ALBUM: Salad Days
ARTIST: Mac DeMarco
Increasing in popularity with his charming gap tooth smile and a lingering stench of insouciance, Mac DeMarco is not an artist who is quite frankly concerned about chart topping or making an album concerning the thoughts of indie pop perfection. DeMarco is an artist trying to make his music: authentic Mac DeMarco tunes. And this is why people love him. This is why the crowds at his concerts are expanding and more of the public is becoming interested. With his third album, Salad Days, Mac DeMarco has compiled a list of songs that fit his comical lethargic vibes. The sound still truly speaks to his signature aesthetic with wonky guitar bits and dizzying synth parts, but also the content is more personal. The audience is starting to see views of DeMarco that are new and individual, only adding to the appeal of his new album as the listener feels like he or she is experiencing something that was not written for their ear, yet is accessible simultaneously.
There are no ironic ballads about cigarettes on Salad Days, but songs that are homier. Songs about DeMarco’s girlfriend and his fear of getting old and growing up. Songs about treating a girl right. Songs about losing a part of yourself. Songs about freemasonry. There is a plethora of topics that Mac covers that is not only understandable and honest, but also simplistically sage. They are songs written about things that every person should relate to in a way that either (1) they have thought about or (2) is a common sensical notion that society should live by. The lyrics are pretty basic and blunt, but that is what makes them sort of brilliant. Mac DeMarco is not precisely a poet, but he’s an honest man who makes music that is easy to listen to. “Blue Boy” and “Salad Days” are tracks that almost every working American who has aged can understand. The contrast of the life struggle and anxious thoughts in these tracks against DeMarco’s soft and airy production is awesome too. One does not realize the honesty that he has put into the track until one reads the lyrics. Mac DeMarco creates this juxtaposition of insecure maturities against peculiar psychedelic and dreamy production. It is as if they are subliminal messages, but they’re not: his songs are created not to cause anxiety or for us to feel sympathy for him, his tunes are written for himself. This is an admirable aspect of Salad Days.
Some interesting aspects to look for in the album are tracks such as “Let My Baby Stay,” and “Chamber of Reflection.” The former is a beautiful song written for DeMarco’s longtime girlfriend McNally. It oozes pathos and romanticism but not to a cliché or cheesy realm. The innocent track lets the audience see Mac’s softer side and is most likely in regards to McNally’s visa stresses. The couple is originally from Canada and experienced international troubles this past year. Referencing the lyrics, “please don’t take my baby away, let my baby stay,” is not only a very real fear of deportation, but also a romantic coo for troubled love. “Chamber of Reflection,” however, is a bit of the opposite as it discusses a piece of ritual from freemasonry. It is when one is placed in a room before initiation to reflect on the man that he was and look forward to renewal. It is a peculiar topic to pinpoint, but even if one was unaware of the songs origin, the track is also an applicable song about understanding oneself. Mac DeMarco has the intriguing ability of crafting music that has such a specific or personal origin, with no intention for other than him that ends up to be enjoyable and accessible.
Mac DeMarco exposes himself in a new light on this album, but with the same production aesthetic that is, most of the time, a brilliant combination. DeMarco portrays himself as just an average guy with a guitar and a cigarette making music: simplicity that makes chill and indisputably agreeable vibes.
“Perfectionist? That’s something I am not. Fuck that.”