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This Old Dog

by Mac Demarco

Released May 5, 2017 via Captured Tracks

Reviewed May 5, 2022

Top tracks (based on community voting)
This Old Dog (55%), Moonlight On The River (35%), Still Beating (29%)

​​Mac DeMarco’s third studio album, This Old Dog, is the Canadian singer-songwriter’s most mature work to date. While his previous albums—2 and Salad Days—are great in their own right, This Old Dog possesses a level of sincerity far beyond either of them. The cheeky humor is almost non-existent, with Mac DeMarco using this album’s 43-minute runtime as a journal to confront the conflicting feelings of time and all that gets wrapped up within its inevitable passing. The opening track, “My Old Man,” sets a tone of introspection as DeMarco reflects on himself and who he has grown to be; displeased, he likens himself to his father—one absent riddled with addiction—expressing a desire to change, and calling upon a sense of urgency as he is only getting older. These become central themes as the album continues, with DeMarco’s songwriting focusing heavily on self-reflection and the fear of time running out before mistakes can be corrected or before memories can be made. Life can be extremely complicated and it is incredibly easy to lose sight of yourself and the things you care about. This Old Dog is an ode to the man DeMarco strives to be, but more importantly, it is a heartfelt promise to those he cares about the most. Per usual, This Old Dog is performed and produced by DeMarco—only further enhancing the level of intimacy of it. Subdued in every aspect, the sound of this record hits a beautiful sweet spot between pure joy and regretful sorrow. Extremely lush and touching upon sounds of folk, soft rock, and jazz with a psychedelic flair, a sense of sentimentality oozes out of every note. While time often complicates many aspects of our life and the relationships we have built, This Old Dog has only gotten better over the years. – Dominick (10/10)

This Old Dog is without a doubt Mac DeMarco’s best and most mature record. It’s an ode to life’s tragic way of yanking people from you, whether you did everything you could to hold onto them or not. DeMarco wrote many of these songs with his father in mind. But the album's entirety makes it clear that Mac is no stranger to loss in other facts of life; whether it’s via relationships or his loss of self. Although his father is alive, his absence in Mac’s life is a pain that rivals any death. He too, like his father, fades away. The pain of acknowledging that process is as painful for DeMarco as acknowledging his father’s absence. His lyrics are endlessly ripe with reflection, fear, complacency, and lost love. But it’s love absent from himself and others. I see the main takeaway from This Old Dog as one about self-love. To love yourself as much as you can before trying to find people to do it for you. It never works out otherwise. Unconditional self-love is far more valuable and motivating than most external sources. – Ben (Synth) (9/10)

Mac DeMarco's third studio album sits down beside you, holds your hand, and feels what you feel. Looking internally, the sunshine, happy-go-lucky man sees things a little differently. Slightly skewed from previous outings, This Old Dog has a touch of ever-growing melancholy; stare into the abyss and it does indeed stare back. Your future self already exists on this earth. Reminiscing on the past, ruminating on the present, and preparing for the future, Mac DeMarco views life from somewhat of a disappointed paradigm. The things that have occurred, were they always meant to be? Is the future inevitable? Love can linger a lot longer than expected. Things sit behind the mind’s eye waiting for the right time to spring forth. Remembering a day when troubles—both personal and impersonal—seemed distant is a hard task. As much as you wish they weren't, they are here to stay. – Peter (7.5/10)

Dominick: 10/10 | Ben (Synth): 9/10 | Jared: 8.5/10 | DeVán: 8/10 | Hadley: 8/10

Pax: 7.8/10 | Peter: 7.5/10 | Cam: 7/10 | Alan: 6.5/10


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