Album Review: Live From Space-Mac Miller

Having already released Watching Movies early last summer, Pittsburgh native Mac Miller gave audiences another record to jam out to before 2014 rolled in.

Challenged to top the lyrical evolution that he produced in Watching Movies, Miller chose to go with a similar route in his latest album Live From Space, released on December 17. The collection is familiar and features nine of the tracks that were released on Watching Movies, but with an entirely different presentation as he re-releases them as live performances.

It’s hard to critique the work as an authentic album, but instead of the studio produced beats that you heard in Watching Movies, Miller collaborates with neo-soul band, The Internet to give his previous tracks a more vibrant feel with organic sounds and percussions. He changes up the flow in his delivery as well. The performances were recorded during Miller’s The Space Migration Tour that took place this past summer. Throughout the record, you’ll hear the revamped frat-rap artist recite the many cities that he performs in, while The Internet’s Taylor Walker adds in some quirky yet entertaining ad-libs . This might have been a better coming out party for The Internet than a shining moment for Mac. But I’m sure he doesn’t mind, the working parties collaborated in putting together made this finish product a win-win.

The remaining five tracks Egg’s Aisle, Earth, Life, Black Bush, and In the Morning were said to be tracks that didn’t make the cut to being included in Watching Movies. Besides Future’s feature on Earth, Mac was wise to leave them out. Their songs follow the bleak acoustics heard throughout Watching Movies minus the meaningful and captivating lyrics. Life is a nice tune with interesting harmonies, but the lyrics were lazy and the message was pretty basic at best. The remaining tracks follow a similar trend.

While many might see this album as sheer overlap taken from Watching Movies, I see the work as Mac giving an album new life and a sound that caters to a wider range of listeners. At this stage in his life, it seems that he is trying to find himself as an artist by testing the waters in a new genre until he’s closer to finding his fit. Instead of rapping in the shadows of Eminem or being seen as a poor man’s Wiz Khalifah, Mac is trying to create his own trend and the change is perhaps one for the better.

It seems like we see many artists (rappers especially) go through this transitional phase where they go from an innocent and trite performer that usually opens a show for a mainstream artist, to becoming a reputable voice in hip-hop.  Watching Movies was a testimonial on Mac’s growing pains dealing with drug addiction and the trials and tribulations of being both a young and unestablished artist.

All in all, you have to give Mac some credit for his work in 2013. He has been undermined by many, but his second album and now Live From Space are stepping stones to the new Mac. It’s hard to really appreciate this work because you’re not standing front and center in a packed music arena, but it does entice audiences to attend future performances if they haven’t been satisfied with his music thus far.

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