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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Sophomore LHP Shane Sdao (38) reacts after a strikeout during Texas A&Ms game against Texas at Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Junior Mary Stoiana reacts during Texas A&M’s match against Oklahoma at the NCAA Women’s Tennis Regional at Mitchell Tennis Center on Sunday, May 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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Scenes from '74
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

Criticism: ‘Five Easy Hot Dogs’ can’t get much easier

Mac+DeMarco
Creative Commons
Mac DeMarco

Rating: 5/10

Listening through the discography of Mac DeMarco, the independent singer-songwriter who ruled the underground pop scene in the mid-to-late 2010s presents an interesting narrative: the decline of passion as popularity grows.

DeMarco’s debut album, “Rock and Roll Night Club,” is a unique staple in early 2010s indie rock. His next release, “2,” which came out two years later in 2012, marked the takeoff point into his underground stardom. In the years after, albums like “Salad Days” and “Another One” would not only cement his position on top of indie pop, but would also influence a whole new subgenre at the same time.

Under the classification of “Bedroom Pop,” countless young, aspiring musicians started recording their own songs, completely composed and mixed by themselves, usually in their own bedrooms. Artists like Clairo, Temporex and Boy Pablo all sprung out from this era in the late 2010s.

For a few years, DeMarco was the model everyone was inspired by. From his lighthearted, easy-going style, to his vintage, thrifted fashion. Even smoking cigarettes seemed to come back in style. 

But a shift began to become apparent in his music. 

The enjoyable artistry that made “Rock and Roll Night Club” so interesting began to fade away. “This Old Dog,” his 2017 album, seemed to capture a much more bored Mac DeMarco than his previous releases. “Here Comes the Cowboy” in 2019 is blatantly uninspired. It’s clear to see, from both his music, and interviews in which he explicitly states it, DeMarco did not enjoy his time in the spotlight, or at the very least, he never found fulfillment from it.

DeMarco, like a true indie artist, was never after big record deals or sellout crowds. He was just there to make music.

Fast forward to 2023, and DeMarco has mainly fallen out of the underground’s interest. In the ever-fast and evolving music culture, electronic and hyperpop styles have earned the dominant spot, leaving DeMarco and his laid-back acoustics in the past. 

So upon his release of the album “Five Easy Hot Dogs,” reception was much quieter than previous releases. While “Here Comes the Cowboy” reached the top 10 of the Billboard 200, “Five Easy Hot Dogs” has yet to even appear on the list.

But with this newfound lack of fame, a certain purity returns to his music. The 14-track long tape of instrumentals is as minimal as it comes, and although DeMarco’s iconic vocals are nowhere to be found, his easy-going joy makes a return in the form of simple acoustic melodies.

“Vancouver 2,” the eighth track and “Edmonton,” the tenth, capture most of DeMarco’s historical indie spirit. Minus his voice, the songs could pass as a product of DeMarco at his peak.

Overall, “Five Easy Hot Dogs” does not come close to his past hits, but does present itself as a chill, easy listen to be enjoyed at face value.

Somewhere in between the guitar loops and keyboard backing, you can hear that DeMarco has once again found peace and quiet outside the world’s collective gaze. 

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