Showing posts with label mac demarco. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mac demarco. Show all posts

Sunday, April 6, 2014

video review: 'salad days' by mac demarco

Honestly, I thought I'd skip this review, but it turns out I had enough to talk about in this review.

Okay, next up... huh, not sure yet. Stay tuned, you'll see!

album review: 'salad days' by mac demarco

One of the biggest tropes in comedy is observational humour. You know the stuff, the material that fills the acts of the late George Carlin, Jerry Seinfeld, and Louis C.K.. The moment-by-moment notes about the little things in life in life that are quirky or odd or out-of-place, the things that might seem inessential until you dig into the reasons why we do them. And this sort of observational style shows up in other art as well, for obvious reasons: observing the normal world around you allows outlets to create plenty of stories, and implying depth in said stories can take elements that everyone can relate to and make them seem a lot bigger than they are.

And I'll be honest: with few exceptions, the sort of music that works through 'observational commentary' doesn't do a lot for me, especially if the tone of said music is more muted and mundane and actively seems to avoid drama. Sure, it's often effective in creating atmosphere and critics will eat this material up for its immersive factor and its relatability, but music that coasts by on mellow observations just does not interest me, especially when the 'insights' it presents aren't remotely revelatory. And that's not saying music about suburban or rural life can't be interesting - far from it, Arcade Fire, Lorde, Sun Kil Moon, and a whole slew of country artists have proven that wrong time and time again - but a slice of that sort of life without deeper commentary or insight often for me comes across as small-minded, bland, and rather pretentious.

And really, that was my first reaction when listening to Canadian singer-songwriter Mac DeMarco's debut album 2, an album that I don't really dislike but nearly puts me to sleep every time I listen to it - which, for the record, is not a good thing. Sure, the melodic progressions were interesting and the production was pretty solid, but with the too-smooth guitar tones, DeMarco's half-stoned delivery, and the lyrics that had some decent text but sparse subtext on suburban life, I just could not get invested in that record. It might not be strictly in the 'white guy with acoustic guitar' genre, but the tone and delivery of the album definitely fell into that category in trying to come across as having depth when there really wasn't much there, either through delivery or lyrics.

So why the hell did I pick up his follow-up album Salad Days? Well, call it curiosity, if you want, because buzz was suggesting this would be the album where the 'laid back bro grows up'. Now this was the same defense I heard used for the new Real Estate album, but given DeMarco's taste for weird melody lines, I had the hope that something on this record might be able to grip me - was I right?