Mac Miller – Faces [Extended Review]


The word that I can best describe Faces as is confident. It’s nice to see that Mac is through his awkward days of trying to find his voice that all rappers go through. The dude has grown into a really dynamite lyricist. He is one of the rappers out today that works with this rising technique of multisyllabic, well-flowing pileups, and he accomplishes it nicely. As it happens, his flow that sometimes dips into “I don’t give a shit” territory, which I’m not the biggest fan of, plays well to this. Mac may be a skilled lyricist, but his subject matter is kind of specific and not really a crowd pleaser. If you can’t really be bothered with the plight of a white rapper who is riddled with addiction, in the throes of Insomnia, and is troubled with feeling like the ugly duckling of his industry, this project probably won’t grip you. I, for one, think his wordplay and flow are enough to make this compelling, or at the very least interesting, making a listen through worthwhile.

After briefly dipping into the experimental pool with his previous project, Watching Movies with the Sound Off, Mac really gets to explore how far he can stretch his range as a rapper in this effort. With this, Faces came out as a nicely varied project. The mood of the tracklist sweeps from expressive and authentic bummer jams, to “Insomniak,” a joint that is absurdly trappy for Mac. Unfortunately, this also comes with some failed attempts at singing, but I can forgive him for that, sort of comes with the territory when a release is actually imaginative.

Where this project loses me is with its length. This is an enjoyable project, but 90 minutes is a stretch for how long Mac can hold a listener’s attention. Here is my best example of this: mid-mixtape we have “Diablo,” a smart, reflective, and engrossing piece that can easily be summed up by it’s hook of “everybody’s got dead homies.” Mac is present on this song, being introspective and coming off as a contemplative songwriter. It’s great; it’s one of my favorite tracks on here. This is followed up with “Ave Maria” where Mac shares his thoughts on the state of the world. This comes off as a bit haphazard, being slightly too nonchalant for the subject matter. After that comes “55,” a quick one minute instrumental diversion, which opens up into “San Francisco,” which is where I’m lost. He just really doesn’t sound like he cares. After that is “Colors and Shapes,” which serves as proof that as much as Mac fancies himself one, he really isn’t a singer. But, to his credit, even after a small spiral into mediocrity, I’m hooked right back in with the enjoyable, but slightly non-fitting “Insomniak.” And listen, I know it’s kind of unreasonable, or, more accurately, unrealistic to expect the role model for aspiring weed rappers to be lively in the booth, but reputation be damned it’s where he is best.

Luckily for us, for the majority of Faces, Mac present, and with that, he produced a killer mixtape. I really didn’t expect too much when I heard the dude dropped a tape that was an hour and a half, but he used that time to explore, enhance, and evolve his sound. Before this Mac didn’t appeal to me much: Watching Movies with the Sound Off enticed me, but Delusional Thomas kind of ruined that. The whole project seemed a bit void of substance and direction, but if we peg that project to Mac acting the fool and playing around with a character, it can all be forgiven. Mac really did impress me on this project; he may, at points, dwell on a concept too long, or lose steam and fade off, as I previously went into, but the mixtape really left me satisfied. It’s got me excited for Mac and what he’s to do next. He dropped a real dope experimental mixtape, pretty much everyone in the rap game fucks with him, and he’s fully confident in his own abilities. The rap game is pretty much open for him to romp.

Download Mac Miller’s Faces here.

Personal highpoints:

“Here We Go” / “Therapy” / “Diablo” / “New Faces v2″

Personal lowpoints:

“It Just Doesn’t Matter” / “Colors and Shapes”

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Charlie Johns