Mac Miller in The Divine Feminine goes through an alternative hip hop collective on his own personal take of love and relationships, which gets lost in the lush productions and a singular view despite all the collaborative efforts. Some moments work rather well, though after a while the album theme is repetitive and loses the genuineness in its aim.
“Congratulations” opens the album out in pure piano balladry, fully equipped with choir vocals and violin interludes, blending soothing melodies over romantic hip hop memories. With opening lines from Ariana Grande and a Bilal outro, the track is drenched in feeling without feeling overly sappy. What starts out as a memoir for people passed on in guest vocalist Anderson Paak’s life evolves into a heartfelt plea from Miller to keep his girl in relational complications. Track single “Dang” trots the line between funky jazz and hip hop, singing through rap lines for a more refreshing take on the genre.
Continuing the theme further “Stay” simplifies the plea even more: to just stay a little while, which in the long run of things sounds a bit tired after a while. The delivery style sounds reminiscent of Chance The Rapper, though buried in even further production gloss and over sensual outros that get ridiculous. “Skin” starts right where the track before it left off, as if Mac actually succeeded in getting his partner to stick around a while, a purely sensual track lost in sultry saxophone echoes and artistic metaphors. If it weren’t for the closer you might have just believed it were all directed towards a single character.
Ty Dolla $ign drops a hook in anticipation for a night with “Cinderella” in what should pan out for the entire night, extending out for a full 8 minutes from a combination of 2 songs in one. As if lost in congratulations yet again the bluesy ballad outro hangs on the moment for too long to take seriously. Nostalgic love seeps through “Planet God Damn” as Miller tries to keep things honest, set to keep the relationship going even despite the pain of ‘head pollution.’ Njomza keeps things quietly understated on truth telling, honest showing and sharing feelings which trails off to an end that almost feels cut short.
A poignant monologue from Good Will Hunting on being bound by nothing plays before bursting into synthetic warbles lost in mortality, the divine love and the pursuit of happiness. The ideas may seem like tired clichés playing again and again on The Divine Feminine but therein lies the running theme. For a track entitled “We” Miller sounds inherently selfish (‘okay, well you can be my..’), despite referencing the return of his affections in what sounds genuinely sweet. To further the idea guesting Cee-Lo Green echoes sentiments from his softened singing to snide commentary with a knowing laugh.
In a sweet duet between Mac Miller and Ariana Grande, “My Favorite “Part” gets locked in the sentiment of love as young couples do. Though not their first collaboration working together, the song is something like a coming out together debut between the 2 artists in song form. “God Is Fair, Sexy Nasty” closes the love collection in a collaboration between Miller and Kendrick Lamar, the latter of which who sings through in metaphors. As the piano interlude goes on after the track finishes a powerful story from Miller’s grandmother telling of what took place in her own life.
The Divine Feminine has this likable quality that Mac Miller is pushing for through the entirety of the album. Hooks are catchy, honest moments genuine, feelings not forced. Yet as for being “feminine” there are so many other qualities that could have been touched upon, where even a touching moment of storytelling does little to redeem the lack. It is indeed likable, but hardly divine.