ALBUM REVIEW: Mac Miller, Faces
Grade: This is a re-issue, no grade necessary, just read.
The mixtape Faces by Mac Miller has finally come to streaming services and I must say that this will give you your daily dose of nostalgia. In this 2014 drug infused jazz rap mixtape, you see Mac Miller start transitioning from being an adolescent high school rapper into his refined polished style we are all familiar with now. This independent mixtape is super introspective and the lyrics hit a little harder when he raps about his drug use and about dying of an overdose.
Going with the drug use theme in mind, this album feels like an acid trip, but not a fun one. It’s more like the intense type of trip you go on where you come out with a new perspective on life. His lyrics are pretty clever too on some tracks like on his first verse of “Friends” when he says, “We forgot our roots before and trust me, things, they fell apart / Wash myself with acid, it's because I got a denim heart.” Then he goes into a story of when he met Kevin Hart at a party where they were taking shots together. Months later at the VMAs he met him again and Hart didn’t even remember who he was. I liked how that story shows how disjointed he feels in the “Hollywood” clique. ScHoolboy Q’s feature is pretty great on the song with his raspy and cartoonish voice as he just sinisterly repeats “Miller Mac, Miller Mac, Miller Mac.”
The jazz production on this album feels like a fever dream in a good way where it’s lighthearted with a sprinkle of sinister doom. The production overall on this project is very intricate for a mixtape with so many instruments and beat changes. It reminds of a sadder “Best Day Ever” where the music is upbeat but the keyboard is scored like a horror movie. Which fits perfectly on the Earl Sweatshirt features. Speaking of Earl Sweatshirt, depression is a big theme on this album as well. “Happy Birthday” is probably one of the most depressing birthday songs I’ve ever heard, but the production has a smooth vibe to it.
The lyrics on the mixtape could be stronger, but the true star of this album is definitely the stellar production and the beats. As I said before, every beat is so intricate and they really make this album standout the most. Mac Miller really found his sound on this mixtape. Even on songs like “Insomniak” where he sampled Drake’s “Worst Behavior,” he’s able to flip it on its head and make it into his own. Another song that is a banger is “Thumbalina” even though it doesn’t really go with this album’s vibe with it’s upbeat and fun production. The guitars on the “Grand Finale '' are incredible in the beginning of the track, I just wished he used more throughout the song, but it was still a great way to end the mixtape.
Overall, this mixtape reminds us of all of the many reasons we love Mac Miller. Amazingly viby production, and self-analyzing lyrics. Mac Miller’s charisma has always been maxed out on most projects to where we always know how he is feeling on every song. His biggest strength is how he’s able to portray himself so well through his music. He always is honest through his music and it’s kind of refreshing seeing that in rap.