By: Brier Stucky
Mac Miller’s first two commercial albums were in many ways polar opposites of each other, with a very obvious contrast between the fun, party anthems of 2011’s Blue Slide Park and the dark, moody songs on his 2013 effort Watching Movies With the Sound Off. Equally different was Miller’s lyrical style, with his first album embodying his persona as “easy Mac with cheesy raps” and his second album employing more of a stream of consciousness flow. The major issues with both of these albums were how one sided they were; his first was incredibly weak lyrically but full of charisma while his second featured amazing production but become quite droll as it progressed.
GO:OD AM finds a middle ground between Miller’s first two projects, and is especially a high point for the rapper’s lyrical skills. At this point in his career, Mac has progressed into a far more advanced lyrical talent, combining his signature charisma with varied flows and quotable lyrics. This was first apparent to fans on the album’s lead single “100 Grandkids”, which finds Miller dropping lyrical gems all over the infectious beat. “I could sell snow to a ski slope, I could sell evil to the devil, nonbelievers to a temple, shit, I could sell water to a speedboat” raps Miller. The incendiary “When in Rome” features an incredibly hyped filled beat, giving Miller a platform to go completely off with a flow that is sure to be memorable.
The albums production also sounds like a perfect balance of his first two projects. The soulful, jazzy beat on the second track “Brand Name” suits Mac wonderfully and serves as a great way to kick the album off. “Weekend”, a track featuring Miguel, makes use of an excellent, minimalistic beat reminiscent of Chance the Rapper’s style.
Another notable aspect of the album is its lack of features, featuring only three guest rap verses and a handful of features by singers. However, at an hour and ten minutes, Miller’s presence wears thin. Perhaps the album’s biggest problem is the fact that it peaks far two early with the track “Perfect Circle / God Speed”, a song that sounds perfectly suited to close the album. However, there are still six more tracks after this song, making the end of the album feel sluggish and dull. Not to say that there is not some good material after this point, but rather it’s the album’s structure that is its downfall.
Ultimately, GO:OD AM shows great improvement from Miller, both in his lyrical skills and his beat selections. However, the album is overstuffed and far too long to be truly great, resulting in an album that is entertaining but will be remembered more for a handful of excellent tracks rather than being a cohesive project. Still, Miller’s latest album is a lot of fun to listen to and has great variety that longtime fans will undoubtedly enjoy.