Swimming (2LP)

Mac MillerSKU: 093624904236



Following 2016's ode to love The Divine Feminine, Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller avoids treading water and continues his artistic maturation on his fifth full-length album, Swimming.

As flowing as the title suggests, Swimming undulates with laid-back slacker soul and hypnotic production, like a lava lamp bobbing along calm waves. Inspired by events preceding the album's release, Miller's moody and introspective lyrics hint at the post-breakup black cloud hovering above his head, while also addressing his struggles with maintaining sobriety. Coupled with his soulful sing-rapping and input from producer Jon Brion, Swimming is one of Miller's more enjoyable and cohesive visions.

Throughout, there's an emo-R&B vibe that strongly recalls Frank Ocean. Highlights include the popping, Pharrell-assisted "Hurt Feelings," the synth-funk bounce of the Snoop Dogg and Thundercat collaboration "What's the Use?," and "Self Care," a narcotic cloud rap gem that benefits from co-writers Dev Hynes and J.I.D. The woozy production and marble-mouthed delivery can sometimes be a slog (similar to one of Drake's or Post Malone's overly long albums), but every now and then there's something -- be it the surprise jazz piano on "Small Worlds" or the orchestral sweep of "2009" -- that pulls everything back into focus.

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