A few days ago, Mac Miller’s family announced the upcoming release of a posthumous album, Circles, produced by composer Jon Brion. “Good News” is its first single.
“Good News” continues down the melodic path that Miller trod on his final few albums. There’s no rapping here, just weary singing overtop palm-muted guitar, dusty drums, and subtle psych flourishes. The song feels haunted, as if Miller knew that the end was approaching for him; in this way, “Good News” should be considered alongside some of modern music’s most affecting swan songs (think Nirvana’s “All Apologies” and Johnny Cash’s take on “Hurt“). Miller sounds resigned rather than despondent; “Why does everybody need me to stay?” he wonders, later singing, “Maybe I’ll lay down for a little/Instead of always trying to figure everything out.” There’s still a trace of his youthful optimism here, shining through for a moment when he begins the second verse, “Well, it ain’t that bad/It could always be worse.” The mysticism that Miller explored on 2013’s Watching Movies with the Sound Off provides a glimmer of hope for both the artist and those listening today; the song’s final verse centers on the thought, “There’s a whole lot more for me waiting on the other side.” “I’m always wondering if it feel like summer,” he adds. We all hope it does, Mac.