Posthumous albums make me feel all number of things. Done wrong, they can seem cynical and difficult and jarring – would the artist really have been happy with this being put out? But then, as a fan, it sort of doesn’t matter – you hungrily want everything you can get. It’s how I feel whenever there’s something new and Prince-related; I want to hear it, but I kind of know he wouldn’t want me to?
Anyway, in the case of Mac Miller, we know that he intended to put this record out all along, albeit he was nervous about it – Circles is the yin to the yang of his last release, Swimming. Surreally, I went to a listening event for the album at Abbey Road a few months ago, where people who helped make the album spoke about what Mac was like, and what the album had been inspired by (lots of Beatles/John Lennon/Yoko Ono references), and how much they missed him.
More about the record follows below, but I guess this intro is just a shout out for all the greats gone too soon – I don’t know if they’re okay with us listening to the work they didn’t put out, but I hope they understand it’s an act of love and grief and appreciation.
Here’s this week’s five on it.
Mac Miller – Circles
Like light breaking through a dark cloud, this is a softly emotional and quietly uplifting record of warm pianos and thoughtful lyricism. It’s a reminder of how broad Mac’s scope as an artist was, and how it really felt he was coming into his own right at the end of his life.
Ojerime – ‘Empty’
We have missed Ojerime, the London artist making dusky, beguiling tracks. After taking a pause last year following a mental breakdown, she’s back with this beautiful song that is entrancingly delicate and sensual all at once – as she wrote in a post on Instagram, “please enjoy this track and understand it means the world to me to be back. to anyone else going through it, I’ve already sent a prayer for your healing. please open up to your closest, you are important.”
ALA.NI – ‘Papa’
A dazzling, self-produced acapella joint from this emerging London talent, it sounds like healing and sunshine and has us very excited to hear more from her.
Rina Sawayama – ‘Comme Des Garçons (Like The Boys)’
We are not ready for Rina’s debut album if this track is anything to go by. That squelchy bass line, that breathy vocal delivery, this is a banger full of nostalgic warmth and we love it so much. We spoke to her last year about nu-metal, and honestly, the breadth of spaces she can thrive in has us so gassed for what’s to come.
Kodie Shane – ‘No Rap Kap’ ft. Trippie Redd
A collab between two rising stars, previous gal-dem interviewee Kodie Shane and Ohio rapper Trippie Redd join forces on this sprawling slice of braggadocio.
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