Here Comes The Cowboy is an effortless album which is chilled and uneventful. But that’s exactly our mood this May.
The opening track doesn’t say much but also tells us everything we need to know about the rest of the album. Mac DeMarco idly repeats “here comes the cowboy” to stripped back tunes and it’s OK because it’s sort of nice to have a break from the experimental and ambitious albums that indie artists have been throwing our way recently. There is none of Muse’s dancing dystopian robots, none of Radiohead’s futuristic anxiety or Arctic Monkeys’ Blade Runner inspired musical orgy. It’s all just stripped back, simple and does exactly what it says on the tin. And it’s oddly refreshing.
There are no real standout tracks on the record. There are no “Salad Days” or “This Old Dog”. If we had to pick a winner, it would be “Finally Alone” which is strangely catchy on the third or fourth listen. Instead, the tracks tie together seamlessly and tell a story. The story is something personal but for the listener, what we hear is the search for comfort. Is life better spent traveling the open road or settling down? Is it OK to just spend the day lying on your lawn watching the clouds? These are the kind of questions Mac DeMarco has us asking ourselves in this tame, stripped back album.
“Choo Choo” is a cute little ditty with an underlying innocence (or is it sarcyness?) It’s almost like DeMarco saying “OK go away now, I don’t want to be famous.” Now that he is being hailed as an indie icon, there’s an unspoken pressure for his lyrics to be profound and his melodies to become increasingly daring and original. DeMarco has responded with a song about a train on which most of the lyrics are “choo choo” and little else. It may sound lazy but really it embraces the genius simplicity of bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
So yes, some critics are going to have a lot to say about Mac DeMarco’s latest album and we personally know a handful of hipsters who are going to be disappointed. At Hot Pop Today though, we have no complaints because Here Comes The Cowboy sums up exactly how we are feeling this May. Simplicity is what we’ve been craving in this bold and busy year. And it sounds like Mac DeMarco feels the same way.