Music Review: Salad Days

Hailed as number nine in the top fifty albums of 2014 by Rolling Stone Magazine, Mac Demarco’s sophomore album “Salad Days” lives up to its expectations of mellow soft rock. The album feels more polished overall (even though it was recorded in his apartment rather than in a studio) and its is made clear that Demarco has really put away all of the ‘glam rock’ elements from his debut release Rock and Roll Nightclub for good.

The songs all consistently feature simpler guitar rock as Demarco hones in on his vocal fluctuations. ‘Salad Days’  prove to be both consistent and cohesive, however, has some inconsistencies here and there. Regardless, Salad Days proves to be a substantial successor to “2”, Demarco’s debut full album.

The first track, aptly titled ‘Salad Days’ an idiomatic expression coined in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra features semi-cliche mid-life crisis-esque lyrics. This song sets a melodic pattern for the rest of the tracks on the album: simple guitar riffs and repetitive choruses and bass lines.

The second track ‘Blue Boy’ smoothly transitions and the third track, ‘Brother’, follow the same melodies established by the initial track but also prove to be two of the most experimental  tracks on the album. ‘Blue Boy’ features some interesting vocal layering during the chorus while “Brother” a dramatic ending with an eclectic compilation of noises layered over top another.

Mac Demarco’s album continues on he dishes out well-meaning relationship advice in “Let Her Go.” Continuing on the trend of basic guitar chords, this song contains on a mini “disclaimer” in which Demarco remarks “breaking up is ok its up to you, make your own choice” emphasizes his authentic, relaxed approach to creating this album.

For those listening to Demarco’s album for the first time, the songs may seem too similar to distinguish; especially nearing the middle most tracks. These rather unmemorable or mediocre songs include “Let My Baby Stay” and “Treat Her Better.”

“Chamber of Reflections” ends the rather lackluster chain of tracks by starting with a promising drum beat. The song also features a catchy keyboard chorus which makes it memorable.

The album ends with the track “Jonny’s Odyssey”, which is completely instrumental. It’s placement as the last song of the album ties together all the other tracks with a calming melody. Demarco adds a static-y audio recording to the end of his album stating “Hi guys this is Mac. Thank you for joining me. See you again soon,” accentuating his laid back approach to the whole recording experience.

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