Revising his sound is something Mac Miller is not afraid of doing. He has traced his fingers through conventional hip hop, and into psychedelic and alternative hip hop. His topics have ranged from drug abuse, to depression, and to a youthful desire to be free and unruly. With the release of his fourth studio project, his attention has turned to love, sex, and sensuality – through a neo soul and jazz rap sound.
The Divine Feminine showcases Mac at his most intimate. It is an outpouring of his experiences with past lovers and partners. It is, in most places, a distant look at his personal life – although, to the album’s downfall, perhaps too distant a look.
We are never allowed past the gates of Mac’s romantic life. Yes, we learn about how he seduces women and what he enjoys in the bedroom, amongst other clichés, but we do not really get a sincere look into his mind – as is expressed on ‘Planet God Damn’ and ‘Soulmate’.
The production on this project is sensual and upbeat, with examples of this shining on ‘Dang!’ and ‘Skin’. Yet, these sounds are too often set back by Mac’s narrative, like on the song ‘Cinderella’ featuring Ty Dolla $ign. Ty’s feature fits awkwardly within the project, and Mac’s low-quality singing does not add anything of worth to this number. The production of the song is the only redeeming feature of it. Indeed, the jazzy instrumentals throughout lend themselves well to Mac’s tales of love and, primarily, sex.
In fact, if the production was as lacklustre as the lyrics, I am not sure the project would be much more than a tacky, half-hearted description of what we imagine to be Mac’s love life. This attempt at a sensual album seems honest, but for the most part fails to bring anything of real substance to the table. The Divine Feminine finds its highs with the production, but loses itself with Mac’s bland lyricism. It is a comfortable listen, but only if you do not pay too much attention to what is being said.
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Photo: Music Times