Compared to the rest of Mac DeMarco’s discography, Here Comes the Cowboy  didn’t quite live up to the standards of mellow grooviness that we’re  used to from this king of indie. An album-length listen is slow enough  to act as a calming sedative to the listener. It’s drawn out with  uninteresting—and in some cases predictable— arrangements that more or  less parallel DeMarco’s singing throughout the songs. His easy-going  voice is common amongst all of his albums, but this one seems to hold a  certain monotone dullness to it. The lyrics don’t necessarily shine  through either on the surface, but when you take a deeper dive into the  meaning, that’s really the only thing making this album one of the most  important in DeMarco’s career.

Thoroughly uninteresting

Here Comes the Cowboy is powered by over-simplified  progressions that drag on from beginning to end. As previously stated,  this album doesn’t really follow the standards of mellow grooves from  the fanbase; it contains a bit too much mellow and not enough groove.  Most arrangements are repetitive and foreseeable, which makes the album  more or less boring overall.

DeMarco’s voice seems to resonate within the same note throughout  most of the songs, much like the instruments do. He has an unmistakable  laid-back vocal tone and it’s very significant to his style, but in Here Comes the Cowboy, his voice echoes a deeper, lullaby tone that doesn’t change pitch much, if at all.

The last thing that adds to the sense of dryness on this album is the  lyrics. In plenty of his past songs, DeMarco captures a certain ominous  and poetic lyrical delivery. This trait doesn’t fade out in Here Comes the Cowboy,  but the lyrics end up being even more simplified and twice as abstract.  The verses are composed of simple phrasing and wording, and in some  cases, the songs feature the same phrase over and over again, which  sometimes gets a bit uncomfortable to listen to. This attribute alone  makes it easy for your mind to lose interest and passively listen,  making it harder to even give an effort into decoding the meaning.

The meaning, even as an active listener, is hard to catch due to the  enigmatic word choice. Most words and phrases are shallow as they’re  said aloud, but they hold deeper meaning that makes a lot of sense if  you’ve followed DeMarco’s career up until this point.

Nearing the end

There’s a wide range of meaningful songs that comprise this album,  stretching from love, to social issues, to humanity, to self-reflection.  Although this is a good variety, the blatant theme of this album is the  message from the artist; DeMarco might be using Here Comes the Cowboy  as his own ending note. As an overall purpose for the album, the theme  of DeMarco’s retirement from the music industry is hinted at again and  again through the lyrics of a few particular songs.

In the song “Nobody,” DeMarco reflects back on his initial take on  fame. He never necessarily wanted to be famous, but his music led him to  it a bit haphazardly. He reflects on the life he once had, one of  anonymity as a nobody. The sixth song, “Choo Choo,” rings with the  lyrics “choo choo/take a ride with me/choo choo/come and die with me.”  It’s suspected that DeMarco’s ride was his career, an innocent excursion  through his passion. Much of his career brought him success, but it  also brought him personal hardship, so with the line “come and die with  me,” his career might be the one relinquishing life. “Little Dogs March”  is probably the most transparent as far as hinting at DeMarco moving on  from his career. His reference goes back to his album This Old Dog,  in which he refers to himself as the dog. In this retrospect, DeMarco  is telling himself to march on and move on from his past self, hence the  title “Little Dogs March.” This theme is just about the only redeeming  quality of the album, and it’s perfect because it’s not likely that  DeMarco made this album for the fans, he made it for himself.

One of the biggest challenges in critiquing this album is having an  understanding of his attitude toward other people’s opinions. He doesn’t  feed off of fame, he’s doing what he wants to do with his music simply  because he wants to do it—there’s a certain level of respect that should  be given to an artist with that attitude and passion for music. From a  fan’s perspective, compared to the rest of his music this album just  doesn’t do much for us. The only thing it’s good for is bumming us out.  The music and the lyrics being so simplified makes it hard to listen to,  not only as a whole album but even some of the songs individually can  be pretty boring. However, for DeMarco, the goal of the album wasn’t to  impress the ears of the listener. Here Comes the Cowboy is an  introspective work designed from the thoughts and experiences of DeMarco  himself. He made this album a reflection of his own self-worth as an  artist and as a realization that he’s grown through his success. The  only thing this is for us is what seems to be a good-bye.

Top Tracks:


Finally Alone

All of Our Yesterdays

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