“Shoulda died already, I… shoulda died already” Miller opens Faces with an introspective look at his drug use, his missteps, and the most humanistic characteristics that he had. His downfalls are what made him approachable to anyone who had falling outs, his kindness took his music to a global level and saw collaborations unheard of, and his talent left some of the greatest music to ever be produced.
There is a female voice that becomes continually present throughout Faces and proceeds to lead the listener like a gentle shepherd. “Be without fear in the face of your enemies, be brave and upright that god may love thee. Speak the truth even if it leads to your death, safeguard the helpless and do no wrong. This is your oath…” as Miller then creates a Pittsburgh homecoming of jazz-influenced production on “Here We Go” that rivals with the uplifted, living better Miller. “Brand new home I think I made it, key to the city I keep to open the gates with. A briefcase with a million under the pavement, that’s just on some rainy day shit” Miller exclaims through this crafty, but still simplistic instrumental.
Faces relies on this constant changes to frequently keep the mood in a rising and falling action of both intrigue and despair. With tracks as “Angel Dust” or even “Happy Birthday” that put a positive sound on the drug abuse story, Miller’s production here is as packed as ever and showcases through his creativity a lighthouse within the mirage of foreboding seas. With other tracks of “Therapy”, “Diablo”, or the absolute powerhouse of “Insomniak”; Miller is a beast of free burden that rhymes over quicker, more upbeat tempo tracks that reflect some of his brightest and most chest-flexed moments in hip-hop.
“Insomniak” creates the Miller that fans adored from the beginning, but with all the glare and glam of a famous A-lister with a budget. With the female vocal sample that opens “Think for yourself and you’ll find out that a lot of those so-called authorities are bullshit.” Miller then takes the opportunity to create a flood of lyrics that include “I’m the motherfucking greatest, y’all don’t know that yet. I don’t need your money, you can hold that check. At the crib in some Polo sweats, I don’t need a hoe, that’s what the hoes don’t get.” To then moving into a verse that could make the listener transport into their ex’s house in a grand finale of bravado just to tell them they really aren’t shit, “Bought a brand new crib yeah I move that brick, I don’t want nothing with your doo-doo clique. Treat her like a dog how I do that bitch…” as he reaches a hook that works as a chorus to describe “I’m an insomniac, a motherfuckin’ insomniac.”
Then as it comes to a crashing curtain draw, Faces takes the best of Mac Miller and divides the beauty into two reminiscent tracks that hold a final goodbye. “New Faces v2” uses Earl Sweatshirt and Da$H as the opening rhymers in collaboration before Miller disappears into the fireworks display of “Grand Finale.” With the most shocking line coming from “Grand Finale” that explains “And if by chance this my grand finale, bury me in Allegheny County… Even God will one day be forgotten… I’m a bit surprised that I’m even still alive, Mixin’ uppers and downers practically suicide.”
As the incredibly unfortunate and almost indescribable death of Mac Miller came so suddenly. Faces is more important than ever and delivers wholeheartedly on the fact that Mac Miller could transcend the early college hits, could surpass the drugged out depression, and realize that he is a relatable human that felt more like a big brother than just another artist.
Editors Notes: (AKA Matt’s Music Mine AKA Matthew Miramontes AKA Matty Ice AKA Machine Gun Salami AKA Lord Of The Game AKA Matty B Murder Business because I do everything on this site) – Mac Miller was more than just an artist to me as he was one of the first artists that I could ever relate to. The homies and I would gather around my shitty iPhone 5c (the white one) speakers just to hear when his newest tracks or leaks would come out and there aren’t many artists that hold that grasp on me. He was an eloquent artist through both music and the lyrics, even passed the fact that he never knew me as I knew him. It was a celebrity meeting that I had imagined more than a thousand times throughout my career as a journalist. The idea that Mac would just one day find my site and appreciate this. The fact that it takes someone I loved through a musical fascination to tell my friends and family that I love them for the first time in a long time. Miller would want the fans, the family, the people who knew him to not be crushed down after his death, but to instead show the world what he meant to us and live more like him. To capture love and distribute it throughout. I honestly have no idea what I am even saying anymore and truthfully, I did not like K.I.D.S. or even Macadelic, Blue Slide was a pass at times. It took Watching Movies With The Sound Off for me to realize just how intelligent Mac was and how much an artist he was within his music. Hearing “Watching Movies” on my dad’s speakers as he came home to laugh off my “rap phase” that would span a continuous 12 years and still presently. It was the beat production, the rhyming skills, and the way that I could finally jump into my dad’s 1998 Buick Century and blow the speakers out to “Birdcall.” Something I do now with my car, my events, my bedroom, my office, and even my poor iPhone speakers. Mac, I never knew you like your homies, but I wanted to. And I hope that your passing and music inspires my kids to one day stop making excuses, to push themselves more, and hope that I can one day change someone’s life like you did mine.