From Stressful Waters to Relief

We've all seen the tweets. 

An artist passes away and before even checking our local news channels, we open up our social media apps in a frenzy: "Is it true? — It can't be." That is until we see their names on the Top Trending list and suddenly, our hearts begin to sink. 


Only a month after what would be his last album, Swimming, was released, Mac was found by his assistant in his Los Angeles home. I can still remember what I was doing when I saw his name all over the headlines: Mac Miller. Now another piece in the puzzle of the untimely 27-club, his music has left me eternally grateful for all it's helped me through.


Now I get it. I didn't know him personally, a lot of us didn't. But the way his music made me feel was personal. The way his music speaks for me when I can't speak for myself IS personal. And as much as I would enjoy dissecting his entire discography, here I will only discuss 5 songs from 5 different projects. Together we'll uncover the greatness that was Malcolm McCormick.

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1. K.I.D.S — The Spins

We'll begin our journey with a personal favorite – probably even the mixtape where it all began for me. Sampling Walking On A Dream by Empire of the Sun, The Spins is light hearted and catchy. Reminding you to smile and not to cry, The Spins demonstrates that it's okay to talk about the things you want: from "a mansion, a jacuzzi and a theatre to watch [your] movies". There is nothing wrong with speaking these things into existence! It's also okay to boast about the things you have already achieved. From Mac just graduating highschool to you just landing your new job, it's more than acceptable to be your own hype man. In a world where people thrive off of you being knocked down a peg or two, it is important to embrace the fact that good news does exist. 

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2. Blue Slide Park — Missed Calls

As cliché as it sounds, people do change. Especially in relationships. Sometimes your partner does become an asshole, sometimes they do become superficial and sometimes, they straight up stop answering your calls. When it comes to breakups, some of us are the ones who are being left while some of us are the ones who do the leaving. Regardless of which one you find yourself to be, it’s crucial to understand when partnerships are no longer feeding you but rather, draining you. If you are no longer happy, this is your sign to let it go. Because like Mac Miller said, "You'll be fine on your own."

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3. GO:OD AM — Weekend (feat. Miguel)

Overwhelmed and stressed. Stressed and overwhelmed. I for one can say that I've had MANY nights where I've been both. But like Mac, sometimes we just need to admit that shit gets fucking hard. The more and more the days go on, the more the week continuously seems to eat at us. Work, school, work, school. Sometimes we're so busy running on fumes that we forget to take a moment to breathe. But that's why we have the weekend. The perfect time to destress and relieve yourself. Some weekends are for painting all day, face masks and taking the time to focus on your self-care routine. But some weekends are for getting hammered with your best friends, hitting up the corner taco stands at 3 AM after a long night of dancing at the club, and crashing as soon as you get home safely, forgetting to take your contacts out. So, don't stress! Things get hard. It's normal, but "you'll be good by the weekend."

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4. The Divine Feminine — Soulmate

A personal love letter recited by Robin Williams that you couldn't have said better yourself if you tried. The meticulous combination of the What Do You Wanna Do scene from Good Will Hunting and Mac Miller's gentle reminder that "no matter what, one day everyone dies." It's an encouragement to find people who are not perfect but are perfect for you, while you still can. Because –spoiler alert– you're not perfect either! No one is. But having a soulmate is more than finding perfection. It's more than sex. It's more than loving someone despite their flaws — it's loving them because of those flaws. So, be weary. Don't run away from love because you will run out of time some day. We all will. It's what we do with our time that matters most. 

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5. Swimming — 2009

One for the soul – one that has soothed my soul. 2009 has managed to touch the darkest crevices of my mind, and found a way to give a voice to the places where my anxiety hides and manifests itself. 2009 successfully put into words that I am not alone without using the overworked mantra "you're not alone". Starting with a melancholic violin and then being met with a hopeful piano melody, 2009 has been everything to me during my times of need. Because as much as I hate to admit it, at one point in time, I too found myself "diggin' me a hole, big enough to bury my soul." It was hard, it was dark and most of all, it was lonely. I hit rock bottom and I was drowning. But you know what? There's only one direction to go from the floor and it's up. And although I'm finally in a place where I understand that the tolls of my mental health will always come in waves; for now, I'm swimming – there were stressful waters but now there's relief. 


As much as I wish that we'd continue getting new music from Mac for years to come and as much as I agree that the good ones do go too soon, this isn't one of those articles. This article is for you. This article is for me. It's for us to remember his music for what it was: transformative. From the instruments playing in the background, the political references he made and the attention he brought to mental and emotional health, today we celebrate Mac for what he brought us with the time he had. And even though he's gone, we celebrate what his music continues to bring us: joy.