Mac Miller Celebrates Heartbreak, Growth & Love On ‘The Divine Feminine’
The evolution of Mac Miller continues.
Mac Miller is happy and in love. For the first time, he’s appreciating being outdoors as he’s talked about in numerous interviews leading up to The Divine Feminine. All of these feelings have helped shape his fourth album, which began as a mere EP that morphed into a full-length creation about the journey of love. Much like all of his albums, this one doesn’t sound like anything he’s done before. Mac’s artistry is a huge selling point in his evolution, so if you want the old Mac, you know the saying. Love, however, doesn’t happen overnight, and in many cases it’s not everlasting.
Prior to Ariana Grande, Mac was in a relationship with his high school sweetheart. So, The Divine Feminine’s beginning is also the end of that connection. “Congratulations” is written both reflective and in the moment with an emphasis on the former. Mac lets his emotions run wild over piano keys: “You was there before the fancy cars and/ You was there when I was just a starvin’ artist.” Despite this long history, it seems like he needed to break away from this relationship. The growth in him as a person and as a lover strengthens throughout the album as he proceeds into his next ‘ship.
There’s this deeper form of understanding that Mac Miller learns, although, musically, it’s not clear how he comes to this realization. He’s no longer the guy obsessed with solely sex on the intro. It’s still a factor in a lot of the songs going forward, but he ties them together with amazing imagery and poetic-like lyrics. Perhaps the best set of imagery comes from the fantasy of “Cinderella.” It’s the dream sequence that Mac is chasing. His subconscious is producing an idea of the perfect love, but it’s not real and he knows and accepts it.
Another example of chasing an unrealistic love is found on “Planet God Damn.” The entire song has a ’90s vibe, due in part to Njomza’s beautifully executed voice. Mac even says that he’s stuck inside nostalgia in the opening verse. It’s not until “Soulmate” that his dreams of love start to become a reality as a new woman — let’s call her Ariana Grande — shows up in his life. It’s all part of the journey to happiness.
The track listing also plays an interesting role toward the end, mainly with “Soulmate” coming before “We.” The latter feels like the obvious choice in most relationships as it joins the two together as a couple, versus “soulmate” that interlocks your hearts forever. But that’s the confidence that Mac has going into his new ‘ship. After “We” comes “My Favorite Part,” the compliment-filled ballad between the new love birds.
Every story has an ending, and “God Is Fair, Sexy, Nasty” leaves an open-ended one. While a verse would’ve been awesome, Kendrick Lamar is restricted to hook duties and does a bang-up job, too. It’s purpose is to show this love flower blossoming even further past “My Favorite Part.” To show that there’s more feelings, and it all gets completed after the song ends. The true ending of the album happens through a three-minute story told by Mac’s grandmother about her journey of love. It’s symbolically the idea that he hopes to achieve one day when he reaches old age.
The Divine Feminine provides a rudimentary love experience. What makes it excellent is the fact that it’s not just centered around being in love. You’re getting the heartbreak, the dreams of what you want, and then it pops up when you least expect it. This is the story of millions around the world, whether Mac directly or indirectly structured it to feel this way. In short, Mac makes love appealing and desirable, and that’s a feeling music seems to lack.
From the sound of it, this sense of enjoying life will play a bigger role in influencing Mac Miller’s music:
“What I thought was so connected to a spiritual world was so wrong. I was like, “I’m this super spiritual creative; I’m so in touch!” But in reality I was just inside of a room all day, like, what was I in touch with? It was like Harold and the Purple Crayon. So when I started living like this, the universe was like, stay like this! This is good!” — Mac explained to P&P.
Hearing that is exciting, because it opens up so many doors. I’ve always said that there’s lessons to learn from watching Mac Miller’s career. Whether it’s about the highs or the lows, he’s an example of how we should evolve as people. His last two albums were exceptional, but they were a moment that can’t, nor shouldn’t, be duplicated again. In the same way that Frank Ocean is scarce on social media and created an album that’s a reflection of real life with trees and midnight drives, The Divine Feminine aims to provide a similar experience. Summer might be over, but love is still in the air.
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