Canadians Do It Better: Mac Demarco’s 2 Is Better Than You
We’ve covered a lot of ground here this year. You learned that I simultaneously love and hate Ariel Pink. He is fascinating and stupid. His music is great and awful. I also finally got to explode my feelings all over you about Rolling Stone and Pitchfork. And told you how much I love Nirvana. We learned that I am uncomfortable listening to hip hop in front of other people, despite the fact that I do love it. Alternative rock is now a big part of my life, that and, without punk rock, life is meaningless. (I don’t even need to mention JACK WHITE. Whoops. Just did.) And if you’ve never been to Washington, DC you learned how sweaty it can be. Oh, and you also heard about my adolescent obsession with “Almost Famous”. Which is the beginning to the story of my musical identity.
Initially, I did write out a top twenty albums list and have kept the note pad on my desk since late November. But when I sat down to write something, I decided to write out a different kind of year end list. (It actually all started when I got side tracked at work, and had Tame Impala on in my headphones.) It’s just that, every website you visit makes a year end list that is a numeric love letter to their subject of interest. Personally, my favorite came from Noisey (I think we see a pattern here.) They compiled a list of their favorite lists. The good folks over at Chunky Glasses arranged an assortment of lists: a nice year end list highlighting all their contributors’ top ten albums. And their ‘Tracking’ writer – our dear internet friend Rusty – did a top ten of the best tracks of the year. (Thanks to him, I just found Porcelin Raft.) The ‘Fork pulled something predictable. As did NPR (they love Alt-J) and Rolling Stone (who knew that they’d name Bruce Springsteen as their number one record? WHO.KNEW.) So I wanted to do something a little less predictable. As I am not predictable myself.
It actually worked out kind of perfectly because these year end lists have got me into a groove. And leaving you all without a post every day makes me feel like I left home without pants on. And nobody wants that.
I know I wrote about Mac Demarco earlier, when I mentioned my favorite live shows of the year. But I never told you how much time I’ve actually spent listening to, his second record of the year, 2. If you are ever in a bad mood “The Stars Keep On Calling My Name” [below] will surely cheer you up. It does it every time for me. You never thought a pop song like this could exist. And the jazz guitar solo just makes you want to shimmy and shake. It’s two minutes and twenty seconds of chorus, hook, chorus, chorus, verse, bridge, chorus. But that’s not the only time Demarco finagles that bagel. Album opener “Cooking Up Something Good,” which is about his father’s meth habit, is stellar. “Mama’s in the kitchen/cookin’ up something good/and daddy’s on the sofa/pride of the neighborhood/my brother’s in the ballet/it seems he’s got it set/I’ll be up at midnight/chewin’ nicorette.” What a delightful family photo. It sandwiches the dissonant “Dreamin” with “Freaking Out The Neighborhood,” another snide scene about Demarco’s strange behavior.
The record is full of love songs, like “Annie” and “Ode To Viceroy,” his favorite brand of Canadian cigarettes. (That time Rus and I bought him drinks after his show at DC 9, he smoked nearly an entire pack of Marlboro reds. I guess Viceroys are hard to come by down south.) “Robson Girl” fits in the pattern with what sounds like songs about estranged lovers, “maybe when we’re older/we can try this over/lovin on the sidelines/another one of my kind.” And one of this year’s favorite, “My Kind Of Woman,” “as long as you’re next to me/just the two of us/you’re my kind of woman/and I’m down on my hands and knees/beggin’ you please baby/to show me your world.”
Canada is doing something right these days. This Montreal twenty-one year old seems to be grabbing the attention of not The Great White North, but of all of us. My favorite tracks, if I had to chose (wait, I don’t want to), come in the end. The last three tracks on this record might be three of the greatest moments of 2012. It’s the instrumental, sharp landscape of (only 1:42 long) “Boe Zaah” and then “Sherrill,” [below] followed by the beautiful acoustic “Still Together” that highlights his real love for ‘Keeky’ and singing in a high pitched vibrato. “In times/she’ll see/that her and me/were meant to be together/and time will pass/it may go fast/but we’ll still be together/and where I go/she’s at my side/half of my life/together/it’s easy love/fits like a glove/from up above/together.” I think Mac Demarco and I were meant to be together. Forever.