Canadian born Mac DeMarco seemingly came out of nowhere. There he was, a somewhat odd young guy previously known for his obscure YouTube videos (under the moniker of Makeout Videotape). It wasn’t until 2014’s sophomore album Salad Days and consecutive touring that DeMarco gained the international recognition he deserved: this talented, down to earth guy was here to stay. On his new mini-album Another One, he further establishes this claim. Self-described as “jizz jazz”, Mac DeMarco’s musical style has not changed. The honest lyrics, slow, lazy vocals and instrumentation reminiscent of the 60’s are all present. Described as a “mini LP”, seeing as it only contains eight relatively short tracks, Another One is a typical Mac DeMarco album. It’s not surprising, or a big step up from his previous albums, but his nonchalant style is unique among modern day artists and that is what makes this album refreshing and definitely worth taking your time to listen to. DeMarco does what he likes, plays it safe and it works out well.
Album opener The Way You’d Love Her is one of the most upbeat and catchy songs on the album (as upbeat as a Mac DeMarco song gets). The unusual, signature guitar work and melody almost make you believe that this is a happy song, but the lyrics set the tone for what’s to follow: “Never really got your chance to show her, what it really means to love her.” This is not an album meant to cheer you up; this is a story about loss and love in the purest sense, told in a painful but refreshingly honest way. On Another One, the sad lyrics match the music. The song addresses the insecurity you feel when you’re not sure if someone still loves you and the possibility of them falling for someone else. “And though she says she does and hasn’t lost your trust, who could there be knockin’ at her door?”
No Other Heart is another example of a song that feels happy at first, but further explores the concept of lost love on the album in a way songwriters twice his age would be jealous of. Further on, A Heart Like Hers stands out as the most bitter song on the album, with DeMarco singing lines such as “Tried so hard to believe in something that will never be, never believe in a heart like hers again”. This is definitely one of the deepest and most impressive songs he’s ever released. With four minutes, it is also the longest song on the album.
Another One is not a very dynamic or memorable record. The vocals sound lazy, and apart from the cool guitar tones the instrumentation stays rather simplistic throughout the record. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, though. Even though it doesn’t quite reach the level of Salad Days, it doesn’t have to. It’s all part of Mac DeMarco’s charm. His music carries a kind of nonchalance that works for him. He tells it how it is, without cliché metaphors and self-pity. The lyrics may be sadder than on Salad Days, but they are honest and relatable. The music is relaxing and dreamy; the repetition of phrases make you feel like you’re floating. Just to Put me Down is by no means a musical masterpiece, but its repetitiveness is infectious. Another One is an album easily accessible and relatable to people from all kinds of backgrounds, whether they are old or new listeners. Quite an accomplishment for a 25-year old. Speaking of accessibility, on the album closer, DeMarco invites his listeners to come over for a cup of coffee at his actual House by the Water in New York. Could he be any more of a chill guy?
Whether you are sitting by yourself in your room by yourself or having a BBQ with friends, with this album the soundtrack is just right. Do not expect some showcase of intense musical technique. Expect a Mac DeMarco record, a relaxing musical experience of its own. If you like Mac, you will love Another One. If not, this will not change your mind. And DeMarco does not seem to be the kind of guy that would be too bothered. Nick Heineman
Another One is out now via Captured Tracks.