Mac Miller’s a rapper that I’ll probably never get but will always like. He often picks some awesome beats, and he’s always got some witty lyrics ready. But he also raps in a stream-of-consciousness style that I have trouble following when he’s working on a real topic, which I think stops me from catching and caring about what he’s saying. Hence, I doubt it’s a good idea to write a lot about his latest album, GO:OD AM, because I’ve already got enough negativity in my life right now.
There’s definitely stuff to love here. Doors opens the album sounding like an introduction to dreamland reminiscent of Willy Wonka’s Pure Imagination. Sadly, the next song, Brand Name, doesn’t really keep that promise, in fact, it’s oddly conventional, due to its omnipresent vocal samples and average drum loop. Mood is one of GO:OD AM‘s weak spots, because the album establishes a great one but doesn’t always make the effort to maintain it. After Brand Name, the mood is reestablished with songs like Two Matches with Ab-Soul, which feels like laying on grass during the summer, looking for shapes in the passing clouds. This is where Mac Miller shines: lighthearted, fun songs. A LOT of misogyny is thrown around but these songs are so blatantly not serious that I’m not even offended. Anyways, suspension of disbelief is practically a requirement for enjoying hip-hop music.
And I’m happy to do that until a song like Ascension makes the assertion that Mac is becoming or has become a new, better person than who he is/was. On 100 Grandkids he says “swear these bitches done lost it baby, you put the hoe in honest baby, so complicated,” but ROS is a love letter to his girlfriend. I just can’t reconcile the two personas, so songs like Ascension and The Festival are much too frustrating and uninteresting for me to play more than twice. Of the two personas, at least the asshole party guy makes lyrical sense and picks beats with better energy, so that’s who I choose to spend my time on.
To swing back to my first problem, those topical songs also take the mood too far, from dreamy to boredom-induced sleep. Also, if this is an album of quiet dreams, then why is In The Bag driven by club sounds, and why does Perfect Circle sound like a slow-motion wild west gun duel? Cutting out everything that didn’t tie to the overarching room would have left a much better album. As it stands, we have 17 tracks and at least four or five too many.
Like his last album, GO:OD AM is merely a temporary diversion. Mac Miller is definitely a good rapper, and he’s made a lot of good songs for this album. But I need a lot more cohesion in what I’d call a great album. Not just in the individual verses, but in the moods and themes. Without these qualities, Mac’s just another pretty good but aimless rapper.
- Rush Hour
- 100 Grandkids