QUICKSPINS: Mac Demarco – Five Easy Hot Dogs

Five Easy Hot Dogs is a great idea on paper, but in reality, it isn’t quite living up to Mac Demarco’s talent

Mac Demarco has been a household name in the indie scene over the past 10 years. Projects such as 2 and Salad Days helped propel the Canadian singer-songwriter to stardom. Even after six studio albums and more than a decade of being active, he still finds ways to experiment new things with his music. This time, it has taken the form of an instrumental record with his latest release Five Easy Hot Dogs. 

Wait, so guitarist extraordinaire Mac Demarco has released an instrumental record, it must be great, right? Well, not so much. While Five Easy Hot Dogs has its moments, it suffers from safe production choices and sound repetition, which makes the album fall flat on its feet.

Even though it’s Demarco’s first album since 2019, this new record feels much more like a side project rather than a full-fledged studio album. Every song on the record has been recorded during a road trip and each song represents the city it was written in, which explains why there are three songs with “Vancouver” in the title. This makes it easier to follow Demarco’s road trip throughout the album, which starts from Gualala and ends in Rockaway.

For someone who is known for his impressive guitar loops and infectious beats, Five Easy Hot Dogs feels rather uninspired compared to previous works. Yes, the songs are sweet and they are very easy to get into, but as I was listening to the album over and over again, the songs became more and more forgettable, often blending together. This record sounds like if Apple hired Mac Demarco to compose new adventurous alarms — it’s soothing to wake up to, but would you really listen to an album filled with alarms? I don’t think so.

I can definitely see this album getting played and working in some instances. For instance, while studying or relaxing, songs like “Gualala,” “Chicago,” or even “Victoria” would all work well. Aside from these three songs, most of the songs on the album sound like a warped attempt at a lofi study beats project. 

Despite Five Easy Hot Dogs having some moments of brightness, they’re not enough to save the album. This could have truly been something great, but it ended up being little more than wasted potential that in retrospect, will serve as one of Demarco’s most forgettable projects.

Trial track: “Gualala”

Score: 4/10


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