Album Review: Mac Miller – Watching Movies With The Sound Off

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Artist: Mac Miller

Album: Watching Movies With The Sound Off

Label: Rostrum Records

Release Date: June 18, 2013

After facing some criticism for his 2011 debut Blue Side Park, Mac Miller turned to promethazine, released a solid mixtape, and admittedly faced addiction.  It seems that having to overcome the harsh reality of poor reviews has pushed Mac Miller to mature as an artist and has  also inspired him to strive to earn his spot in the game on Watching Movies With The Sound Off.

Mac Miller laces his melancholic verses over mainly his own production, under the name Larry Fisherman along with that of Diplo, Pharrell, Flying Lotus and Odd Future’s Earl Sweatshirt.  The slow lyrical pace of the album over the more impressive production becomes monotonous and lacks his personality, however if you spring for the deluxe album the extra tracks are livelier than the standard.

On “I Am Who I Am” Mac addresses the criticism he has received which lead to a drug addiction which he goes into further on “Objects in the Mirror.”  The track is one of the more creative songs on the project as he depicts an unhealthy relationship, which in his case, is his former dependence on promethazine.

“Aquarium” is a lyrical high point on the project, however it lacks skill in delivery and its context within the album is a little unfitting.  “Goosebumpz” is another strong point of the project as Miller chants “When I die, bet she f*ck my hologram” over a Diplo beat.  “REMember” is a tribute to Mac’s friend Reuben Mitriani.  The story of his untimely passing demonstrates a sense of vulnerability from Mac as he raps “It’s cool to cry don’t ever question your strength.”

The ScHoolboy Q assisted “Gees” consists of a lacking verse from Mac with a chorus of “suck my d*ck before I slap you with it b*tch.” Of all people, Mac Miller managed to get a Jay Electronica verse, the first one we’ve heard in a while, for “Suplexes Inside of Complexes and Duplexes.”  Mac demonstrates an improved flow and quality lyrics, but he cannot compare to Jay’s verse and delivery. In case you didn’t notice Mac’s lack of skills, he includes an interlude of battle rapper Loaded Lux pointing them out on the interlude following “Red Dot Music.”   Loaded Luxe speaking the line, “you was easy Mac with the cheesy raps”  acapella is more memorable then most of Mac’s line on the project.

Watching Movies With The Sound Off has its fair share of playful tracks and immature punchlines.  “Watching Movies” and “Birdcall” are reminiscent of the mixtape Mac Miller sound that gained the  attention of his core fan base.   While I appreciate his attempt to make a more ‘hip-hop’ album I think Mac’s talent at this point still lies more within the type of party music that he was making previously.  Mac may be outgrowing his fan base as the majority of this project seems aimed at a slightly more mature audience.  His attempt to make a more serious album comes off as boring at some points and may not be received well by his core fans who are used to his lighter frat-party type of raps.

Personally having not been a big Mac Miller fan previously I was most looking forward to the line of talented new school rappers featured on the project.  The guest verses of Jay Electronica, Tyler, The Creator, Action Bronson and Ab-Soul and ScHoolboy Q of Black Hippy/TDE proved to be some of the albums high points.  Rapping alongside of his peers seems to bring out the best in the Pittsburgh emcee.  Mac Miller is demonstrating improvement as an artist, but he still needs to find the right balance of lyrical content and playfulness to solidify his place as a serious rapper in today’s game.  Although his overall sound has improved his lack of content leaves him room to grow on future projects.

Purchase Watching Movies With The Sound Off (Deluxe Edition) on iTunes