Mac Miller – Breaking Down Lyrics In “Swimming” – Self-Healing And Poetic Album

Waters around your self may make you feel safe
Waves of wealth above depths as scary as death
Better Come Back To Earth,
Allow yourself a second breath
So you can emerge and on the surface rebirth,
Better not swallow water right, rather follow that beam of light.
Time flows like waters, it flies faster than jets,

Let’s just keep on Swimming and make up for lost tracks of time, keeping eyes up to the skies.

Swimming, released August 3rd 2018, same day as H.E.R., I Used To Know H.E.R, is a brand new opus that appears to be an introspective and therapeutic album.

Headspace exploring, this feels nothing like The Divine Feminine album which sounds like a great party, with dreams of tender and never-ending love.

Swimming suggests coolness, and brings peace of mind with nonchalance. His NPR Music Tiny Desk perfectly does justice to the vibe and spirit in this album. You’ll notice how much of a poet Miller happens to be through this performance and the several outros along this brand new opus.

Malcolm James McCormick has always been acknowledged a multi-intrumentist, playing the piano in his studio, playing the guitar on stage, and in love with jazz music. However, this album showcases best his versatility and musicality. Several type of deliveries and rhyme patterns; some of them recall Anderson Paak’s and even Migos’ style.

Surfing over jazzy, funkadelic, or psychedelic flows, Miller shows a solid piece of work, made with honesty and personality.

In his previous album, definitely dedicated to Ariana Grande, he opened The Divine Feminine by rapping “This sun don’t shine when I’m alone”, referring to his beloved girlfriend.

In Swimming, Ariana Grande being his ex, feels better and brighter off of a toxic relationship, and Mac might be alone, but still finds inner peace. Healthy and not under depression no more, he mentions at numerous times the light of the sun in this post break-up album.

Actually, five main lexical fields in his lyrics are about the water, the sky (sun and clouds), loneliness, time and self-forgiveness :

1) Water

And I was drowning, but now I’m swimming
Through stressful waters to relief – Come Back To Earth

Yeah, okay you gotta jump in to swim2009

I’m treading water I know
If I stop movin’, I’ll float – Perfecto

I keep my head above the water – Hurt Feelings

2) Sun and Clouds

Don’t you know that sunshine don’t feel right when you’re inside all day – Come Back To Earth

But the sun coming out now, clouds start to move – Small Worlds

Let’s get lost inside the clouds – Dunno

I was out of town, getting lost ’till I was rescued
Now I’m in the clouds, come down when I run out of jet fuel
But I never run out of jet fuel – Jet Fuel

The first part of the album was about either getting off waters, walking on water or swimming. Though the more we go, the more we move on to the light (of the sun) shining through the depths of his waters. Sun and clouds focused, the second part of the album feels more about floating and flying (in peace).

By the way, after listening to Jet Fuel and So It Goes, you finally understand the meaning behind the album cover which displays a peaceful Malcolm James McCornick resting at ease, in a flight, up high in the clouds.

Bare feet, running late” and probably “almost missed [his] flight”, this 26 year old successful businessman tells his life in his raps, unapologetic, self-aware, caring only for his own peace of mind, and most of all, more driven than ever for his career.

To the good and the bad times
All the cuts, broken bones and the black eyes
Young motherfucker with a mad mind
Made a couple million off of rap lines
Y’all can’t tell me nothing no more – Jet Fuel

3) Loneliness

He used to rap and brag about money in his previous opus, GO:OD AM, and now tells how much money has him feeling ugly, lonely, and like “everybody wanna reach inside [his] pockets” (So It Goes).

You never told me being rich was so lonely
Nobody know me, oh well
Hard to complain from this five star hotel – Small Worlds

Instead of havin’ demons that’s as big as my house, mhmm […]
Isn’t it funny? We can make a lot of money
Buy a lot of things just to feel a lot of ugly – 2009

4) Time

Knowin’ time don’t give a fuck about clocks until they stop – Perfecto

I got all the time in the world, so for now I’m just chilling
Plus I know it’s a, it’s a beautiful feeling, in oblivion, yeah, yeah – Self-Care

Don’t tell me nothing but the truth I’m tired, I don’t got a spare second – Small Worlds

5) Self-Forgiveness

Well, the light was dim in this life of sin
Now every day I wake up and breathe […]
See me and you, we ain’t that different
I struck the fuck out and then I came back swingin’
Take my time to finish, mind my business
A life ain’t a life ’til you live it
I was diggin’ me a hole big enough to bury my soul
Weight of the world, I gotta carry my own – 2009

Woke up this morning with a bright idea (smoke)
Maybe I can exist forever right here – Jet Fuel

Oh, I been a fool but it’s cool, that’s what human beings do
Keep your eyes to the sky, never glued to your shoes […]
Win or lose, win or lose
I don’t keep count, nobody checkin’ – Small Worlds

Either back on the surface of the waters or back to earth, Miller awakes to reality.

‘Cause on the surface I look so fine
But really I’m buggin’, buggin’
Makin’ somethin’ out of nothin’ – Perfecto

Recognizing his flaws, floating on the flows of self-forgiveness, Mac Miller lives on, on his journey for Self-Care. Once again, as said Akua Naru, “self-love is the very first romance”:

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Kim says:

    In retrospect, I feel like he was saying goodbye with this album. Informing us that he enjoyed being high , that he would remain high and he knew full well that would end his life. Not 2009 no more when the world was full of wonder and possibilities. The cover art- a coffin with a window in it like a airplane’s. Had he decided that dying would just be another trip? Was he looking forward to it? He was such a brilliant light. Rest In Peace

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    1. Nicole says:

      I don’t agree with this. Mac overdosed on Cocaine. No one would purposely take cocaine to overdose as in killing yourself. It is a party drug and he would’ve taken it for fun. They found him with scratches on his face and in a praying position as if he was panicking and realizing what was happening. This album is all about finding the light at the end of the tunnel. « everyday I wake up and breathe. I don’t have everything but thats alright with me. » This was an album dedicating to finding himself and finding happiness as an independent soul, not an album to say goodbye before he committed suicide.

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      1. SSB says:

        Thank You and we do agree. His peers were surprlsed (cf Glasper’s testimony). This was the album of rédemption but his demons got back quicker than he could figure

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  2. Court says:

    I think the album from beginning to end is about him searching for his self. Its almost breath taking if you look at everything that went into this album. From the water sounds and psychedelic sounds, to adding orchestra and waves all wrapped up in words that explains his very thought process. Through out the entire album you can tell he is sharing wisdom, self awareness, arrogance, second guessing and then it turns into being humble and relieved. One of the most amazing albums of my generation. It tells a story of self forgiveness, forgiveness of others, the process it takes to move on with life and find your own inner peace. I def. do not think ANY part of this album was him leading us to his suicide. Thats absurd
    and an absolute insult to the amazing human being he was.

    Like

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