Following Mac Miller’s untimely passing, I had assumed that a lot of posthumous works would be released. Especially considering his numerous unreleased collaborations with so many beloved artists. It looks like this might be changing. Last week, Free Nationals released “Time” featuring Mac and Kali Uchis. And now, super producer 88-Keys has made a dashing return to the spotlight with “That’s Life”. The single, featuring Mac Miller and the multi-talented Sia, is Keys’ first song in eight years.
“That’s Life” is a highly cathartic and introspective track. Specifically, Mac examines his own personal struggles and the idiosyncrasies of life. He addresses wealth and fame, which he refers to as traveling to the “other side, where the grass is always greener”. However, even though the grass may appear to be greener, his morals began to dissipate and he became number to the outside world. Mac states that he deals with this numbness through self-medication, which ultimately led to his accidental overdose. Although he was able to accomplish his goals, his quality of life never really increased. This song truly highlights the irony of living.
Sia comes in at the 2:00-minute mark to lend her vocals to the bridge, where she speaks about wishing she could have better helped Mac while he was still alive. Although this hasn’t been confirmed, it appears that Sia’s part was recorded following his death. Sia has also been quite vocal of her own struggles with mental health and the fact that she almost took her own life at one point. 88-Keys spoke on the matter, saying that he “played the song for Sia and she personally identified with the sentiments of the song and felt strongly about contributing her own thoughts on the subject matter. At the end of it all, my dear friend Mac and my new found friend Sia helped me make a song to touch the world and help many deal with adversities we’re faced with, but ‘That’s Life.’”
The entire song relays a strangely beautiful message to enjoy life, whether it be the good, the bad, or the ugly, because life is full of all three. And that life will never be better until you are able to fully address and understand your internal struggles. The cover also reflects this, as it depicts Mac Miller as a hand-drawn sun, shinning over stick figure versions of Sia and 88-Keys. Although Mac is gone from this world, he will always live through his music and will continue to shine his light. Both 88-Keys and Sia are able to come to terms with this, because, well, that’s life.
Stream the single below.