“That’s Life” by 88-Keys (ft. Sia & Mac Miller)
To begin with, “That’s Life” is an autobiographical/philosophical piece. The lyrics gives us an intimate look into the life of the late Mac Miller, specifically in relation to the subjects of women, fame, drug abuse and, as the title suggests, life in general. And what it all ultimately seems to boil down to is that the rapper finds it “so hard to stay sober” amongst the many stresses he faces in life, despite occasionally finding respite via intimate encounters with women. Moreover he approaches this disposition from a macrocosmic perspective. In other words, he sympathizes with all people dealing with “problems” who resort to drug intake as a form of relief. But he understands that such is not the ideal way to conduct himself and thus questions, in a hypothetical sense, what other actions can be taken instead in terms of dealing with life’s inevitable depressions.
You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for 88-Keys's That’s Life at Lyrics.org.
Meanwhile Sia’s conclusion to the track seems as if it were written in light of Mac Miller’s fatal drug overdose. FYI, Miller’s tragic death occurred less than a year ago before the track’s release. And in that regard, Sia presents herself as a friend who is willing to “take all” of the singer’s “pain”, since “drugs… don’t fill the hole”, i.e. the void that exists in his life due to depression. So more specifically, instead of resorting to these dangerous substances, she wishes the rapper had instead “picked up the phone” and given her a shoutout at times he was feeling lonely. Overall she understands that he had a pessimistic outlook on life but wishes he had done more to seek “the truth”.
So in summation, in “That’s Life” Mac Miller portrays an (autobiographical) character who is successful and famous alright but still depressed and seeking relief through drug abuse. Meanwhile Sia is a concerned loved one who wishes he had reached out to her as opposed to taking this route.
Facts about “That’s Life”
88-Keys actually credits Mac Miller with being the originator of the song’s concept. This was after the two of them had a lengthy conversation “about relationships”.
Mac recorded his portion while he and 88 shared studio time together in New York City in February 2015. At that time, Miller was in the process of recording his third-studio album, GO:OD AM.
“That’s Life” holds the distinction of being the first track 88-Keys has dropped in 2019. As a matter of fact it was his first fresh material since 2014. He has stated that content-wise, this song “sums up the sentiments of the music I’ve been working on over the past few years”.
An earlier version of “That’s Life” actually leaked under the name “Benji the Dog” on 19 May 2019. (“Benji the Dog” was actually the name of this song’s instrumental when 88-Keys first played it for Mac Miller.) That particular version did not feature Sia, and the outro was different. But shortly after the leak, on 23 May, 88-Keys assured fans that “the finished version” would eventually follow.
Later he teased the release of the official version, again via Instagram, on 13 June.
“That’s Life” was officially released as a standalone single on 20 June 2019.
Who wrote “That’s Life”?
This song was written by the following:
- Mac Miller
- 88-Keys (who also took care of its entire production in the studio)