Album Review: Mac DeMarco’s “Here Comes the Cowboy”

Mac DeMarco delivers a slightly new take on his indie rock style on new album, “Here Comes the Cowboy.”

On May 10, indie rock staple Mac DeMarco dropped his highly anticipated album, “Here Comes the Cowboy.” As the name suggests, DeMarco opted to put a slight twist on his typical, soft, guitar-based alternative sound by venturing into the realm of country twang. The album consists of a total of 13 tracks for a run time of 27 minutes.

To open the album, DeMarco delivers what is the most country-based and strange track out of the 13, singing in the lowest register his voice seems to be capable of and rhythmically repeating, “here comes the cowboy.” Through the use of twangy guitar chords, he sets the scene of a barren western town with none other than his lone ranger alter ego riding in with a six string hung over his shoulder. Despite its repetitive lyrics, this track does a commendable job of world building as DeMarco creates an old western landscape, simply through the use of a strong bassline and plucky guitar melody.

The rest of the tracks rely more on the acoustic guitar and soft vocal sound that is expected of Mac DeMarco, yet they still manage to be engaging and enjoyable. “Here Comes the Cowboy” transitions into the second track “Nobody.” This track retains a few key country elements as the vibrating guitar plucking creates a sensation of sitting on the porch on a warm summer day. DeMarco’s songwriting on this track shines, as he details with the refrain, “there’s no turnin’ back to nobody,” once again contributing to the mental image of the lone ranger, Mac DeMarco, riding out of town.

The fourth and 11th tracks, “Preoccupied” and “All of Our Yesterdays,” are a few of the top tracks off of the collection. The chords and percussion on “Preoccupied” create a serene yet groovy base for the track that DeMarco polishes with his songwriting and vocals. This track feels like the unwinding of a summer day by a lake, a scene that DeMarco so often brings to mind through his hypnotic means of crafting slow-paced yet attention-grabbing choruses.

The track “All of Our Yesterdays,” was released earlier as a single and in the context of the whole album, the song shines even more. This track single-handedly captures the album’s theme — the idea of riding alone and leaving the past behind — better than any other. The refrain is simply, “all of our yesterdays have gone now,” showing that there is no looking back and that when one rides out of town, there’s no reason to turn around. Further in the track DeMarco elaborates on this by singing, “that don’t mean your dreams are over” and, “[it’s] such a shame, to complain that all of our yesterdays have gone away,” — truly embracing the notion of moving forward. DeMarco’s vocal performance on this track draws listeners in, as his warm and unique vocal charms explore the highs and lows of life and crafts another catchy tune one can’t help but sing along to.

Despite the several strong moments of “Here Comes the Cowboy,” it very much has its flaws. There are quite a few forgettable tracks, such as “K’,” “Heart to Heart,” and “Skyless Moon.” They all are listenable but do not particularly standout. However, the songwriting and vulnerability DeMarco throws onto “K” is commendable, and his ability to be introspective is very much appreciated. DeMarco explains on “K” that “as the years blow, the more I come to know myself,” displaying his growth from the days of his self titled albums. It is reassuring to see DeMarco acknowledge that there is “still so much to learn,” emphasizing the fact that the indie star continues to grow and strive for more, no matter where his career leads to.

DeMarco has a few playful tracks on the album such as “Choo Choo,” which ultimately damage the album as a whole. The track seems to be playful to a fault as it ventures into the land of childish amateurism, disrespecting the emotion of the other songs. The more upbeat and whistle-infused piece could very easily be done without, as it seems to nip away at the beauty of the rest of the album. Of course, it is always in DeMarco’s nature to showcase a handful of lighthearted moments.

Ultimately, the album concludes with “Baby Bye Bye,” as DeMarco ventures into his falsetto and incorporates a banjo, a keyboard, and crashing symbols to tie it all together. The track runs for over seven minutes but does not seem to lag on unnecessarily. At about the four minute mark, the track transitions into a free flowing experimentation as DeMarco simply decides to scream into the mic and doesn’t hesitate to throw in a few laughs and “yeehaws.”

From top to bottom, the album is enjoyable and truly showcases who Mac DeMarco is — an easy-going, introspective, playful, and talented songwriter. With this latest addition to his discography, DeMarco continues to cement himself as a legend in the world of indie rock, as he continues to fearlessly create content and inspire countless artists that are on the rise today.

“Here Comes the Cowboy” provides more indie rock hits with a splash of southern charm and proves how Mac DeMarco continues to be a more-than capable songwriter and artist. DeMarco’s ability to showcase his fun-loving nature and self-expression sets him apart from countless successful artists that fail to match his unique charisma.

Grade: B
Release Date: May 10, 2019

Image courtesy of The Post Athens.