“Come Back to Earth” by Mac Miller, is the first song on the Swimming album. This 13 song album covers Mac’s many different emotions as he enters a new chapter in his life. A new and different approach from his previous two albums GO:OD AM and The Divine Feminine where he sings about lust and lavishness in life and his girlfriend at the time Ariana Grande. While the entire album is composed of swimming and self-care metaphors, because it is the introduction song to the album it highlights these focal points all within 3 minutes. This song expresses the desire for self-acceptance through an episode of depression.
The swimming metaphor is presented in the verse, “And I was drownin’, but now I’m swimming/ Through stressful waters to relief”. These two lines represent Mac Miller metaphorically regaining the ability to hold his head above water now and stabilize himself. “Stressful waters” represents life around him, while “relief” is supposed to be self-acceptance. In reality, the “relief” Mac Miller is speaking about is using and abusing drugs. Using the word “swimming” implies that he is en route to somewhere/something and in this case is a better mindset that he is actively working, or swimming, towards. But just because he says he is “swimming” doesn’t mean he actually is, following the previous metaphor he writes, “And what I won’t tell you/ I’ll prolly never even tell myself”. This line is Mac Miller writing about how deeply hurt he is but also a refusal to recognize it. Then after in the bridge he says, “They told me it only gets better” which is what everyone tells people with depression but also people who just went through a breakup. The tone of his voice conveys that he does not trust what these people are saying and that it is going to hurt like this forever. This tone is further echoed in the chorus.
The chorus of the song, “My regrets look just like texts I shouldn’t send/ And I got neighbors, they’re more like strangers/ we could be friends” is evident of the personal insecurities he feels with depression. Mac Miller and Ariana Grande’s split is influential to the first line of the chorus because this album came out only two months after their break-up. These regretful texts are being sent to either Ariana or his drug dealer (or both). The end of the chorus, “I just need a way out of my head/ I’ll do anything for a way/ Out of my head” is about how he is using drugs to escape his emotional issues sinking him further into a depression. Unfortunately, this chorus is a foreshadow to his death the following month.
The album’s beats cover up the simplistic yet depressing lyrics about Mac Miller’s relationship with himself and his outlook on life. Even though “Come Back to Earth” is the shortest on the album, it ultimately sets the stage for the story of the album which is Mac Miller’s journey to self-acceptance despite substance abuse and emotional setbacks.