Mac DeMarco - Here Comes The Cowboy

3.5/10

Favorite Track: "Nobody" Least Favorite Track: "Finally Alone"


Coming off of what In my opinion was his best written project yet ; (2017’s This Old Dog), I was expecting a lot from this new album from Canadian singer-songwriter Mac DeMarco. I have always loved Mac’s goofty public persona and his positive and euphoric, brand of Indie and slacker rock, but he has always remained sort of this enigma of missed potential in my eyes. I always thought the quality of music Mac has put out has never been up to par with how far I feel he could push the appeal of his style. In other words I feel as if I’ve always wanted to LOVE Mac’s music but could never force myself into doing just that. This is in the mindset that was lingering within my subconscious as I plunged into his new record ; Here Comes The Cowboy. Notably, this is DeMarco’s first album released independently. Mac and his label went their separate ways after rumors regarding some friction with DeMarco’s creative direction and the vision of his label occured. This isn’t a surprising thing to discover considering that this album is very different from anything DeMarco has put out thus far in his career. This album is way more dark and much more dismal than anything I could have ever dreamt we would hear from Mac DeMarco. The sort of calm, laid back, and moody ascetic is certainly new ground for him. However, for the most part it really missed the mark for me. If the ascetic he was moving toward was more of this dreamy, and minimalistic one, he could of executed it in so many different ways that would have been ten times more interesting than this one because the bulk of this album is simply painstakingly boring. From the instrumentals, to the tunes, to the melodies ; all painstakingly boring. Now this album is not a heavy listen. I could see it going over okay as background music or honestly even something to fall asleep to but outside of something in that niche this record is very lacking. I think I somewhat understand his direction with the core of this project as it remains pretty clear and consistent throughout. He wanted something a little more lo-fi and maybe had hopes of experimenting in the lo-fi or slowcore genres, but he does so with very little character, and it results with this album coming off as completely sleepy and completely forgettable. I think the intro track really serves the rest of the record justice as is it simply three minutes of Mac muttering the words “here comes the cowboy” over the same acoustic chord and what sounds like someone hitting the rim of a snare drum. If this was really where Mac wanted to go, if he really felt the need to use this as the intro to his album, maybe for some kind of textual or conceptual clarity that I just might be missing ; why did he have to make it three minutes long? If you are going to loop the same thing over and over again for three minutes, can’t the same exact emotional, or conceptual concept be delivered in like thirty seconds? I truly might be missing what he was attempting to do with this track as the music video suggests that there is at least some kind of idea behind it, but in general the song is just about as sleepy as the rest of the record. Vocally a change of pace on this album for Mac comes with how he goes into his higher register much more often and in a much higher fashion than he ever has before; it doesn’t work. He goes out of his range far too much on this project for someone who has been making music for as long as he has and has had as much success as he has. I would go over the tracklist in its entirety but the majority of the tracks here are so damn forgettable. Some of the only kind of any instrumental flavor we get on the record is on the build to the chorus on “All of our yesterdays”. It’s really the only time a track on this album has any kind of true progression and doesn’t sound like Mac bought a looper pedal at Guitar Center four days prior and decided to throw together an album while experimenting with it. “Choo Choo” is another example of everything wrong with this project. I’m not sure if the song was meant as a joke but it just comes off extremely annoying and either way ; it’s terrible. Much like the intro, the track is compiled of the words “choo choo” for its almost three minute runtime. Was the track meant as an interlude or a joke? I don't know, but if he is attempting to make music of substance that his listeners find enjoyable than this isn’t going to get the job done because I truly can't picture anyone getting anything out of this song. Here Come The Cowboy is boring, lackluster, and the last thing I expected to hear from Mac DeMarco. This album truly sounds like there was absolutely no effort put into it, but at the end of the day Mac has proved time and time again that Mac does what Mac wants and if wants to continue in this minimalistic direction, I'm expecting him to do so.

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