The group at IFC theatre was an intimate one, mostly friends of MTV star and rapper Mac Miller. Mac embodies everything you would want if you had Peter Pan Syndrome— a young mindset with a grown-up lifestyle; however, his second album, Watching Movies with the Sound Off is anything but childish.
When we were ushered in to the dingy IFC theatre, we were greeted with popcorn, candy and pizza (something Eric and Jeff Rosenthal were particularly intrigued by besides Gunplay at 11PM). The stage was set to watch a movie with Mac, including the “enthusiastic” drunks in the back of the theatre, who I’m assuming were his friends given the outbursts. Yes, Mac was among friends last night which included Charlemagne The God, Relly On Smash, Action Bronson, Big Dave, Jimmy and Q.
Mac was nervous when he took to the mic before the small theatre, afraid of saying too much because of the harsh criticisms writers take on Twitter when addressing his “weird pants and headband.” Mac only took to the mic about 4 times all night (thank god), each time with a little apprehension and complete gratitude (he thanked us at the end because we were sober and stayed). One of those times, he briefly acknowledged his competition with Kanye saying, “He’s Yeezus,” but never mentioned J.Cole interestingly enough.
And so began the “watching movies with Mac Miller” portion of the evening, which was about an hour and a half of close-up aquatic shots of sea-life, mostly turtles. (It became a running joke that we were watching the real-life struggles of Squirt from Finding Nemo); however, these shots set off a contemplative tone for the album–one that might be his most emotional body of work to date.
With the lights dimmed and cell-phones in hand, Mac’s mind poured out in to material as deep as the blue sea. With a sound that has graduated from his Macadellic mix-tape, Mac refers to his father in the first track saying “I wonder if I’ve lost my way.” But has Mac lost his way? With the second track sounding like the rap version of the movie “UP” title track, the next four tracks (“I Am Not Real,” “S.D.S,” “Birdcall,” and “Matches) have Mac basically free-style rapping. With little to no structure, the prominent influence of LA life on Mac is evident, including what sounded like oriental tones in Pharrel-produced “Objects in the Mirror.”
Eight songs in and everyone’s heads were pretty much down with the dark thematic tones of love and self-discovery resonating int he room. The only song the audience clapped for was “Red Dot Music” ft. Action Bronson and Loaded Lux because Mac was just “rapping for the fuck of it.” Bronson, who recently released his own project “Saab Stories,” showed his support, joining in the head-bobbing unison. I was most surprised and proud to hear Loaded Lux on the track– just one of the many legendary snags Mac features on this album.
At the very end, we got a special preview of the bonus tracks and their stories. The first bonus is produced by Diplo and, according to the whispers, it is supposed to be his radio hit. Titled “Goosbumps,” the track is uptempo, offering lyrics like “When I die, bitch fuck my hologram.” Of the three bonus tracks, however, I honestly think “O.K.” ft. Tyler the Creator has a real shot at a radio spin. He called it the laughing song spitting out hilarious rhymes like “I hit it raw when I listen to Papoose.”
General consensus: Mac made this album for the thinkers, the contemplative music heads who really just give no fucks. This album requires some real absorption, but it might have been better as a mix-tape considering it already leaked.