Miller makes a pretty compelling case for his concoction of women’s love and galactic philosophy.
“This sun don’t shine when I’m alone/ I lose my mind and I lose control.”
After freeing himself from the tangled web of drug addiction on 2015’s triumphant GO:OD AM, Mac Miller is still formulating a worldview that doesn’t include getting high. On The Divine Feminine, his fourth studio album, Miller looks for that infrastructure in women, both for the physical security they provide and also for their greater connection to the universe at large as he perceives it. The above quote, taken from album opener “Congratulations” speaks to the broader philosophy of the album: everything is interconnected and nothing is worse for Mac than being on his own.
Miller told Complex, “The Divine Feminine, to me, is the universe. Treating the world how you’re supposed to treat a female is awesome. The more you make love to it and the less you try to fuck it, the better it all becomes for you.”
This treatise is present in the album, albeit often more sonically than musically. The Divine Feminine isn’t quite a concept album, but a patchwork made up of different ideas about how to treat women, how not to treat women and how that connects to the collective psyche, all punctuated by soulful, slick instrumentation. The album looks sleeker than it is, with many tracks stretching past the five-minute mark and filled with movements, beat changes and opportunities for Miller to prove himself as a singer.
He mostly succeeds, and it’s fascinating to hear a rap album completely devoid of shit talking, even if Miller proved that he has a true knack for it on GO:OD AM. Still, Miller’s thoughts on these weighty topics aren’t as immediately compelling as his back-from-the-brink narrative, and while it can be inferred that Miller has intellectual, sophisticated opinions on women he doesn’t always make them clear lyrically.
To compensate, he keeps the central ideas of the songs self-evident, illustrating concepts like holding onto lost love (“Stay,” “Dang!” and “Soulmate”) or the cosmic power of finding love (“We” and “My Favorite Part”). He also buoys The Divine Feminine with a who’s who of alt-rap crooners like Anderson .Paak, Ty Dolla $ign, Cee-Lo and even Kendrick Lamar, all of whom provide unique, varied perspectives.
.Paak’s hook for “Dang!” (which was originally an ode to loved ones who’ve passed) adds some heft to the song’s rubbery bounce, while Ty toes the line between dashing and dangerous on the guitar-soaked “Cinderella”. However, the moment when Miller most beautifully finds the triangulation between himself, women and the universe at large is on Ariana Grande duet “My Favorite Part,” the album’s coziest, most lived-in tune. The pair has undeniable chemistry (they’re a real-life couple, after all), and here Miller offers further explanation of his perspective shift atop Grande’s signature breathless harmonies.
“I know you far too smart/ Before things come together they have to fall apart/
It’s been a while since I’ve been sober/ This life can be so hard, I’d rather talk about you,” he raps.
Sobriety isn’t easy, neither is being a person in general, and while people have found lots of different ways to cope with these realities, Miller makes a pretty compelling case for his concoction of women’s love and galactic philosophy, even if he has yet to really figure out what he actually means by that.