Song of the Week
The song “Good News” was written by Mac Miller but released posthumously in Jan. 17 2020 by Jon Brion. It can be found on his album Circles. Brion a famous singer-songwriter who had been working with Miller on the album prior to his passing. What brought me to write about this song is that Miller is one of my favorite artists and I think it is about time I pick one of his masterpieces to analyze. “Good News” doesn’t so much tell a story but is instead an abstract way of spelling out Miller’s mental state at the time of writing it. It has an overall tone of feeling tired and hopeless but not in an overwhelming way. It’s more like he is slowly drifting off into the sunset. These are the words of a man who is slowly giving up. Giving up on what, we’ll have to find out!
Verse one starts with “I spent the whole day in my head / Do a little spring cleanin’ / I’m always too busy dreaming.” He starts by admitting he spends too much time in his head, ignoring the world around him. He is looking back on his life and realizing he has a lot of regrets. This makes him feel defeated. “A lot of things I regret but I just say I forget.” This also hints at his drug addiction which was at a high point when he lost his life. Drugs are what most likely allow him to stay in his head for entire days.
The verse continues “Why does everybody need me to stay? / Oh, I hate the feelin’ / When your high but your underneath the ceilin’.” He is pretty far gone into his addiction when writing this album and he even questions why people want him to get better. Almost saying, why do you care? It is sad to think about someone on the edge of despair that’s losing all sense of emotion other then an emptiness you can feel within his words. Even the drugs can’t bring him above the ceiling anymore.
“Got the cards in my hand, I hate dealin, yeah / Get everything I need, then I’m gone / but it ain’t stealin’ / Can I get a break? / I wish that I could just get out my goddamn way / What is there to say? / There ain’t no better time than today.” In these lines he acknowledges the power he has as a celebrity and says he doesn’t even want it or have the effort to do something with it. This is a common trend for Miller as he has gone off of the public’s radar before during certain times throughout his career. This could also be referring to him not wanting to make any decisions at all and live in that oblivious drugged out state. Furthermore, He then brings the lyrics back to his drug use saying what I’m sure a lot of people tell him. You just need to wake up one day and decide to try and stop. That is the first step he can’t seem to take. He is losing hope of defeating this addiction and he doesn’t know what to do about it.
“Well maybe I’ll lay down for a little / Instead of always tryin’ to figure everything out / And all I do is say sorry / Half the time I don’t even know what I’m sayin it about.” This ends the first verse with returning to the idea of giving up. He could be saying he is just going to give into his addiction and stop trying to quite. This is extremely sad considering Circles was released after he died of a drug overdose. He is saying he would rather do the drugs and forget then remember his regrets and try to fix them. This need to forget has gotten so deep that he doesn’t remember what he is saying sorry for anymore.
The chorus is stating he thinks that people expect too much from him. He may be famous but he is allowed to make mistakes just like everybody else. “Good news, That’s all they wanna hear / No, They don’t like it when I’m down / But when I’m flyin’ Oh it makes them so uncomfortable / So different / What’s the difference?” He seems to be in a place where everyone around him is giving him negativity whether it is telling him to quite the drugs or failing at making him happy. He feels closed off from people and is looking for a few positive moments is his blips of soberness unsuccessfully. Whoever the they is he is referring to in the chorus ; Miller doesn’t feel like they actually care and that he needs to be happy for them to accept him. They are trying to change him but are getting resistance. Maybe, he thinks a little differently, who cares?
In the second verse he continues with the idea that he is tired of living in this life. “When it ain’t that bad / It could always be worse / I’m runnin’ outta gas, hardly anything left / Hope I make it home from work.” The idea of exhaustion and giving up is there but he adds in himself trying to fake it till he makes it or invalidate his own feelings. Just because something could be worse does not make it good.
“Wake up to the moon / haven’t seen the sun in a while / But I heard that the sky’s still blue, yeah / I heard they don’t talk about me too much no more / That’s the problem with a closed door.” This ends the second verse on a very low note. Miller most likely was struggling with depression during this time of his life considering his sleep schedule and the somber realism of his lyrics. People all around him are trying to help him in his addiction but all he feels is negativity towards something he thinks he has no control over. This has caused him to isolate himself and now he is reaping the consequences of said isolation.
With all of this talk of giving up and not knowing how to move forward the last and final verse shows Miller holding onto a glimmer of hope. He talks about how he will feel looking back at this time later in life and feeling good about his life in this future. This is very hard to read considering he never did get that life later on. “There’s a whole lot more for me waitin’ on the other side / I’m always wondering if it feel like summer / I know maybe I’m too late, I could make it there some other time / I’ll finally discover / That there’s a whole lot more for me waitin'” He wonders what it will feel like to be clean and looks forward to the happiness he is hoping lies ahead of him. You can see he has doubts about this and that he might be to far gone but there is that shred of hope he refuses to let go of. Overall, Miller was in a bad headspace feeling lonely and empty. Even while feeling all of this he still had hope for the future. The depressing truth of this song is hard to hear but from my perspective that is what the song is about. What do you think?