This article was originally published in 2019.
In the wake of Mac Miller’s death in September 2018, the comment sections of his YouTube and Soundcloud channels became a collective and never-ending eulogy, a group therapy session, a room for confessional, a place for mourners to speak to Mac on a rough day — a space for the deluge of emotion to sit, heavy and throbbing, never quite simmering down.
His premature passing created a scab that never quite healed, one that reopens at a slight skimming against a surface. “Afternoon Mac came to chill for a little,” one comment read. “I come here to hang out with Mac at least once a day,” another said. “Lost my pops and Mac in the same year; life moves too fast,” wrote one user.
To be a fan of Mac Miller during his lifetime largely meant watching him fight to overcome his demons because Miller struggled aloud. His songs were riddled with aching; his battle with staying on Earth was present at every turn. To look back and trace the months leading up to his death is to go down an excruciating painful path, one that shows a man in the midst of a seemingly eternal struggle. One of the most heartbreaking moments came just a month before he died, as he performed for NPR’s Tiny Desk series: With glazed over eyes, he sang, “Nobody told me being rich would be so lonely.”
And yet heavily contrasted with those moments of pain was Miller’s bursting effervescence, moments of pure jubilation, of his contagious personality and unruly talent. There were hardly any unkind words spewed in his direction, mainly because there weren’t many to say. The list of things to miss about Miller is boundless: Watching him perform, his hands fidgeting so quickly it looks like a computer glitching, his impressive collection of oversized grandpa sweaters, his releasing of random outtakes on SoundCloud, his drive to build up other musicians’ careers, his goofiness, his sense of humor, his love of the music.
So, there’s no dancing around it: His death left a gaping chasm in the world, and perhaps the only solace is the massive collection of music he left behind for us to cherish.
To rank his best songs would be a disservice to those left out, so here are 10 tracks simply worth savoring.