My boy Mac, back at it again. Is he back and better than ever? Well, I guess that can be debated. Mac Miller has been all over the media after a breakup with longtime girlfriend Ariana Grande. While we are strictly here to talk about the tracks Mac recently released, these recent events may be worth noting. Any of Miller’s listeners can attest to the vulnerability and authenticity he brings to each of his projects. This was especially apparent on Miller’s most recent full length project, The Divine Feminine (In my opinion, one of the most underrated projects in recent years. But that’s another debate for another time).
Amidst a public breakup that seems to be painful for both Miller and Grande, Miller surprised fans by releasing three tracks on May 29, 2018. The songs paired with primary colors are titled “Small Worlds”, “Buttons”, and “Programs”.
This track ended up being my favorite of the trilogy. I especially love the melody and layering, creating a somber yet intriguingly reflecting tone. The vibe of the pre-chorus feels good on the ears. I’m not sure how else to explain it. While the track is nothing mind blowing, it keeps fans interested until another full length project drops, reminding the people that Miller is not a name to be forgotten.
During my initial listen, I immediately felt nostalgic of The Divine Feminine. The use of certain instruments in “Small Worlds” follows patterns established on that album, specifically in songs like “Dang!” and “Stay”. Upon more research, I learned that Mac got some help from John Mayer on the guitar and John Brion on piano for this song. Overall, the track highlights Miller’s vulnerability, continuing an honest dialogue with he has established with his listeners.
My first impression of “Buttons” was a bit lackluster. When faced with all three songs at once, I thought “Buttons” got lost in the creativity of “Small World” and energy of “Programs”. After listening to the tracks separately over the next few days, I began to appreciate the subtle charms of “Buttons”.
The song ties into “Small Worlds”, continuing the instrumental trend at the core of each of the singles. “Buttons” is a bit quicker in syncopation, making the drums a central focus along with the repeating piano phrases. The echo during the choruses adds dimension, creating an interesting contrast to the verses that sound almost like old-school Mac is freestyling off the top. Miller’s vulnerability continues as he discusses external and internal crisis, prompting questions as to when these three tracks were written. What exactly is Mac talking about here? If you listen closely, I’m sure you can pick up on a thing or two.
Woah! Talk about a throwback from Mr. Miller! The fans needed this. Although I stand by my previous words of love for The Divine Feminine, the fans need hype Mac back. It’s been a minute. “Programs” features a “punchy trap beat”, something Miller has not worked much with since the era of GO:OD AM with songs like “In The Bag” and “Cut The Check (feat. Chief Keef)”.
As the final track of the trilogy, this dynamic beat was especially unexpected. Since it dropped, this song is one of the first tracks I play when I get in the car. My only disappointment is that beautiful final flow, I wish with all my heart Miller would have carried in on longer. However, with a longer project to come, hopefully sooner rather than later, a small tease may be all Mac wants to give right now. “Programs” really is perfect to blast in the car during your summer road trips and pool parties. Party responsibly, my friends.
We love you forever Mac. Take your time, thanks for these treats.