By Campbell Wood
After four years of solo musical silence from Mac DeMarco, the “Prince of Indie Rock” returns with a simple, laid-back instrumental album featuring song titles referencing various cities around North America with its own in album sequels.
Mac DeMarco has not released a solo album since his 2019 record “Here Comes the Cowboy,” which received mixed reviews from critics and fans. With the rising popularity of the song “Heart to Heart” on TikTok, I expected this new instrumental album to trend more upon release. However, after being out for over two weeks now, not a single song from the album has made its way toward DeMarco’s top trending songs. It feels as if DeMarco’s new release went over the public’s heads. As an avid Mac DeMarco fan, this album was highly anticipated by me and many other fans alike, so I was pleased when rumors of his retirement were denounced with the announcement of “Five Easy Hot Dogs.”
“Five Easy Hot Dogs” features 14 instrumental songs that each last 3 minutes or less, every song being named after a city in North America, or is a sequel of a previous song. Songs like the first track Gualala and the song Chicago stand out because of their groovy melodies and percussion, which is really all I want from a Mac DeMarco record to be satisfied. If I can comfortably bop my head up and down, I deem it a classic DeMarco song. Almost every track is accompanied by an ominous woodblock being played in the background, which I believe contributes to “Five Easy Hot Dogs” being a signature, classic Mac DeMarco album.
While I enjoy the album and have listened to it multiple times since its release, I can’t help but feel slightly disappointed by the album in its entirety. The songs feel eerily similar to those on his previous record “Here Comes the Cowboy,” where I was hoping for an entirely new DeMarco vibe for his new album. The mellow, chill songs featured on the album feel like they could be found on a second demo album for his 2019 record, and that’s not really what I was looking forward to before the album was released. Something in me hopes that this album is a transition album, and I am praying that he comes out with a newer, more innovative, and unique album relatively soon.
While I enjoyed the songs, DeMarco doesn’t seem to be taking any risks. It always upsets me when my favorite artists tend to play it safe, such as Tyler, the Creator on every feature he’s been on in the past year. His instrumental songs have been immensely iconic, for songs such as “Pepperoni Playboy,” “Johnny’s Odyssey,” and “My House by the Water '' have been occupying multiple of my playlists for a long time. Each of those songs has its own unique vibe that I crave in an instrumental Mac DeMarco song, but most of the songs off of Five Easy Hot Dogs don’t have the same effect. I guess in the end I was hoping for a little more from the esteemed gap-toothed goofball than a simple instrumental album that doesn’t stop reminding me of Here Comes the Cowboy.
Mac DeMarco’s new instrumental album “Five Easy Hot Dogs” is a safe, easy-listening album that encapsulates a breezy sunset on the beach, but draws scarily similar features to his previous music. While hopefully just a transition album, it doesn’t fail to emanate that signature Mac DeMarco flare.