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Music to Atone To
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“I’ve been going through it, you just go around it / But it’s really not that different when you think about it.” Sadly, rapper Mac Miller, who tragically passed away at the age of 26, had a tumultuous year in 2018.  Among his hardships prior to his untimely demise, he experienced a high-profile break-up, a DUI, and severe substance abuse.  Throughout his final studio album, Swimming, Miller addresses and reflects on his issues, seeking to become a better, more mature individual.  A perfect example of his attempt to atone for past mistakes and move forward is “Hurt Feelings,” the second track off the album.

Early on, Miller reflects on adapting to life – ‘rolling with the punches’.  On the chorus he asserts, “I’m always sayin’ I won’t change but / I ain’t the same / Everything is different, I can’t complain.”  He goes on to say he’s moved on from getting high to “gettin’ paid,” focusing on music.  For Miller, focusing on the thing that propelled him to success, music, and the fruits of his labors, money, seem to be a fix.  Notably, he mentions Whitney Houston on the first verse in passing, given her struggles with substances. 

The end of the second verse is where the honest, yet troubling opening line hails from, clearly finding Miller attempting to face his demons as opposed to running from them.  Prior to that, he offers the thoughtful lyric, “Turn the power off and get your water from the spring.” Sadly, despite his attempts to live better, the talented Pittsburgh rapper is no longer with us. Even so, his music lives on.

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About The Curator - Brent Faulkner

Brent Faulkner - Music to Curator

Slightly eccentric with interests that seem to know no ends, restless ‘Renaissance Man’ is the best way to characterize Brent Faulkner, a native of Kentucky.  A certified music educator, multi-instrumentalist, and composer known for his incredibly sharp ear, he lives and breathes music of a variety of styles.  In addition to passion for educating, performing, and writing music, he’s equally passionate blogging and writing about it, managing his own site, The Musical Hype ( When he’s not intensely analyzing music, you can find him reading or watching a movie, reality television or some sporting event.