Mac DeMarco is known for a few things: his loving gap-toothed grin, his wacky style and his ability to produce carefree rock music filled with precision and emotive melody, despite the sound's lazy aura. His third studio album, This Old Dog, offers lyrical advice for life's daily confusion while staying true to the singer's easygoing philosophy.
On This Old Dog, DeMarco demonstrates growth from the hazy guitar playing of his past two studio albums as the music gives fans a deeper look into the singer's life. The album opens with "My Old Man," a track showcasing DeMarco's bitter realization that he sees more and more of his absentee, alcoholic father in himself each day.
Unlike previous albums, DeMarco greatly relies on synthesizers. This is best seen on "For the First Time," an eclectic soft rock ballad where DeMarco's grief is somehow hidden behind a jazzy composition that, oddly enough, produces a feel-good melody for a song about lost love.
His music offers mature lyricism that forces his audience to contemplate the mundane matters of their lives. Unlike the aggression and hostility seen in rap or rock music, DeMarco welcomes the uncomfortable feelings in life with a grace so inspiring that his music provides solace for those who feel lost.
DeMarco has always been the type of artist who allows his personality to bleed into his music. His decision to open up the release with such heavy subject matter showcases his honesty. The laid-back 27-year-old is surprisingly pensive and willing to show it. Much of the album is inspired by DeMarco's reconnection with his father, who was recently diagnosed with cancer.
The reappearance of DeMarco's father in his adulthood is likely puzzling to the artist. On "Watching Him Fade Away," DeMarco — in his tender John Lennon-esque voice — sings, "And even though we barely know each other/ It still hurts watching him fade away, watching him fade away." As a peaceful conclusion to the album, the song conveys a confusion that those who grew up with absent or toxic parents can relate to.
Through simple melodies and extremely sentimental music, DeMarco showcases an enhanced ability to connect with his listeners. His songs have appeal beyond their lyricism because they move the listener with themes of love, family and heartbreak. On This Old Dog, you will not only feel DeMarco's soul, but better understand your own feelings as well.