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The third release from Mac DeMarco, a Brooklyn-via-Montreal singer/songwriter, depicts a man at a crossroads, surrounded with watershed moments and letters from home. The road previous was a laidback guitar-driven daydream, silly yet stunning, how the man could create without seemingly wanting to. This alluring ambivalence is one of DeMarco’s defining traits. He’s a gap-toothed prankster who previously sang a sighing love ballad to his favorite brand of cigarettes (“Ode To Viceroy”), and was first recognized for his Elvis-like impersonation (Rock and Roll Night Club EP).

Similar to Real Estate’s Atlas, Salad Days captures the calm kid growing up, with inner conflicts boiling to the surface nonchalantly. The themes of isolation and homesickness are spliced with the advice of loved ones, assuring that love and fame are fleeting.

The title track undercuts its narrator’s worries about aging, alluding to the inconvenient truth of the worrier’s youth. The single “Passing Out Pieces” crystallizes his on-off love affair with fame — “Watching my life, passing right in front of my eyes/ Hell of a story, oh is it boring?” — and the industry – “Can’t claim to care, never been reluctant to share/ Passing out pieces of me, don’t you know nothing comes free?” The penultimate “Go Easy” suggests concern for the girlfriend left behind, but its lyrical non sequitur — “You built it up, just to knock it down” — a common critique of the press that loves him, speaks to his uneasy relationship with it. Like his previous work, Salad Days is just a unique, no-big-deal record from a man who wants it that way.

  • Album: Salad Days
  • Artist: Mac DeMarco
  • Label: Captured Tracks
  • Songs: (1) "Salad Days" (2) "Blue Boy" (3) "Brother" (4) "Let Her Go" (5) "Goodbye Weekend" (6) "Let My Baby Stay" (7) "Passing Out Pieces" (8) "Treat Her Better" (9) "Chamber of Reflection" (10) "Go Easy" (11) "Jonny's Odyssey"
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