Mac Miller
Faces


4.0
excellent

Review

by cryptside USER (76 Reviews)
December 26th, 2014 | 44 replies


Release Date: 05/11/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Sometimes, the good times can be a trap."

I have spent a considerable amount of time listening to Faces this year. When Delusional Thomas came out in all of its overly violent and offensive glory in October of last year, I was incredibly impressed with the murky beats and Miller's choice to pitch his voice up and create something very different. His choice of features included Bill, Da$h, and Earl Sweatshirt, providing further proof that Mac knows how to keep his songs varied and interesting. Perhaps the most intriguing thing about the artist in general is the fact that he seems to be uninterested in staying within the confines of the commercial hip-hop which brought him to prominence in the first place. There is a certain dichotomy in the present-day Mac Miller; the party anthems and frankly horrible lyricism that he was known for are a far cry from the sometimes introspective and always drug-inspired tracks that Faces has in spades. He seems to be aware of this, and the entirety of the mixtape is spent taking the listener further into the cracks and crevices of Mac Miller's head. The surprising thing about this is that his drug-addled mind is actually very interesting. Songs like "Malibu" detail explorations into suicidal thoughts and addictions of different kinds. Confessional lyrics like, "At the rate I'm getting high/It'll be hard for me to find tomorrow" and "They was all laughing, wasn't that funny/I started ***ing with drugs and now I'm a junkie" over a low-key, subtle beat is in stark contrast to Miller's past works. What he ends up depicting is an entertainer that has risen to fame and lost himself in the empty world of drug addiction, alcohol reliance, and fake relationships. Faces is Miller resigning himself to this world, pondering what could have been from his place of isolation.

Fortunately, not all of the mixtape is depressing; Miller has given his listeners the most sonically varied album of his career. The jubilant horns in the background of "Therapy" and the happy-go-lucky chorus of "Angel Dust" are juxtaposed against the bold, brutally honest lyricism. The beats are among the highlights throughout, as they lean more towards a subtle, layered structure that works well with Miller's laid-back delivery. "Polo Jeans" is a great example of everything coming together; Earl Sweatshirt contributes a stellar verse, as samples of kids swearing are naturally integrated into the song. Faces certainly marches to the beat of its own drummer, but possesses enough head-bobbing elements to keep it listenable. The steel drum-inspired beat on "Wedding" give it a dream-like nostalgia; coupled with his tongue-in-cheek musings on love, it's unlike any other track on the mixtape. This is what ends up making the whole affair so brilliant, as the versatility is immense. Mac Miller has finally figured out how to take his one-dimensional delivery and make wholly different (and very strong, to boot) tracks that retain a strong sense of identity. The punchline-laden "Rap Diablo" shows that Miller still values his own cleverness, while "Funeral" houses his ruminations on his own death. It's this desperate, grasping-for-a-handhold type of lyricism that shows vulnerability in a genre that sorely needs it, but it is kept in check by Miller's sardonic use of wordplay.

It's hard to say whether or not listeners will take to Faces. Mac Miller is somewhat of a dirty word in the hip-hop community, but this mixtape marks his movement away from stale, uninspired hip-hop to something that is inventive. The twenty-four tracks that grace this release are all unique, and his jaded perspective make this the most interesting release of the year. The honesty throughout is startling, and it's obvious that Miller lives and breathes to create this music. The drugs and fair-weather friends are just stand-ins until the beat comes in. With beats as good as the one on "Apparitions", I can't say that I blame him. In a world full of disingenuous people, drug addiction, and incisive critics, Miller turns his mind inward and creates a truly original mixtape.



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user ratings (131)
Chart.
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
cryptside
December 26th 2014


2397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I really liked this one, probably my most listened to hip-hop this year.

SharkTooth
December 26th 2014


13896 Comments


Nice review, might check this out but prob won't due to the 90 minute runtime

cryptside
December 26th 2014


2397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks, buddy. It's definitely a long one, but when I take the time for it, it's really rewarding. A ton of really good songs at the end as well.

cryptside
December 26th 2014


2397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Prolly, but why not check it out just in case? Lol



TheNexus100
December 26th 2014


2696 Comments


i just dont see how this guy could release anything excellent. i mean, wed all love to be surprised, but idk

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
December 26th 2014


6680 Comments


(edit: fixed)
honestly, one of the best reviews I've read from you. i think this is a good length for you, and I enjoyed reading it

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
December 26th 2014


4503 Comments


yeah, i've never heard anyone say anything good about mac miller, but i have heard bits of macadelic (or however it's spelled) and watching movies, and actually liked his beats but couldn't get into his rapping. i think he's decent for what he does though. agree with what fromtheinside said. probably won't listen to this, but it is a good review, dude. pos.

also, not exactly relevant, but i've been listening to this a lot lately (psych hip-hop/electronic). i'll leave this here for anyone interested:
http://dirtyartclub.bandcamp.com/album/hexes

cryptside
December 26th 2014


2397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

@fti, thanks buddy. I appreciate the compliment.



@all, I definitely understand why people are skeptical. I would recommend maybe trying out a few highlights to see if it would be worth your time.



@johnny, thanks bud. I fixed all those except for the Earl one, I will have to think on that a bit.



thanks Hernan, appreciate the kind words. I am definitely bummed out by the fact that this won't reach a proper audience due to Miller's earlier output. I will def check out the link, thanks for that!

HalfManHalfAmazing
December 26th 2014


1968 Comments


great review man, was a very pleasant read. I like Mac, so I should probably check this out. Is it as good as Watching Movies with the Sound Off?

cryptside
December 26th 2014


2397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks man! I haven't spent as much time with Watching Movies, but I would say that this is personally my favorite of his.

ExplosiveOranges
December 26th 2014


4408 Comments


MAAAAAAARRK. Pos.

Absolutely abhor this guy, but MIGHT give this a shot just because you said it's good.

cryptside
December 26th 2014


2397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Duuuuude, just give it a shot. It's good, I promise. And thanks for the pos!

SharkTooth
December 26th 2014


13896 Comments


needledrop spoke favorably of it, so idk

cryptside
December 26th 2014


2397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yeah, I dig this quite a bit. It's worth a shot, Shark.

iamamanfromspace
December 27th 2014


1030 Comments


Does this include lyrics bordering on rapey like Gees, or any lines about beating women like Guild? I find it hard to enjoy him when he pulls stuff like that

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
December 27th 2014


11649 Comments


Grest review as always Mark, I like the approach you took here actually.

JeetJeet
December 27th 2014


5900 Comments


Diablo>>>

Digging: Toro Y Moi - Outer Peace

cryptside
December 27th 2014


2397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Arcade, thanks man. I would say that this is an immense step up from anything that he has done in the past.



Thanks Scuro, appreciate it man. It felt pretty natural when I was writing it.





@manfromouterspace, there are a few instances where he lapses into that kind of stuff, but for the most part it's a little more cerebral.



@Jeet, is that a separate artist, or are you referencing the "Rap Diablo" track off this?

HalfManHalfAmazing
December 28th 2014


1968 Comments


I'm surprised no one has 1'd this

SharkTooth
December 28th 2014


13896 Comments


There would've been if a lot of people even knew this existed



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