Hearing Mac Miller wrestle with dark thoughts from beyond the grave can be a gut-punch. It can be also beautiful. That’s the balance the late rapper finds on “Good News,” the first single from Miller’s new posthumous album, Circles. Over a gently chugging groove liberally sprinkled with pizzicato strings, Miller, who died in 2018 of an accidental overdose, unspools his internal monologue in an impossibly weary, just-woke-up-but-kind-of-wish-I-hadn’t drawl. Co-produced by Miller and Jon Brion (and featuring both Wendy Melvoin of Prince’s backing band, the Revolution, and veteran rock drummer Matt Chamberlain), the music is melodic and subtly comforting, more sweet than bitter; in its woozy introspection, “Good News” recalls “Balcony Beach,” the 1997 slo-mo classic from the Bay Area duo Latyrx.
Miller was open about his struggles with drugs and depression, and here he nails the cul-de-sac of negative thinking that can keep you in bed despite your better intentions: “I wish that I could just get out my goddamn way/What is there to say?/There ain’t a better time than today. But maybe I’ll lay down for a little, yeah.” By many accounts, Miller was in good spirits and hitting a creative peak not long before he died. The most painful parts of “Good News” are the rays of light that poke through, the insistence that, “I’ll finally discover/that it ain’t that bad.” That optimism suggests he would have found a way out of the darkness, sooner or later.
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