Album Review: Mac Miller, ‘Watching Movies with the Sound Off’

matt agosta goes to the movies …

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Ever since Mac Miller dropped his first album Blue Slide Park in 2011 this Pittsburg MC has certainly been on the raise. Miller’s first album even managed to grab the number one spot on the Billboard charts, something that an independent artist has not done in a long time. Since then, he’s dropped a couple of small projects, one being an all-instrumental mixtape under his producer name Larry Fisherman. He even opened up about his addiction to promethazine during his Macadelic Tour in 2012. Now Mac has kicked the lean for good and went back into the studio completely focused and ready to prove doubters wrong for his second album. Watching Movies With the Sound Off absolutely accomplishes what Mac Miller was hoping for.

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Mac was always catchy, but he felt a little too corny and no song really stood out as that meaningful. Not only has this album totally changed this review’s mind, but it also was exciting to see him grow so much from one album to the next. Lyrically, Mac has improved and added all kinds of different flows to his repertoire. He has evolved new ways to use his voice on the track. He also has greatly improved as a songwriter, and the album is filled with concept tracks that give insight on who Mac is as a person. He also moved away from the party type tracks that people know him for and went in a more core hip-hop direction. Mac has finally found his niche in the hip-hop community.

This album gives the listener more insight on how Mac is feeling. The intro track “The Star Room” gives the low down on his life and does a really wonderful job at setting the tone for the rest of the album. Notable tracks are “REMember” which digs deep into how one of Mac’s childhood friends died and how he deals with his passing. “Objects in the Mirror” which is produced by Pharrell, is a track where he sings about the love he has for his girl and how much she means to him. The style of the track is totally unexpected from Mac and shows his growth as not just a songwriter but also an artist. Don’t think Mac has totally ditched the style that got him popular though. Tracks “Watching Movies” and “Bird Call” have him going back to his more drug focused and party themed songs, only this time around it is clear the quality of these types of tracks have progressed.

Another thing to be mentioned is Mac’s choice of features. None of features sound forced and they all add great elements to their respective tracks. Most notably Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Action Bronson, and Jay Electronica come in with the nastiest and most memorable quest verses. As far as the production goes, Mac gets help from some of the industry’s most prominent producers such as The Alchemist, Clams Casino, and I.D. Labs as well as him adding about four or five great beats himself. The biggest complaint with this album is that is did drag on a little bit towards the end and he could have excluded one or two of the later tracks. Other than that, this is a hip-hop album to be very excited about and Mac definitely earned his money.

Say what you want about the old Mac Miller, but after listening to this album, it is clear that Mac is a force in hip-hop. He already has somewhat of a cult following but now he deserves love from the rest of the industry. It is clear he is ready to cut the drugs and all the excess, and concentrate on growing as an artist. If you’ve been ignoring all of Mac’s music up until this point, it is time to wake up and check him out.

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