April 03, 2014

Mac DeMarco - Salad Days

Mac DeMarco’s long-awaited second full-length LP, Salad Days, was released April 1st under Captured Tracks.

In the course of just two years following the release of Rock and Roll Night Club, Mac DeMarco has faced a very quick rise to fame. His music, often portraying his lifestyle in the form of ambiguous lyrics and very laid-back vibes, has quickly earned him a large fan-base. DeMarco, the Brooklyn-based Canadian goofball with a history of crazy stage presence and wild antics, has made his return this month.

Mac DeMarco’s long-awaited second full-length LP, Salad Days, was released April 1st under Captured Tracks, the label he has released his previous work on. It has already been coined “Best New Music” by Pitchfork and captivated old fans and new listeners alike.

DeMarco’s signature mellow and undeniably catchy style continues to shine through in this album as it had with Rock and Roll Night Club and 2, while also showing a new side. Salad Days takes a slightly different direction than previous material and delves into some themes with more depth and maturity than in the past. Mac DeMarco had mentioned in a cover story with Pitchfork that he was ready to quit writing songs about nothing, and he managed to do so with Salad Days.

While Salad Days manages to keep Mac DeMarco’s distinct style of light-hearted tunes and relaxing instrumentals, it also conveys a deeper message than anything heard before in his material. “As I’m getting older, chip up on my shoulder, rolling through life to roll over and die”, begins Mac in title track “Salad Days”, already cluing listeners into what is to come next.

The album certainly has a bit of a darker tone to it, but never feels too heavy, a skill DeMarco has perfected.

“Let Her Go” exemplifies that idea as it carefully conveys an important message while never weighing the listener down. He wisely sings that you should “tell her that you love her, if you really love her. But when you’re heart just ain’t sure, let her go”, juxtaposed with his final statement, “or you can keep her. It’s okay. It’s up to you”.

On what could be considered the heaviest track of the album, “Passing Out Pieces”, DeMarco sings, “what mom don’t know has taken its toll on me. It’s all I’ve seen that can’t be wiped clean”, a statement that follows the reflective theme seen on Salad Days while keeping a chill, laid-back sound in the music.

Track nine, “Chamber of Reflection” is one song on the album that strays the most from the typical Mac DeMarco sound. This track is easily the one that went farthest from his usual style while still managing to flawlessly evoke the melancholy feeling that comes when you “spend some time alone”.

As the album comes to a close, “Jonny’s Odyssey” puts the listener into a pensive trance filled with calm instrumentals. After fading into quiet, Mac DeMarco makes a final appearance addressing the listeners thanking them for listening and promising a return, leaving us satisfied and excited for what’s yet to come.

Salad Days is the strongest thing we’ve heard yet from the goofy yet talented 23-year-old musician and really shows a new side to him. We see him take a step back from his previous songwriting about silly antics and cigarette smoking and enter a new realm of music filled with advice and reflection. While doing so, we still never lose the calm and laid-back tone that brought listeners to him in the first place.

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