Wake up. It’s ‘GO:OD AM‘ on September 18, meaning that Mac Miller‘s third studio album is out in full, after streaming on NPR all of last week. Since appearing on our radar as that cheeky chappy who likes trainers back in 2011, he’s done a complete 180 and now deserves recognition as one of the genre’s pioneers. As such, we asked Zach Norris [freelance writer for The Hundreds] to get stuck into the new album and tell us what the hell is good with ‘GO:OD AM‘.
It’s here, internet. Mac Miller has dropped his third album, ‘GO:OD AM‘. The album is Mac’s first since signing a major deal with a major label, and it’s a major step for him in various directions both musically and lyrically. According to the Pittsburgh native’s Twitter, he created nine different albums over two and a half years before coming to a conclusion, and it definitely sounds that way. ‘GO:OD AM‘ is a sonically disjointed journey through seventeen songs that cover the emotional ups and downs of Miller’s life. Disjointed? Yes. Bad? No. The lack of cohesion and concision is but a minor fault on an album that’s chock full of great material.
‘GO:OD AM‘ opens with ‘Doors‘, an intro track produced by Mac’s close friend Tyler, The Creator. It’s a woozy, dreamy introduction, on which Mac sleepily slurs a series of melodic vocals. Beginning appropriately with the sound of an alarm clock, the following cut ‘Brand Name‘ is one of the album’s highlights. Layers of drums rattle and knock over keys and vocal samples, over which Mac offers up lyrical gems like, “PA’s baby / I ain’t been to PA lately / See I left and they call me shady / I’m a white rapper they always call me Shady / Got no idea what I’m contemplating.” Mac does some of his best spitting to date on the album, touching on subjects that stem from his booming career [and bank account]. Listeners are taken from high to low as the album moves on to ‘Rush Hour‘, a more laid-back offering filled with chiming synth keys. ‘Two Matches‘ brings back the head nod-inspiring production as Mac and Ab-Soul share mic time over trotting drums and billowing horns provided by TDE’s in house producer Sounwave. These first four tracks start the album off right and introduce listeners to some of the more positive moments of the album. The fun doesn’t last long though.
‘Weekend‘, from a musical standpoint, is definitely a party-inspiring track. You’ll have a hard time preventing that head nodding along with the percussion and chanting along with the anthemic chorus. It sounds like a good time on the surface, but Miller spends the duration of the track describing the pitfalls of fame and drugs: “I’ve been having trouble sleeping / Battling these demons / Wondering what’s the thing that keeps me breathing?”. Mac puts you inside his head as he struggles with the inner turmoil derived from his own success. It’s not the last time we hear him deal with this issue on the record. ‘When In Rome‘ is hard as coffin nails, but unfortunately feels out of place: not only does it jar against its surrounding tracks, but it sees Mac borrow the delivery style of the minute, the Migos flow. The errant and random production stands out most in the second half of the album. The last five or so songs bounce back and forth between hard and soft, up-tempo and mellow, vibrant and melancholy.
Seventeen songs is pretty lengthy for an album nowadays, but Mac bravely takes on the challenge and largely succeeds. There aren’t many bad songs on ‘GO:OD AM‘, it’s more that there are plenty of good songs that feel out of place or disjointed. The first half of the album feels and sounds fluid, shifting between moods with ease. The latter half ditches this approach and hurls track after track at the listener, regardless of tone, vibe, or content. Mac displays plenty of creative growth, a newfound maturity [sometimes], and still knows how to select great beats – but all in all, ‘GO:OD AM‘ is just good. It provides a variety of styles for every type of fan, but as a complete project it feels incomplete. That being said, I can’t wait to see where Miller takes this positive stride in the future.