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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

On The Beat: “Faces” by Mac Miller


The late Mac Miller released his mixtape “Faces” in May 2014 to wide fan and critical acclaim. 

I never sat down to listen to this album largely because sample clearance issues and other red tape prevented it from being released on listening platforms Spotify and Apple Music. However, this past September, about three years after his passing, Miller’s estate announced that the mixtape would finally be released to all major streaming services on Oct. 15. 

With everything I heard about “Faces,” I went in with high expectations—and they were met.

The mixtape is not much different from its original 2014 release. This gives the production, which includes bits of psychedelic influence and an emphasis on sampling, a very nostalgic feel. This is a breath of fresh air from the trap-inspired sound that dominates rap music today. Whether it’s the explosive horns of “Here We Go” or “Therapy,” or the glossy pianos on “Diablo,” the production takes me back to a time when everything seemed simpler, much like Miller’s 2010 mixtape “K.I.D.S.” 

Listening to this mixtape after Miller’s death feels unreal and slightly haunting. His vocal and rap performances are full of energy and charisma, but despite the upbeat tone of the production and vocals, the lyrical content can be quite bitter-sweet. 

The very first song, “Inside Outside,” opens up with Miller proclaiming that he “shoulda died already.” The rest of the song discusses his hopes to reinvent himself and heal from his substance abuse disorder, those which led to his death only four years later.

While I appreciate the level of experimentation Miller does on this album, I find the production on a few songs to be questionable. “Malibu” and “What Do You Do” are both dominated by a droning organ synth and some syncopated percussion. Miller’s flow and lyricism are great, but the production on these songs is a little too overpowering. 

The last song on this mixtape is one that wasn’t on the original 2014 release: “Yeah – bonus.” With its spooky tone driven by darker production and reliance on minor chords, Miller speaks about an existential fear of death and his worries that he had wasted his life. In the context of his death, this is not only unsettling, but incredibly heartbreaking. 

Despite this, Miller’s vocal performance and the huge chords of the chorus make for a wonderful listening experience and a memorable new end to the mixtape.

Miller is one of the few artists who I wish I started listening to earlier in my life. In the time following his death, I’ve become a huge fan, and it’s sad to think I missed out on his music until now. 

I had always heard great things, but this mixtape is a great display of his talent. Nostalgic, upbeat and unique, with great production and excellent flow and delivery, “Faces” reminds old fans of Miller’s unforgettable music while allowing newer fans to experience that same magic for the first time.




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