Mac Miller’s “Faces” will make you face your tears | Arts + Culture

In a hidden folder of photos, drawings and notes titled “S0MeTh1ngs” on Mac Miller’s website is a sketch of a man and an animal, covering their faces behind hand masks. Miller’s name and the title of his eleventh mixtape, “Faces”, are handwritten in the photo.

“Malcolm wanted this to be his cover,” the photo title read. More than three years after the rapper’s untimely death, Miller has never had a chance to pull the cover off. But now Miller’s untouched work has resurfaced, with his emotional 24-track punch from a “Faces” mixtape.

Over the past few years, Miller’s team has sifted through their vault of never-before-seen images, videos, drawings, and songs, and compiled them into mixtapes and shorts. “Faces” is among the treasures of Miller’s past work as a mixtape filled with some of Miller’s best rap and collaborations with star artists like Earl Sweatshirt and Schoolboy Q.

As the second posthumous album after “Circles”, this mixtape could easily have passed for exploitation. Mainly because it was originally free and is now making record vinyl debuts.

But “Faces” is so authentically Miller, its reissue only strengthens his legacy as a rap icon.

A mixtape of Miller’s paranoid stumbling through drug addiction, mortality, and existence, “Faces” was a turning point in Miller’s artistic evolution as a dark, personal look at his life as a young artist in the world. rap reaching fame.

“It was like it was my world, that I felt I could become my own, in a creative way,” Miller said in the short film “Making Faces”.

Across the album’s 24 tracks, including a new bonus track, Miller explores the human condition through contemplative, dark lyricism and the psychedelic sounds that characterize his later music.

Supported by swirling jazz, Miller begins his first song “Inside Outside” with the confession “I should already die”. It’s weird and sad to hear an artist say he’ll die years before he does. But “Faces” isn’t meant to be nice, it’s meant to be honest. Each track is a testament to who Miller was – a guy trying to make sense of his mind.

Miller’s emotions permeate his messy, emotional lyrics describing his depressive episodes, anxiety attacks, and numerous close dances with death. “It doesn’t matter” is one of the most human of all, describing how addiction has taken over Miller’s life and how he is unable to stop despite his sadness.

“Faces” is about Miller walking that thin line between life and death, riding the high until he’s too far to breathe. But it’s also about Miller purging his fear of death to enjoy life.

These themes are particularly relevant in the three songs “Happy Birthday”, “Wedding” and “Funeral”, which trace a man’s life to death. The trio puts words into our universal mental and physical struggles, without getting too gloomy. “Funerals” do not bode well because they give you hope that if you have a funeral, you have lived a life.

As “Faces” attests, Miller lived a life that left a legacy to who he was as an artist and as a person.

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