Mac Miller, The Divine Feminine – Album Review


Mac Miller, The Divine Feminine © Warner Bros.

★★★★

Mac Miller flips the script on his fourth studio album, ‘The Divine Feminine.’ The results are captivating and well-rounded.

Ahead of his fourth album The Divine Feminine, Mac Miller released three singles: “Dang!”, “We,” and “My Favorite Part.”  All three singles showcased a softer, more romantically-charged Miller.  By the time “My Favorite Part” arrived, fans understood that The Divine Feminine would be the biggest ‘departure’ from the Pittsburgh MC’s discography.  Centering mostly around romance but not sans sex, many of the unapologetic references that follow Miller are absent.

“Congratulations” kicks off The Divine Feminine gently and freely, lacking concrete structure.  Mac, still manages to be profane:

“But I swear that ass what heaven’s like / when I’m in that p*ssy, it’s a better life”

Aside from one or two slip-ups, the opener is clearly amorous. “Congratulations” is meant to set the tone for the album.  It accomplishes this feat, receiving a lift from Bilal on the outro.

“Dang!”

“Dang!”, featuring Anderson .Paak, brilliantly depicts love, sex, and relationship issues, in fresh fashion. Specifically, “Dang!” dabbles in true love – struggling with settling into a relationship as opposed to empty, meaningless hook ups.  Mac’s flow is beastly, in the most introspective, soulful way possible. As he’s proved throughout 2016, Anderson .Paak is a godsend to urban music.   

“Stay” has a tough act to follow, but ends up being ultra-successful.  The concept isn’t far-fetched nor game-changing: “[girl], will, you, stay, just a little while, babe?”  Over its course, Mac literally begs, thinking with the love below:

“You so complicated, I swear that p*ssy Grammy-nominated / let’s make some music, f*ck all of the bullshit”

By the end, apparently, Miller is convincing. An array of feminine, orgasmic sounds concludes. Signature Mac Miller.

“Skin”

“Skin” can be characterized as “innuendo central.” From the start, Mac Miller is, well, horny.  While “Skin” doesn’t have higher ambitions beyond sex, it’s a beautiful illustration nonetheless.  The harmonic progression is perfectly suited and Miller is fully invested.  Even if it’s shallow, “Skin” is one of the best moments on The Divine Feminine.

“Cinderella” brings on the ubiquitous Ty Dolla $ign, who delivers a signature, gritty hook.  The collaboration between the two works seamlessly.  The edginess of Ty and the nimble, aggressiveness of Miller is like a match made in heaven…if a sinful one.  “Cinderella” closes with switch-up, which finds Miller singing romantically to Cinderella of course.

“Planet God Damn” (featuring Njomza) isn’t the most innocent name for a song, though Miller loved the word so much to name his third album after a variant of it (GO:OD AM). But that’s beside the point.  “Planet God Damn” is all sensation, or to quote Janet Jackson, “sexation.” Mac states it best himself:

“Lotta people suck a d*ck, but you can execute it / perfect timing, don’t you ever add another second to it.”

“Soulmate” might be the gimmickiest song off The Divine Feminine, but it’s also one of the most intriguing moments.  The production is exceptional – out of the box.  While the song itself takes a while to completely digest, upon hearing, there’s the sense this is special.  The hook is winning, period:

“You the one to show me divine love, love, love, love / where was you when I was lonely, my divine love, love, love, love?”

“We”

Standout “We” is beautifully produced with dusty, soulful production work, touting an old-school sound. Miller delivers thoughtful rhymes about emotional soundness as a couple. CeeLo Green guests exhibiting a subtle approach that still manages to pack a punch.  Ultimately, it’s another magnificent moment for Miller.

While somewhat reluctant upon its isolated release, “My Favorite Part” featuring Ariana Grande, plays well contextually within The Divine Feminine.  “My Favorite Part” is a departure, but definitely groovy and soulful, chocked full of chivalry. The production is incredibly lush, anchored by a sick old school groove and a robust bass line. The chemistry between Miller and Grande is great.

“God Is Fair, Sexy, Nasty” concludes The Divine Feminine with a bang…no pun intended.  Kendrick Lamar guests on the second eight-minute cut of the LP.  The last three minutes or so serves as an interlude, featuring Mac’s grandmother expounding upon her relationship.  It’s another respectable moment, but not the crème de la crème.

Final Thoughts

All in all, The Divine Feminine is a departure album for Mac Miller that works near perfectly.  Miller is softer, but he still maintains enough bite and edge that he doesn’t lose his artistic identity.  The shake up for album four is welcome, particularly considering the fact that GO:OD AM didn’t sell exceptionally well despite being high-quality.  If The Divine Feminine is off-putting the first listen, give it a couple of more spins and its magic will reveal itself.

Gems: “Dang!” (ft. Anderson. Paak), “Skin,” “We” (ft. CeeLo Green) & “My Favorite Part” (ft. Ariana Grande)

Mac Miller • The Divine Feminine • Warner Bros. • Release: 9.16.16
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Publishing Note: This album review was originally published on The Musical Hype as Mac Miller Shows Romantic and Sensual Side On ‘The Divine Feminine’  on September 19, 2016. 

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