Mac Miller has already had a tumultuous 2018. This spring, he went through a much-publicized breakup with girlfriend Ariana Grande, who later described their relationship as “toxic.” And in April, he was arrested for DUI and causing a hit-and-run accident. But he’s been working on translating all that personal anguish into music. And today, his new album Swimming is out in the world.
On first listen, Swimming is a remarkably cohesive album. As he’s done on pretty much all his music for the past few years, Miller gets unflinchingly introspective, digging deep into his own problems. And he does it over warm, lush, organic soul-rap — music that maintains a laid-back atmosphere without ever getting bored. This time around Miller sings as much as he raps, and it works better than it should.
There are no guest-rappers on the album, but a whole lot of people stop by to make contributions, including Flying Lotus, Dev Hynes, and DāM-FunK. Producers include J. Cole, Cardo, DJ Dahi, and Miller himself. Jon Brion, the great film composer and pop collaborator, worked closely with Miller on the album; he lends production and instrumentation to many of its songs. We’ve already posted songs like “Small Worlds” (which features John Mayer on guitar) and “What’s The Use?” (which features Thundercat on bass and Syd and Snoop Dogg on backing vocals). And right now, you can stream the whole album below.
Swimming is out now on Warner Bros.