The first few lyrics from slack-rocker Mac DeMarco’s latest album, Salad Days, are bleak, to say the least. He laments that “Salad days are gone / Missin’ hippy Jon / Rememberin’ things just to tell ‘em so long,” and generally echoes a sentiment that many graduating seniors are feeling: Life is passing us by, and all we can do is wonder what the hell happened.
For fans of De Marco’s glazed-over brand of rock, Salad Days sounds like a somber, more world-weary DeMarco. His previous project, 2012’s 2, bristled with lyrical tales of suburban weirdness set to funky guitars and a thrumming bass line, acting as the funky, poppy companion to a David Lynch film.
This time around, the focus is on both begrudgingly growing up and outright rejecting the notion; each track reinforces the sense that things are simply not the same anymore and that there is no way to make heads or tails of it. From internal strife about love — on “Let Her Go,” he realizes that it isn’t worth it if “your heart just ain’t sure” — to full-on bewilderment toward where his life has gone, “passing out pieces” as he watches it fly by.
DeMarco’s trademark laid-back style, however, remains a high point of Salad Days. His music has a groovy, 70s-era vibe that shines through on this album. One welcome addition to his repertoire of tricks is a backing organ, providing divine sounds for our listening pleasure on several tracks, including “Passing out Pieces” and “Chamber of Reflection.”
Calling Salad Days a more “mature” album than his previous ones simply won’t cut it — DeMarco sees maturity on the horizon, knows its coming, but can’t bring himself to face it just yet. It’s a beautiful ponderance on a scary topic, and it’s worth giving a listen.
Contact Youssef Shokry at [email protected].