1. He drops these lines at the end of the first verse of “REMember” (stylized after the initials of recently departed friend), “You had a girl, I kinda wish you knocked her up / So I could meet your son and talk you up,” a few lines, which are simple and effective and easily the hardest-hitting on the album. Of course, Mac Miller being a joke, he fucks himself over immediately afterwards by starting the second verse with “It’s a dark science, when your friends start dying / Like how could he go? He was part lion.”
2. He drops this impressive line on “Avian” (really nice piano loop!), “Auction off your grandfather’s watch from the Holocaust.” But he has no idea what to do with it, and like the previous point, he knows he has to rhyme something with “Holocaust,” so once he’s figured that out, he’ll make a line around it. And true enough, the preceding line is “I’m not your conscience, you nuts? Almonds and Häagen-Dazs,” and the whatever gravitas he was going for with the Holocaust line is thrown out the window. It’s a clever line in a sea of shit.
3. The two songs that Earl Sweatshirt supplies beats for are unrelentingly dull, like b-sides to Doris. And why would we be surprised? Mac Miller was always like a less-enthusiastic, more-stoned, less-skilled and less-emotional Earl. I mean, check out his attempt to be MF DOOM in “I’m Not Real”: “I don’t exist, hieroglyphics / Pyrotechnics, metaphysics / Telekinetics…” What does it mean? Not a damn thing, other than the fact that Miller has access to rhymezone.ca. (The song could’ve been saved by letting Earl have a proper verse. Oh well.)
4. Okay, so now that I think I’ve established that Mac Miller isn’t a good rapper, you gotta give this guy credit. I mean, he somehow moved 100,000 copies of this album on its first week of release despite the fact that it came out on the same day as Kanye West’s Yeezus (which is obviously better) and J. Cole’s Born Sinner (which is less obviously better). Of course, he also called in every single favour he had. The entire West Coast shows up here (including two members of the Odd Future collective, two members of the Black Hippy crew, Flying Lotus and Flying Lotus’ female friend, Niki Randa), as well as one or more of your non-West internet heroes: Jay Electronica, Clams Casino and Action Bronson.
In other words, at its best, Watching Movies With the Sound Off succeeds through sheer sound and/or star-power (ie. the aforementioned “Avian”; “Watching Movies”; the Flying Lotus-produced “S.D.S.”; maaaybe “Bird Call”, where Clams Casino pulls drums out of Little Richard’s “The Rill Thing” and makes one of the more banging songs on the album; “I Am Who Am (Killin’ Time),” where Niki Randa provides a gorgeous backdrop, and “Suplexes Inside of Complexes and Duplexes,” whose beat sounds like the rusted equipment of a haunted playground).
5. The other song that Clams Casino produces (“Youforia”) is all reverb, static, electronic drums and singing. Which is nice for the first minute or so.