ALBUM REVIEW: Mac Demarco – This Old Dog

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Mac Demarco – This Old Dog

Mac Demarco has had a pension for being a pretty silly guy. Numerous on-stage antics have led to him having a pretty interesting reputation. On his albums though, he was able to turn his pension for being funny and made great music out of it. There aren’t a lot of goofy elements to this album, it’s excellently written and also played at a lot slower pace. Not to say that those earlier albums weren’t written well, but the more mature change of writing is a welcome one.

The slower cuts on this album, which there are a lot of, are all fantastic and still has my head bobbing to the lovely instrumentals. “One More Love Song” is one of my favorite tracks on the album and it contains one of my favorite choruses in Mac’s entire discography.

After all this time, it turns all you had
Is one more love out to break your heart
Set it up just to watch it fall apart
One more love out to break your heart
Set it up just to watch it fall apart

The piano on this track really adds this grandiose feeling to it that just adds to the already infectious chorus. “My Old Man” and “Sister” are pretty bare tracks for Mac Demarco standards. “My Old Man” is just an acoustic cut with some background synths. It’s simple, but extremely effective when you couple it with Mac’s lyrics about how he’s afraid that he may one day turn into his father and “Sister” is a very short tribute song to Mac’s half-sister Holly.

Uh-oh, looks like I’m seeing more of my old man in me
Oh no, looks like I’m seeing more of my old man in me

This may be a slower Mac Demarco album, but don’t be fooled. This Old Dog has some of Mac’s catchiest songs to date and possibly some of the best out of his entire catalogue. I would put songs like “Baby You’re Out”, “Still Beating”, and  “A Wolf Who Wears Sheep’s Clothes” up there with some of the best songs of this year alone! They’re all incredibly catchy while maintaining Mac’s mature lyrical tone. The use of a harmonica “A Wolf Who Wears Sheep’s Clothes” is just incredible and “Still Beating” feels like it could have been on Salad Days . That’s a good thing too!

Finally, let’s talk about “Moonlight On The River”. I singled out this track in particular because I personally believe that it is favorite Mac Demarco song at the moment. A 7-minute track that is very similar to “My Old Man” in where Mac discusses his father, but this time he confesses that he truly misses him. The track is really beautiful when you consider what Mac is saying. The moonlight is essentially where everybody in Mac’s life leaves, so when he says:

I’m home, with moonlight on the river, saying my goodbyes
I’m home, there’s moonlight on the river, everybody dies

He’s talking about how everybody in his life will eventually die, including his father, which is a bit of consolation for him. It really is a great song  and is a nice little bit of duality to “My Old Man”.

If you couldn’t tell, I absolutely adore this album. There are flaws, of course, but these are more personal gripes. I think that while “Moonlight On The River” is an incredible song, but I think it’s a tad bit too long. If he shaved about a minute or two off of the track, it would have been perfect. I also feel like some of the songs can be tad repetitive.  Other than that, I think the album is fantastic. I would easily put it next to Salad Days as my favorite Mac DeMarco album.

9.6/10

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