his own stunning and unique style. He stopped thinking about what he should make for his label and started saying what he wanted to say, and it was beautiful.

“Circles” is nothing short of that beauty.

On Jan 8, Mac’s family posted a statement and the album cover on his Instagram.

“Here we are…,” they said, “at the time of his passing, Malcolm was well into the process of recording his companion album to ‘Swimming,’ entitled ‘Circles’ … Swimming in Circles.”

On Mac’s fifth album, “Swimming,” released a month before his untimely death, “So It Goes” hints a continuation of the theme of finding one’s self with the line, “just like a circle I go back where I’m from.”

On Jan 10, Mac’s family posted an announcement for an immersive listening experience and multimedia exhibition held Jan 17 and 18 in Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, and New York City titled, “Circles: Til Infinity.”

On Jan 17, Circles dropped at midnight.

I don’t know how else to describe the album other than beautifully melancholy.

It opens with the title song, “Circles,” describing feeling lost and always “drawing circles” day after day. The next four tracks have a more upbeat vibe, which is instantly crushed with the eerie message “Everybody”

Photo by Kaylee Stinebiser


Track seven and eight reflect on heartbreak and coping, which is the perfect segue to, “That’s On Me,” where Mac takes responsibility for his own mental demons, and “picks up and helps” fans fight their own.

The next two tracks share the same jazzy-vibe that Mac has been recognized for.

Photo by Kaylee Stinebiser

To conclude, we fade into “Once a Day,” a soulful melody that ends the album unfinished and abruptly, just like Malcolm leaving us.

I love every track on our final gift from Malcolm, “Circles,” but personally, “Circles,” “Everybody,” “That’s On Me,” and “Once A Day” just pull at my heartstrings a little different.

Malcolm deserved the storybook ending. The climax we were all watching develop and just waiting to peak.

Redemption. Malcolm deserved redemption.

On Jan 19, Malcolm McCormick would have turned 28.

The final minute of the “Good News” music video gives me closure that where ever he is, he’s okay.

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