Hearing Mac Miller wrestle with dark thoughts from beyond the grave can be a gut-punch. It can also be beautiful. That’s the duality of “Good News,” the first single from the rapper’s new posthumous album, Circles. Over a gently chugging groove 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; 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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