Everything we learned about Mac Miller's breakup with Ariana Grande on new album 'Swimming'
Ariana Grande felt objectified after an encounter with one of Mac Miller's fans. She took to Twitter to explain her feelings on the matter. Keri Lumm (@thekerilumm) reports.
It would’ve been difficult for Mac Miller to make a rosier album than his 2016 release “The Divine Feminine,” the unabashedly romantic collection of songs he recorded in the midst of his budding relationship with pop star Ariana Grande.
“Swimming,” his “Divine Feminine” follow-up album that dropped Friday, still has elements of the funk-and-soul sunshine Miller baked in on his previous release. But considering how Miller’s life has changed in the past few years, it was bound to be a darker album.
His two-year relationship with Grande, which thrust Miller into the paparazzi’s gaze with an intensity he hadn’t experienced before, ended in May. Shortly after, Miller was reportedly arrested for a DUI-related car crash, and Grande quickly got engaged to comedian Pete Davidson, two events that invited even more speculation into Miller’s life.
Yet the 26-year-old rapper is taking things in stride, if his “Swimming” lyrics are any indication.
And while the album is more contemplative than his previous release, “Swimming” really does sound like the work of a young person working through his issues rather than wallowing in them. Between his breakup and his acknowledged struggles with alcohol abuse, Miller faces his demons at various points on “Swimming,” and while the album isn’t a tell-all, there’s more that fans can learn about Miller from (almost) every song on his new release.
Song: "Come Back To Earth"
Choice lyric: “In my own way, I feel like living some alternate reality / And I was drowning, but now I'm swimming through stressful waters to relief.”
Decoded: The album's opening track expands on the album title's "Swimming" metaphor, setting up a collection of songs about how Miller navigated turbulent waters and came out afloat.
Song: "What’s The Use"
Choice lyrics: “I'm so above and beyond you take drugs to make it up / Way up where we on, space shuttle, Elon / Time we don't waste much, (expletive) when we wake up / Then have her sing just like Celine Dion.”
“Never superficial, you don't know it when it hit you / Get a little sentimental when I'm off the juice.”
Decoded: The first lyric seems like a passing reference to Celine Dion, except that Ariana Grande frequently impersonates the Canadian pop icon's vocals, as seen on her "SNL" and "Tonight Show" appearances. This isn't exactly shade as much as it is an oddly placed link to his ex.
As for the second line, Miller seems to be referencing his struggles with alcohol, mentioning his heightened emotions when he's not drinking.
Choice lyric: “Bare feet, runnin' late, her car started / Even though the only thing that she driving a hard bargain / More important is I'm kinda sorta out the door but / She put me back together when I'm out of order.”
Decoded: Whether Miller is talking about a past or present relationship isn't completely clear here. But if he is talking in past tense, he could very well be referring to Grande, who alluded to helping Miller overcome his addictions after their breakup.
Song: "Self Care"
Decoded: “I know that feelin' like it's in my family tree, yeah / That Mercedes drove me crazy, I was speedin' / Somebody save me from myself, yeah.”
Decoded: Released as an early single from "Swimming," "Self Care" was seen as Miller's chronicle of his mental recovery from his difficult stretch of time. While he only vaguely alludes to his breakup in the song, he's more direct in his acknowledgment of his car crash, considering the vehicle involved was reportedly a Mercedes.
Choice lyric: “Love so much that my heart get broke / I don't really know how the normal (expletive) go.”
Decoded: Miller is straightforward here about his relationship struggles, blaming the old adage of "loving too much" for his challenges.
Choice lyric: “You was coughin' when you hit my weed / But I've never seen you feel that free / So cute, you wanna be like me / Wouldn't you rather get along? Wouldn't you rather get along?”
“Well I was busy when you hit my phone / But you miss me, tell me come back home, yeah / You don't really like to sleep alone / But I'm takin' too long, I'm always takin' too long.”
“I wanna see them lips, kiss 'em ear to ear / I wanna hear your song, ooh, I wanna feel just how you feel / Touch it one more time so I know you're real / We could spin that wheel, wouldn't you rather get along?”
Decoded: Of all the songs on "Swimming," this track seems uniquely directed at Grande. There's a chance it's a gloomy ode to another woman, but there's a wistfulness that makes it seem as if Miller is rapping about love lost as he wonders why he and his counterpart can't just get along and – most tellingly – seems to reminisce about seeing an ex again after some time apart.
Song: "Jet Fuel"
Choice lyric: “Everybody wanna jump in but I'm old school, lone wolf, take 'em off solo / I don't need nobody, I don't need to be nobody / I'm just doing my thing, kick it at the crib I don't see nobody.”
Decoded: Miller says it himself here – he's a lone wolf, capable of thriving alone, a common stance to adopt after a breakup.
Choice lyric: “Now every day I wake up and breathe / I don’t have it all but that’s all right with me."
Decoded: If there's a mission statement to "Swimming," it could very well be this lyric, about how Miller, after all his trials, is just happy to be alive and is taking his struggles in stride.