Behind The Album Artwork for
‘Watching Movies With The Sound Off’

When Mac Miller released his sophomore album that Pitchfork called “a quantum leap in artistry” from 2011’s ‘Blue Slide Park’, the album artwork reflected the sonic progression in artistic depth.

The cover had two editions, the explicit one only covering a nude Miller with a parental advisory sticker. Speaking to Vice, Miller stated the following -

“There’s a bunch of different things in there, but that’s one of them for sure. There’s a lot of layers. The whole record has a lot of layers. On the first listen you might think that it’s really personal. But if you listen a few more times you might find a few more ideas in there that you might not have found the first time. It’s all about layers, but layers within ones self. I love the cover. It turned out perfectly. There’s definitely a lot of symbolism in there. But for now, I’m going to let the fans go in there and talk about what it means.”

As with many of Mac’s album covers, the design was kept in house. In fact, the cover was shot by his mother Karen Meyers, and designed by his older brother Miller McCormick.

“It’s great to do that with my family, because my mom gets excited. You know, no one takes a better picture of you than your mother.” - Mac Miller for Clash

The covers meaning was deliberately ambiguous, Miller wanting the audience to interpret the album for themselves. Speaking to Clash, he stated the apple reflected the fact he went through a period of only eating the fruit, as well as having a Biblical implication with his nudity. The nudity too hinted to the personal feel of the songwriting, stating to Noisey that much of the process was “finding the inspiration inside of myself”.

The red background for the shot seemingly referenced the studio, which he compared to an ‘opium den’ - completely closed off with red lighting. He would only record at daytime for the lighter songs on the album. The flower and cherub are less clear, although some have proposed they reflected the influences on Miller’s mind state of femininity and love.

Words by Fintan Fox.

All images Mac Miller.