A prolific and versatile artist, Mac Miller was a unique artist in a variety of ways. He was never shy to express his emotions in vivid detail, and throughout his career, his music evolved in many different directions.
Whether you’re a die-hard fan or casual listener, there’s a long list of memorable songs from the artist. Nevertheless, this article is going to break down the ten saddest Mac Miller songs of his career.
1. Good News
After Mac Miller’s passing, it seemed that a lot of the meaning in his music made a lot more sense. Moreover, his words hit much harder, as it became clear to myself and many others that he was providing direct insight into his thoughts.
His song “Good News” was released in 2020 after his passing on his posthumous album Circles. As usual, music is subjective and left to interpretation, but there’s plenty of distress in his lyrics regardless of the lighthearted instrumental.
2. God Speed
An intricate musical piece, “God Speed,” goes through many changes throughout the song. Mac Miller takes almost a spoken word approach to the song with many different melodies, drum samples, and other live instruments.
The way his lyrics come off portrays an image of a personal monologue and that he’s putting it all out to clear his head. This song appears on his album GO:OD AM and is easily one of the saddest songs in his discography.
Although Mac Miller might have experimented with many different music styles, he was always known for a lofty and floaty lyrical style. “Rain” brings a classic Mac Miller sound as he coasts over a simple guitar sample complemented by some calm Rhodes piano chords.
From the start, the song introduces supporting rhymes from Vince Staples, whose cadence fits perfectly with the boom-bap instrumental. The song seems to be somewhat short intentionally, as the instrumental doesn’t change too much and leaves plenty of room for straight bars.
The production value of this song really hits hard and brings an excellent rocking tempo to it. As always, Mac shows his lyrical ability in an effortless manner, in addition to airy harmonies in the hook.
Across the somber instrumental, Mac speaks on a handful of complex topics from love, lost loved ones, drug use, and personal mental struggles. You could take plenty from his message, but I feel it primarily reflects how life is so much simpler when we’re young.
5. Grand Finale
With almost a LoFi feel to it, “Grand Finale” brings a head-nodding drum kit and calming chords. Throughout the instrumental, supporting electric guitar riffs pan from left to right, giving you a surround sound experience.
An excellent late-night song, Mac took more of a live production route with this one. Every aspect of the song comes with elements of a live venue, and although Mac Miller has experimented with this before, he really took a firm hold of this sound in the later years of his career.
Once again, Mac Miller doesn’t shy away from self-reflection in “Funeral.” Many fans, including myself, find this to be one of Mac’s saddest songs in his discography.
This record was released on his album Faces, which brewed plenty of conversation online due to its colorful production value and raw lyrical content. Furthermore, Mac provided us with many different sounds, but “Funeral” encapsulates some of his best work and insight into his evolution as a lyricist and instrumentalist.
This track brings a slight change in style for Mac Miller, and it works great with his soft vocals and excellent use of dynamics that contrast and compliments each other from start to finish. In “Woods,” Mac took more of a bedroom-pop and R&B direction with a calm yet funky bass line, in addition to a danceable drum kit that isn’t too obstructive but quickly catches the ear.
Moreover, it could be said that the song brings a vibe from another era, as it’s easily a sound you’d hear in the ’80s and ’90s. Mac provides a decent level of contrast as he switches from harmonizing to a catchy rhyme scheme, which keeps the listener tuned in throughout the whole song.
8. Objects in the Mirror
With many enticing dynamics, “Objects in the Mirror” offers a very natural production quality using various world instruments. All of these exotic sounds come together to structure a blend of jazz, hip-hop, and R&B characteristics.
The song has many resonating qualities with the use of reverb and delay across his vocals and the panning of percussion throughout. Another dynamic that warms the ears is how Mac layered his vocals; they aren’t overpowering, but they’re still very present and surround you from different angles.
Mac brings astounding production quality and a heartfelt message with “2009” and has helped many people get through hard times ever since its release. Moreover, the artist speaks of a simpler time in his music, as the year “2009” was still early in his career and wasn’t as complicated for the artist.
Although the lyrics may be speaking from his personal experience, they’re structured so that anyone can relate to the message no matter their individual struggle. It also has a humbling tone, as Mac openly gets vulnerable about his flaws and fears, which shows that day-to-day, we aren’t all that different.
A song that exudes the feeling of talking with a close friend, Mac Miller avoids percussion for his record “Circles.” I feel this could be considered one of his saddest songs as he doesn’t filter his message and does his best to connect with each listener with his raw lyrics.
Additionally, the message touches on the topic of personal growth, regret, and flaws within relationships, as he speaks on himself and how he should’ve handled certain situations differently. Behind his tired and raspy vocals is a dream-like melody progression that seems to just float without any real direction, and it works perfectly.
Thanks for checking out my list of the saddest Mac Miller songs.
Let me know what you think about my list in the comments section below, thanks!
Alex is a man of many talents. He’s been playing music since he was young, and has been the main content writer at Tone Start for the past few years. Alex loves to play around with different styles of music and enjoys listening to anything from country to classical.