The Mac Miller of Watching Movies With the Sound Off is different from the teenager who crafted the fun, at times poppy Blue Slide Park. The new Watching Movies is Miller's expansion on the famous Nas line, "I woke up early on my born day, I'm 20 it's a blessing / The essence of adolescence leaves my body, now I'm stressin'."
As is suggested by the album's cover, Miller bares all here, crafting his most introspective and conceptually self-critical project yet. On "I Am Who I Am," Miller begins with some potent, eye-opening bars:
Posing the question, how many been empty and holding aggression?
Close to depression, open your eyes and just focus a second
Fuck a recession my brother — my mind is my weapon; I'm letting it go
Loading and pointing at negative energy
Having been making music since his teen-age years, Miller's mixtape and album catalog play like a book of his life. Many of the characters in Watching Movies — including friends, family and a girlfriend — have previously been referenced in Miller's music. In that regard, the chorus to the album's title song rings true, as Miller raps: "Looking at my life is like you watching movies."
The self-produced "Aquarium" is one of his greatest works yet. The laid-back track has echoing voices in the background as Miller intertwines a variety of metaphors, forming some impressively intricate rhyme schemes.
The deeply personal songs are complemented by some less serious, more party/radio-friendly songs like "Gees" and "O.K." While this could easily be considered Miller's most notable release to date, his rapid progression leads me to believe this artist's best is yet to come.