Watching Movies with the Sound Off

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Watching Movies with the Sound Off
Mac Miller Watching Movies With The Sound Off Cover.jpg
Studio album by Mac Miller
Released June 18, 2013
Recorded 2012–13
Genre Hip hop
Length 61:36
Label
Producer
Mac Miller chronology
Macadelic
(2012)Macadelic2012
Watching Movies with the Sound Off
(2013)
Delusional Thomas
(2013)Delusional Thomas2013
Clean version cover
Mac Miller Watching Movies With The Sound Off Clean Cover.jpg
Singles from Watching Movies with the Sound Off
  1. "S.D.S."
    Released: April 22, 2013
  2. "Watching Movies"
    Released: May 25, 2013
  3. "Goosebumpz"
    Released: May 28, 2013

Watching Movies with the Sound Off is the second studio album by American rapper Mac Miller. The album was released June 18, 2013, by Rostrum Records in the United States. The album continues his changes in his musical sound that he began with the mixtape Macadelic. Mac Miller has described the album as very introspective and very personal. The album features guest appearances from Earl Sweatshirt, Ab-Soul, Action Bronson, Schoolboy Q, Jay Electronica and Tyler, The Creator among others. Production was handled primarily by Miller himself (under the pseudonym Larry Fisherman) among others such as Diplo, Tyler, The Creator, Flying Lotus, The Alchemist, Clams Casino, Earl Sweatshirt, J. Hill, Chuck Inglish and Pharrell Williams.

The album was supported by three singles, "S.D.S.", "Watching Movies" and "Goosebumpz", which peaked at number 41, 33, and 43 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs respectively. The album received generally positive reviews from critics, which praised his new psychedelic hip hop influence and improved lyricism. The album also fared well commercially debuting at number three on the Billboard 200, selling 102,000 copies in its first week of sale.

Background[edit]

On October 14, 2012, Miller announced that his second album, Watching Movies with the Sound Off, would be released in early 2013.[1][2] The album title is derived from Miller's habit of making music in the studio while watching films on mute.[citation needed] When speaking of the album Miller said that it is "very introspective and very personal so it's kind of throwing it all out there and seeing what happens."[3]

The album's cover artwork was released via Mac Miller's website on May 8, 2013. The cover art features Miller sitting nude at a table, his convenient placement of the "Parental Advisory" avoiding any indecent exposure. The minimalistic cover has an apple sitting on the table, a flower-bearing ornament, and a golden cherub hanging from the ceiling.[4] The cover art was designed by Miller McCormick. Complex ranked the cover at number 21 on their list of best album covers of 2013.[5]

Recording and production[edit]

Mac Miller was the album's primary record producer, under his pseudonym Larry Fisherman.

Miller has estimated that he has recorded over 400 songs during the process of making the album.[6] The majority were recorded in his home studio at his house in Los Angeles, California.[7] On September 1, 2012, Miller released another free song called "PlaneCarBoat" which features West Coast rapper Schoolboy Q and was produced by himself.[citation needed]

Mac Miller originally confirmed features on the album to include Schoolboy Q, Earl Sweatshirt, Ab-Soul, Cam'ron, Tyler, The Creator, Action Bronson, Casey Veggies, Kid Cudi, Gucci Mane and Loaded Lux.[8][6][9] Miller and Schoolboy Q recorded nine songs during the album's recording process, of which only one made the album.[8] He told MTV that Stephen "Thundercat" Bruner of Suicidal Tendencies and Snoop Dogg would perform the outro on the album.[10] The track listing was released on May 25, 2013, and revealed guest appearances on the album to include Earl Sweatshirt, Ab-Soul, Action Bronson, Schoolboy Q, Jay Electronica, Tyler, The Creator, Loaded Lux, Vinny Radio and Niki Randa.[11] Mac Miller said Jay Electronica's verse would be the last addition to the album, as he had received the verse only two hours before he was set to master the album.[12]

This is the first album where Mac Miller self-produced a large chunk of it under his alias Larry Fisherman. He said he was very self-conscious of his production on the album.[2] The album's production was also handled by Pharrell Williams, Chuck Inglish, The Alchemist, Clams Casino, Earl Sweatshirt, Tyler, The Creator, Flying Lotus, J. Hill and Diplo among others.[10][6][13][14][15]

Release and promotion[edit]

In late 2012, Mac Miller confirmed an early 2013 release date for the album.[16] In a March 1, 2013, interview with MTV, Miller announced that he was close to finishing the album and that he would be releasing music videos in a few weeks.[10] In late March 2013 Mac Miller announced a release date of either May or June 2013, and said that the album was one song away from completion. He turned the album in to the label in late April 2013.[17] On May 2, he announced via Ustream and Twitter that the album would be released on, June 18, 2013.[18]

Odd Future sub-group The Internet accompanied Mac Miller as his live band, for the duration of The Space Migration Tour.

Miller released an iTunes exclusive EP entitled You under the name Larry Lovestein & The Velvet Revival on November 21, 2012.[19] Soon after he announced his plans to release 92 Til Infinity with DJ Jazzy Jeff in early 2013 prior to the release of Watching Movies with the Sound Off. However this release and his EP with Pharrell would be delayed till after the album.[20] On March 4, 2013, Miller released a new mixtape solely featuring instrumentals made by himself titled Run-On Sentences Vol. 1 under his production alias "Larry Fisherman".[21] All these projects were released in promotion of the album.

Tours[edit]

Mac Miller announced his headlining The Space Migration Tour on May 7, 2013. The tour consisted of supporting acts Chance the Rapper, Earl Sweatshirt, Action Bronson, The Internet, Vince Staples, Meek Mill and newly signed artists of Mac Miller new record label REMember Music. The tour began on June 25, 2013, and ran through July 18, 2013.[22] Chance, Vince Staples and The Internet were featured on every date while the other acts made guest appearances on select shows.[23] Recordings of 14 songs performed during the tour and five previously unreleased tracks from the recording sessions for Watching Movies with the Sound Off was released as his first live album, Live from Space, on December 17, 2013.[24][25]

On December 18, 2012, Lil Wayne announced that he would go on a European tour with Mac Miller and 2 Chainz during March 2013, in promotion of his tenth studio album, I Am Not a Human Being II and 2 Chainz and Mac Miller's albums. Later, on March 5, 2013, Wayne stated that the tour would be postponed until October 2013, in order for him to prepare better and to be able to fully promote his album.[26] The tour featured 15 performances in 10 different countries over the month.[27]

Singles[edit]

On March 9, 2013, he announced that the first single from Watching Movies with the Sound Off would be "S.D.S.". He premiered a snippet of the song on the second episode of his reality show. The song is produced by Flying Lotus.[28] Then on April 21, Miller announced that he would be releasing the song on April 23, 2013, and music video the following day.[29] The song peaked at number 41 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[30]

On May 4, 2013, Mac Miller announced on Twitter that the second single off the album would be titled "Watching Movies" and produced by himself along with SAP.[13] Three days later, Mac Miller confirmed that the track would be premiered on May 9, 2013.[31] Later that month on May 25, the song was released for digital download.[32] Then the song's music video was released on June 14, 2013.[33] "Goosebumpz" produced by Diplo would be released as the album's third single on May 28, 2013.[34] "Goosebumpz" peaked at number 43 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[30]

On June 25, 2013, the music video was released for "Objects in the Mirror".[35] Then on July 8, 2013, the music video was released for "Gees" featuring Schoolboy Q.[36] Two weeks later, the music video was released for "I Am Who Am (Killin Time)" featuring Niki Randa.[37] "The Star Room" received video treatment, being premiered on October 2, 2013.[38] The video for "Youforia" followed later that month.[39] Then on February 15, 2014, the music video was released for "Avian".[40]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
AnyDecentMusic? 6.9/10[41]
Metacritic 73/100[42]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[43]
Consequence of Sound C+[44]
Entertainment Weekly B[45]
Exclaim! 8/10[46]
HipHopDX 4/5[47]
NME 7/10[48]
Pitchfork 7/10[49]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[50]
The Source 4/5[51]
XXL 4/5 (XL)[52]

Watching Movies with the Sound Off received generally positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 73, based on 17 reviews.[42] David Renshaw of NME said, "It's hard not to notice that the production outshines the delivery, with Pharrell and Diplo beats topped only by the slick 'SDS' courtesy of Brainfeeder boss Flying Lotus. At least it all diverts attention from that naked album cover, mind."[48] David Jeffries of AllMusic stated, "Without the hooks or the lofty lyrics, the album seems made exclusively for Miller's fans or those who right-click indie rap mixtape links on the daily. Those audiences should find it an interesting trip, admirable artistic growth, and an attractive, entertaining step in the right direction. Others will likely be flummoxed."[43]

Sean Ryon of XXL commented saying, "Despite the disparity of styles, the album's sequencing affords it a greater sense of cohesion. Listeners will have little trouble transition between the booming "Watching Movies" and more subdued affairs like "Suplexes Inside of Complexes And Duplexes". This is due to Mac's excellent production throughout as Larry Fisherman."[52] Nick Catucci of Rolling Stone stated, "On Watching Movies, he tosses in a chain saw: punch-drunk slow-and-arty beats he produced with Diplo, Flying Lotus and his pal Earl Sweatshirt. The often mesmerizing production may be a crafty way of distancing himself from Cheesy Mac, the party rapper responsible for the irresistible bro-down "Donald Trump"."[50]

Kyle Anderson of Entertainment Weekly said, ""Objects in the Mirror" and "Aquarium" are surprisingly self-reflective, but the dumb-fun party jams are half as infectious as before, and twice as misogynistic."[45] Chayne Japal of Exclaim! stated, "Mac Miller emphatically joins a higher tier of rap artists with Watching Movies, an effort that at once silences his detractors and rewards his faithful following."[46] Mike Madden of Consequence of Sound stated that, "Watching Movies is Miller's most enduring, and endearing, project yet. I won't be worried if he decides to overhaul his sound again someday – I trust his artistic acumen now – but it would be nice to see him run with the aesthetic he found here."[44] Craig Jenkins of Pitchfork said, "Watching Movies with the Sound Off is a quantum leap in artistry, but it's not without faults; the album's about three songs too long, and a couple of the tracks in the back end just plain run together."[49]

Accolades[edit]

Closing out the year, Watching Movies with the Sound Off was named to multiple "Albums of the Year" lists by major publications. Complex ranked the album number 12 on their list of the 50 best albums of 2013. They commented saying, "Mac's greatest asset isn't his bars, it's his songwriting. When he actually moves away from the dusty, MF Doomy, Stones-Throwish beats that dominate the album, he not only diversifies his sound, he hits his full stride."[53] The album was also named a runner-up for Album of the Year at the 2013 HipHopDX Year End Awards. They elaborated saying, "Mac moved geographically and spiritually, and he also moved units. He wasted no time entrenching himself in the Left Coast music scene—primarily through his work with Odd Future members Earl Sweatshirt and The Internet."[54]

Rolling Stone positioned it at number 19 on their list of the 20 best hip hop albums of the year. They commented saying, "Mac Miller surprised critics and fans alike with his experimental Album Two. The plucky Pittsburgh MC culled influences from everyone from Flying Lotus to Schoolboy Q, while showcasing his own brand of dusty, space-funk-influenced production."[55] It was ranked at number 14 on XXL's list of the best albums of 2013. They elaborated saying, "Along with several guest appearances from Ab-Soul to Earl Sweatshirt and Action Bronson, Miller improved lyrically as he bridged the gap between hip-hop and party anthems with records such as "Gees" and "The Star Room", which displayed a much more strikingly viewpoint of an independent hip-hop artist."[56] HipHopDX deemed it one of the top 25 albums of 2013 saying, "Mac Miller went far left for his 2013 effort. He credits a lot of the sonics to his own personal tastes, growth and a lot of time with Odd Future offshoots, The Internet. He mixed the same early bravado and experimentation from his debut into an album that didn't so much push the envelope as rip up the envelope and throw all of his influences in a blender."[57]

Commercial performance[edit]

In its first week of release, Watching Movies with the Sound Off sold 102,000 copies in the United States, debuting at number three on the Billboard 200 chart.[58] In its second week, the album sold 23,000 more copies bringing its total album sales to 125,000.[59] In its third week, the album sold 13,000 more copies.[60] In its fourth week, the album sold 10,000 more copies.[61] As of September 2015, the album has sold 250,000 copies in the United States.[62]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s)[63] Length
1. "The Star Room" randomblackdude 4:35
2. "Avian"
  • McCormick
  • Eric Dan
  • Jeremy Kulousek
  • Zach Vaughan
Larry Fisherman 3:16
3. "I'm Not Real" (featuring Earl Sweatshirt)
  • McCormick
  • Kgositsile
randomblackdude 3:23
4. "S.D.S."
Flying Lotus 3:04
5. "Bird Call"
Clams Casino 2:08
6. "Matches" (featuring Ab-Soul)
ID Labs 2:58
7. "I Am Who Am (Killin’ Time)" (featuring Niki Randa)
  • McCormick
  • Niki Randa
  • Alex Lipinski
AdoTheGod 5:01
8. "Objects in the Mirror"
Pharrell Williams 4:19
9. "Red Dot Music" (featuring Action Bronson)
The Alchemist 6:07
10. "Gees" (featuring Schoolboy Q) Chuck Inglish 2:55
11. "Watching Movies"
  • McCormick
  • Jonathan King
  • SAP
  • Larry Fisherman
3:40
12. "Suplexes Inside of Complexes and Duplexes"
Larry Fisherman 2:47
13. "REMember"
  • McCormick
  • Oliver Sim
Larry Fisherman 4:28
14. "Someone Like You"
  • McCormick
  • Dan
  • Kulousek
  • Vaughan
  • James Hill
  • Nylo
4:16
15. "Aquarium"
  • McCormick
  • Merrill Garbus
  • Dan
  • Kulousek
  • Vaughan
  • Ritz Reynolds
Larry Fisherman 4:38
16. "Youforia"
  • McCormick
  • Volpe
Clams Casino 4:01
Total length: 61:36

Notes

  • "Red Dot Music" features uncredited vocals from Loaded Lux
  • "Suplexes Inside of Complexes and Duplexes" features uncredited vocals from Jay Electronica

Sample credits[63]

  • "Avian" contains a sample of "The Ellie Badge" performed by Michael Giacchino.
  • "S.D.S." contains a sample of "The Colorado Trail" performed by Dave Grusin.
  • "Matches" contains a sample of "Twin of Myself" performed by Black Moth Super Rainbow.
  • "Red Dot Music" contains a sample of "A Heart's Desire" performed by Camel.
  • "Watching Movies" contains a sample of "You Are Dead" performed by The End of Science.
  • "Remember" contains a sample of "Swept Away" performed by The xx.
  • "Someone Like You" contains a sample of "Someone Like You" performed by Nylo.
  • "Aquarium" contains a sample of "Powa" performed by Tune-Yards.
  • "Goosebumpz" contains a sample of "Bulgarian Chicks" performed by Balkan Beat Box.

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from AllMusic.[64]

  • Ab-Soul – featured artist
  • Action Bronson – featured artist
  • Jay Electronica – featured artist
  • Mac Miller – primary artist
  • Vinny Radio – primary artist
  • Niki Randa – featured artist
  • ScHoolboy Q – featured artist
  • Earl Sweatshirt – featured artist
  • Tyler, The Creator – featured artist

Charts[edit]

Release history[edit]

Regions Dates Format(s) Label(s) Edition(s) Ref.
Australia June 14, 2013
  • Standard
  • deluxe
[76]
Ireland [77]
New Zealand [78]
United Kingdom June 17, 2013 Rostrum Records [79]
Germany June 18, 2013
  • Rostrum Records
  • Universal Music
[80]
United States Rostrum Records [81]
Canada [82]

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