Hip-Hop & R&B Features

Ranking “Swimming’s” Best Songs


“SWIMMING” is Mac Miller’s fifth studio album, following his 2016 release The Divine Feminine.

Throughout the album, Mac’s break up with famous pop singer Ariana Grande is an apparent theme of inspiration, as it gave him the chance to experience self-love, healing, and psychological growth.

Here’s my list from least flames to most flames. Song info provided by Genius.

Dive into more of our rankings of songs on hip-hop albums for a deeper understanding of music.

NO. 13 – “Jet Fuel”

The track title is a metaphor for the drugs and alcohol he uses to deal with problems. Drugs or alcohol have the effect of getting one high, similar to how a plane uses fuel to take off. Mac is essentially saying he’s constantly buzzed with his head in the clouds because he never runs out of substances to abuse.

NO. 12 – “So It Goes”

Mac’s outro tells us a lot of how he appreciated everything that happened to him from being a regular kid from Pittsburgh to the man he is right now.

NO. 11 – “Perfecto”

NO. 10 – “Dunno”

It seems as if Mac has dedicated this entire song to Ariana Grande. He reminisces about times he was care-free whenever she was around and mentions some experiences they had together. He’s very expressive and direct in this particular song, unlike some of the cryptic lyrics in the previous parts of the album.

NO. 9 – “Conversation, Pt. 1”

A track about having all these crazy ideas floating around in your head and acting on them. If you stay dreaming, you do just that, dream.
If you act on those dreams you never know what will happen. Success, fame, fortune. But you’ll never find out if you don’t branch out and run with that creativity you have. Until then it remains “just a conversation.”

NO. 8 – “Wings

Mac Miller finally admits that his emotional wounds have almost completely healed, that he has moved on from the darkest parts of his life and that the future will only be better for him.

NO. 7 – “Come Back To Earth”

On “Come Back To Earth” Mac provides a cathartic, gentle foundation to begin Swimming. The album’s recurring motifs of self-care, self-acceptance and personal liberation are introduced through the swimming metaphor.

Mac also establishes the conflict between a newfound sense of optimism and his perennial challenges with depression, isolation, and addiction.

NO. 6 – “Hurt Feelings

Here we see Mac give an acknowledgment to his own success, stating that he has indeed changed and grown as a person. While there are lines of acceptance towards his own development, he also addresses the type of people who choose to stay stagnant and end up squandering an opportunity, to which he says “shame on you”.

Despite this, Mac has become more content with his success and wants to assure those around him that changing as a person is an okay thing to do. He doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings with his new personality, cause he’s only just started.

NO. 5 – “Small Worlds”

Released on May 30th, 2018 along with Buttons and Programs, Mac breaks his silence in the wake of his very public rupture with Ariana Grande and subsequent DUI crash, marking his first releases since his 2016 album The Divine Feminine.

The song features a slow tempo and somber mood as Mac discusses his flaws, showing the listener he’s aware of the issues he’s caused following a highly problematic month.

NO. 4 – “Ladders”

NO. 3 – “2009

A reflective journey from the year before Mac’s breakout mixtape, K.I.D.S was released to the present day. He speaks to the listener about the lessons he’s learned and the wisdom he’s gained throughout the track.

NO. 2 – “Self Care”

Mac reflects on how he was perceived by the public in May after the highly publicized break up with Ariana Grande and Mac’s DUI. When tweeting about their relationship, Ariana states that Mac’s “inability to keep his shit together” was a significant reason why the relationship broke down and “Self Care” could also be Mac’s way of trying to learn from that mistake.

In the music video (below) Mac is buried in a pine box to symbolize how the media tried to assassinate his character. In the casket, Mac lights a cigarette despite having no source of oxygen, displaying that he is confident that he will overcome his obstacles and make it out. With his knife, he carves “memento mori” into the lid which translates to “remember that you have to die” and he punches through it to save himself, a symbol showing that he refuses to die any time soon.

NO. 1 – “What’s The Use?”

Teased as the follow up to the album’s first single “Self Care” it premiered a week later on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 radio show, July 24, 2018. Mac talks about the production of the song below.

Check out a ranking of SZA’s CTRL.

Follow Kev on Instagram or Twitter.


To Top
Image Suggested dimensions: 490 × 200 Body Footer Sign up success message Pop-up Form Copy/paste onto your site After you embed the code to your site, any changes you make to your form can be published directly from the editor.