Mac Miller Live From Space

Mac MillerLive From Space
At the start of 2013, Mac Miller turned 21, foreshadowing a year in which he would triumphantly mature into a multifaceted, respected artist who has clearly entered his zone. To go with his stellar sophomore album, Watching Movies With The Sound Off, he released two mixtapes under aliases — one as producer Larry Fisherman with promising L.A. upstart Vince Staples, another as the twisted Delusional Thomas — and ends the year off with this release of (mostly) live recordings, Live From Space. Odd Future-affiliated band the Internet were tapped to reinterpret and present Mac's catalog, mixing in a smooth neo-soul sound, for his Space Migration tour.

The pride and effort Mac and Syd's boys brought to the stage should be commended, but for the most part, the songs included on this album, as recordings, didn't need or receive any improvements, nor are they old enough to need updating. The glowing exception is the touching rendition of "Youforia" that swaps the douche-esque Mike Posner vibe of the original for a stripped-down, vulnerable performance that is another example of Mac's versatility.

The five studio cuts tacked onto the album also help to make this release somewhat worth it. The thought that impressive tracks like "Black Bush," a laidback hook-heavy flowfest, and "In The Morning," featuring the wondrous bass stylings of Thundercat, are being treated like throwaways here suggest that Mac Miller's more than prepared to build on his newfound glory. (Rostrum)