Mac DeMarco's first new song since 2017 is a splendidly sombre track that doesn't feel its length.
At this point, I am more used to seeing the words “indie darling” next to Mac DeMarco’s name than I am to seeing “pretentious hipster” next to my own. It’s as though this is the default way of describing him now. But recently, with his departure from Captured Tracks and establishment of the imaginatively-titled Mac’s Record Label, Mac is living up to his moniker. With a new album scheduled for May 10th, and this new single appearing, DeMarco’s credentials as the king of off-kilter indie pop have never looked more convincing.
‘Nobody’ is the name of the song, and it follows a suitably abject narrative. Mac seems to be lamenting the very “indie darling” label mentioned previously, and the perception of himself from the public as a goofy caricature. “There’s no turning back/to nobody”, he croons, “no second chance”. DeMarco has mastered the art of downplaying his singing, whilst still giving a great performance filled with nuance and colour. This, along with the modest drum arrangement and a wonderful wailing synth line, helps keep the interest in what would otherwise be an unreasonably slow-paced song. The muted guitar picking on show is pretty delightful too, emphasising the downbeat subject matter. Viewed as a whole, it feels like the delicate structure of the song could break apart at any moment, but in a good way.
A clear continuation of the tone set by his last album, This Old Dog, ‘Nobody’ is a brilliant tear-jerking acoustic number in the vein of the title track of that record. Thinking about it, ‘Nobody’ is perhaps most analogous to the song ‘Baby You’re Out’, except you’re listening to it in a dark room, and meanwhile, downstairs, your housemates are arguing loudly about who’s going to buy toilet roll next, and you’ve just realised that you forgot to submit your last assignment, and your parents are coming round tomorrow morning and its 4am. And you’ve been crying recently. Or maybe I’m reading too much into this.
‘Nobody’ is available now via Mac’s Record Label.