Mac Miller - Swimming
Feb 18, 2019
On the 2018 album Mac Miller talks about his break up with Ariana Grande and recent DUI Hit and Run charge. He also talks about his anxiety and depression. This project also constantly talks about his idea of self-care and self-acceptance to release himself from his mind, to do this Mac Miller uses the term swimming often.This project ccan also be interpreted as Mac’s goodbye to the world.

Come Back to Earth – This is the opening track for Swimming. The production is handled by Mac himself and it features a beautiful guitar and bass played by Jeff “Gitty” Gitelman. Mac sings about his social anxiety and how his depression was “drowning” him and he is doing everything in his power to release himself. In this track Mac Miller also says that he will do anything for a way out of his own mind. “I got neighbours, they're more like strangers; We could be friends; I just need a way out of my head; I'll do anything for a way out; Of my head”.
Hurt Feelings – In the second track of the project Malcom says that he won’t ever change the way he is, although he notices he isn’t the same person anymore “I'm always saying I won't change but; I ain't the same (Same); Everything is different, I can't complain”. Mac also shows how we didn’t need anyone’s acceptance to get to the point that he was in his career and actually telling that his career has just begun and he his obsessed with it. J. Cole handles the production on this track.
What’s the Use? – The third single of the album, Mac Miller asks himself why does he need drugs and craves for just a little bit more of any drug at all. In spite of this, Mac tries to get free of these drugs but deep down he doesn’t think he can ever leave because his too deep on his addiction and has feels like his life will be cut short because of it. This track features vocals from Snoop Dogg and has Thundercat on the Bass.
Perfecto – Malcom McCormick discusses his past imperfect relationships, saying he doesn’t care if it’s not perfect or not because deep down it’s worth it even if his relationships has lots of arguments with his partner. “Don't say it, I swallow it; When living off of borrowed time” in this line I feel like Mac Miller is trying to say his life is coming to an end and he’s living on “borrowed” time. In spite of all of this Mac knows everything will end up okay and everything is perfect the way it is.
Self Care – This is the second single of the album and the hit song from the album featuring a music video that was released with the song. On the first part of the track Malcom opens up about trying to handle himself and asking for help because he can’t save himself. “That Mercedes drove me crazy, I was speeding; Somebody save me from myself, yeah”, fun fact about this line is that the artist stated on an interview that he wrote this before he had a car crash accident when drunk that led him to being charge with a DUI hit-and-run. This first part also features vocals from JID an East Atlanta artist that was friends with Mac Miller and was supposed to go on tour with him before Mac’s tragic passing. On the second part of the song Mac says that he’s been stuck in oblivion and he’s finally getting out of it and realising that if gets sober he’ll have all the time of the world to do whatever he feels like and that’s something beautiful “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”.
Wings – On the 6th song of the album Mac Miller says he’s no longer broken and all his wounds are now healing, with this Mac tells us that he’ll be able to drop the substance abuse and will have a bright future putting behind all his dark past. Although feeling like he’ll be able to move on with his life, he knows that he needs to do it carefully because he can slip and end up taking drugs again. He also feels like no one is perfect “Lucifer is human, so are we”
Ladders – On this song Mac Miller uses the term “Ladders” as a metaphor for life, one day life can be beautiful and everything being ok and the other one everything going wrong for you, in spite of this you should always find a way to climb up the ladder of life but always remembering that the higher you climb the higher the fall. On the refrain Mac briefly talks about his social anxiety saying that you shouldn’t wait forever to reach out to people and just be who you’re when you talk to them “I wouldn't wait forever; Just shoot your shot; We don't need no more, no extras; We all we got”. This was the only song from the rapper’s album that got a live performance on TV.
Small Worlds – Small Worlds is one of the songs that was released on the 30th of May as an EP together with Programs and Buttons. This was the only song of this trio that actually made the final cut. The term “small worlds” appears in Hurt Feelings and Ladders as well. On this track Mac Miller basically tells us that he is aware of his flaws as a person and knows he needs to do better. Mac also shows us that despite all the fame and money he still feels lonely and depressed. Malcom also says he feels like he’s going to die soon “I can feel my fingers slipping; In a motherfucking instant, I’ll be gone”.
Conversation Pt.1 – On this track Malcom describes someone who’s always taking drugs and not doing anything productive. That someone is Mac Miller himself, who used to get faded all the time “Swear your life is basic; All you do is sit around the house you getting faded”, although he tells himself that if he uses a bit of his imagination he can probably pull himself out of his addiction. He also says after he started getting money he changed for the worst as a person “Everybody famous, everybody wild, everybody dangerous; Get a couple dollars now they acting strange”.
Dunno – The 10th track of Mac Miller’s final studio album is dedicated to his ex-girlfriend Ariana Grande. Malcom talks about her anxiety and that he always knew how to calm her down “And you, you don't gotta work harder girl; I can calm you down, yeah”. Despite their breakup Mac mentions them breaking up on good terms as he refers to this break up on the outro of the song “I think we just might be alright, thank God; I think we're gonna be alright, alright, okay”. After his passing Spotify released his performance in the Spotify Studios in New York City along with his cover of Nothing from Nothing by Billy Preston.
Jet Fuel – Right on the beginning of the first verse, Mac Miller tells us that as a child he wanted to be a superhero and save people, but right now he’s the one who needs to be saved by a superhero. The term “Jet Fuel” is a metaphor for drugs and alcohol, the artist uses this “jet fuel” to overcome his issues. Mac Miller says he will “never run out of jet fuel” because he will be getting high all the time until he passes away “Now I’m in the clouds, come down when I run out of jet fuel; But I never run out of jet fuel”. This track features Steve Lacy playing the guitar.
2009 – This date is a year before Mac released his breakout mixtape K.I.D.S. Mac as used illegal substances since he was 11 years old (stated in a Nardwuar interview) and since then he learned a lot and knows what will happen to him if he doesn’t quit drugs “It ain't 2009 no more; Yeah, I know what's behind that door”. He talks about his addiction with a bit of depth throughout the whole track. He briefly mentions Ariana Grande’s “no tears left to cry” track on the chorus “And she don't cry no more”.
So It Goes – The last song of the 13 track album is Mac telling us that life will always continue no matter what happens to you “And I know been out (and I know I been out); But now I'm back in town (but now I'm back in town) so I; Show you the ropes; So it goes, so it goes, so it goes, despite of having a melancholic vibe to it. This song has a haunting backstory, the night that Mac Miller’s tragic death happened Mac posted an Instagram story of him playing this track on his vinyl player. He also posted on twitter that “the end of so it goes is so beautiful man, I told Jon Brion to play the ascension into heaven and he nailed it.”, he then deleted his tweet.

Personal conclusions:
When Swimming came out I instantly fell in love and I still fall in love with it every time I listen to it. Unfortunately, this album was under looked, because it released on the same day as the long awaited Astroworld album by Travis Scott came out.
It’s weird to feel like an album is your friend, but I feel like this one is, because it helps me through my good and bad times, I personally connect with almost every single track of the project. Come Back to Earth has to be one of the tracks I most connect to because it’s so simple and he talks about one of the issues that bother me the most. Social anxiety is something that has been haunting me since I was a kid, not being able to connect with people easily is a complete nightmare and this track feels like this was made for me. I mean, most of the anxiety references on the album feel like they were made for me such has the one found in Ladders “I wouldn't wait forever; Just shoot your shot; We don't need no more, no extras; We all we got”. Some of my favourite lyrics of Mac’s final studio album can be found in Hurt Feelings, Self Care and Ladders.
Every instrumental on this project feels wavy and calming, like we’re actually swimming while listening to this. Some of my favourite instrumentals are found in Ladders and Hurt Feelings (you can’t go wrong with a J. Cole beat), both tracks that have beautiful live performances with a band, that can be easily found with a quick search on YouTube.

Final Verdict:
As I said before I instantly fell in love with the project and I think it will always remain as one of my favourite projects because it just feels so close to my heart. I love every single song of the album in different ways and I just hope we can have something like an “untitled unmastered.” but for Swimming.
1 Comment
Feb 18, 2019
I know it's long as fuck. Link to the full thing (not much of a difference but either way there it is):
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