Published Sep 16, 2016A concept album about love would sound like the most played-out, hackneyed, overdone musical concept ever from most artists, the kind of thing cooked up in a late-night, munchies-heavy studio session where the same beat has been on repeat for six hours and everybody in the building has long since given up getting any work done. Fortunately, Mac Miller isn't most artists; he's got the drive, versatility and killer contacts list to pull it off.
The Divine Feminine doesn't exactly redefine how we look at love, but it's still a very, very dope record. The instrumentation is lush and fluid, and so perfectly put together that it's possible to imagine Mac, bow-tie undone, tinkling away at a grand piano in some dimly lit cocktail lounge. It doesn't hurt that his lazy drawl and slick lyrics are instantly recognisable, and that he puts together some serious heaters here. "Dang!" with Anderson .Paak is particularly sweet, as is the squelchy, faintly sinister "Soulmate." Judiciously chosen guests — Kendrick Lamar, Ariana Grande, Cee-Lo, Ty Dolla $ign — help things along nicely, never outstaying their welcome, never obscuring the central concept.
It doesn't always feel like Miller has evolved much since 2011's Blue Slide Park, but he's reached the point where he can try different things and (mostly) pull them off. The Divine Feminine demonstrates this nicely; it might not quite be groundbreaking, but it's a fun, captivating and endlessly playable listen. (Warner)