Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this Love Letter To A Record series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
Quinn XCII – Mac Miller, ‘Swimming’ (2018)
Mac Miller came on to the scene right when I was starting my freshman year of high school. I can still remember watching his music video for ‘Nike’s on my feet’ and thinking to myself that I’d never seen someone look like me have such swagger and confidence. Mac’s journey as an artist progressed through the years, and before his tragic passing in the fall of 2018, he released an album called Swimming, which to this day, remains my favorite album of all time.
Between its experimental approach of blending hip hop and jazz or the honesty portrayed in Mac’s raspy yet melting vocals, there’s many reasons a music lover would adore Swimming. For me, however, my love for this 13 song masterpiece (in my opinion) stems from listening to it for the first time during my darkest point in life.
The year Swimming was released was also the same year I’d dealt with my worst bouts of depression to date. I can vividly remember being on tour and listening to this album front to back, sometimes walking from the venue to a nearby cafe just to clear my head. One instance very much sticks out to me in Salt Lake City, where I spent a couple hours listening to Mac’s project and just allowing my depression to be as it was, not trying to change anything about it.
I think that’s what Swimming, for me at least, represents. It reminds me to allow what is happening to simply happen; to know that I’m not the only one suffering. Mac was very vocal about his battles with mental health in this album and even more descriptive on his posthumous record Circles, but still, there’s something about Swimming that comforts me. When I struggle with sadness or anxious thoughts nowadays, it’s still my go-to album to put on and just listen. I even got Mac’s face with the word Swimming tattooed on my forearm, that may also show you how much this record means to me.
His fans, including myself, miss him every day. But, Mac Miller and his music will live on forever. In the case of Swimming, I believe it’s Mac’s best project and one of the most authentic hip hop albums ever released. More importantly, for me at least, it brought me out of the darkest point in my life and for that, I’m forever indebted to him.
Rest In Peace.