Sometimes being late is the only approach to a solution. This is one of those instances where Mac DeMarco had floated around in a sphere of music recommendations and personal preference, but ultimately got ignored because of the surrounding hype. Intentionally, DeMarco was raised to become one of the shining examples of how sometimes the hype can be correct around an artist.
Salad Daysis the blissful second-installment to the Canadian choir leader of relatable melancholy and regret-filled sound. It is soft on the ears, approachable, and shows a real sense of progression as DeMarco moves with the self-titled cut. “As I’m getting older, chip up on my shoulder. Rolling through life to roll over and die. Always feeling tired, smiling when required. Write another year off and kindly resign,” describes DeMarco through a glazed overcoat of plucking and cheerful acoustics and percussion that feels more warm and comforting that overpowering. The band’s sound feels full behind DeMarco as he calmly moves along the fret board in what feels more similar to a sunshine-ridden day.
While incredibly laidback and uplifting in musical stature, the lyrics are actually a depressing insight that tells multiple stories of disappointment, heartbreak, and the eventual death of innocence. With “Blue Boy,” DeMarco moves with “Blue Boy, worried about the world’s eyes. Worried, every time the sun shines… Calm down – sweetheart – grow up.” The theme of growing older in a world that is ever changing is reflected in the album’s title, Salad Days which refers to the innocence of early life and unknowing adolescences in a topic. With Salad Days,Demarco challenges the ability to blend the bitter ugliness of truth and the gentle sea breeze of music technique and power.
A perfect example is the upbeat, “Let Her Go” where DeMarco explains the sense of being caught in-between on a lover. “Tell her that you’ll be there, if you’ll really be there. Separation’s supposed to make the heart grow fond, but it don’t. So tell her that you love her if you really love her. But if your heart just ain’t sure, let her go.” It is a prime example of how DeMarco can loosen the tension with instrumentation that creates a scene of unbound dance movements behind a darkened coat of emotional distress. Proven again through “Passing Out Pieces” which relies on the synthesizers to form the stomping power behind the lyrics. Mac DeMarco explains, “Passing my life, living it out with her side. Listening closely, hearing mostly. Can’t shake concern, seems that every time that I turn, I’m passing out pieces of me. Don’t you know that nothing comes free?”.
DeMarco commits to the role of being the blissful professor who can create poetry through motion. He explains on the beautifully crafted “Chamber of Reflection” that the listener must, “Spend some time away, getting ready for the day. You’re born again, spend some time alone. Understand that soon you’ll run with better men.” It is one of the bigger hits for DeMarco and it can be explained by the instrumentation that attaches very church-esque organs with the simple boom, snap percussion. As the synths then fill the gaps, DeMarco continues to repeat, “Alone again” over and over again until the instrumentation fades the record into this despair of silence.
Salad Days is an insightful look into the forming of sound and what becomes attractive to the ears. The adventurous at heart, Mac DeMarco is an artist that is known by many, but understood by so little. He takes pages out of history’s best styles and conforms them to fit a mold that is unbound by genre or energy.