East Los Angeles Renaissance Academy

Mac DeMarco’s ‘Salad Days,’ a review

The mellow, chill, and uprising vibe to “Chamber of Reflection” and “Let my Baby Stay” makes you feel like you traveled back to the 1980s or like you’re getting high without smoking a blunt, even though you have never smoked weed in your life.

McBriare Samuel Lanyon (aka “Mac DeMarco”) is a Canadian singer, songwriter, producer, and instrumentalist gives a warm and chilling vibe through out his psychedelic/ indie rock/ pop genres. Throughout his music career, he has given many outgrowing songs and albums, including his recent album “This Old Dog” which was released last year but my favorite album is “Salad Days” which was the first album I was introduced to.

Released in April 1, 2014. the album had a score of 85 out of 100 on Metacritic, which is pretty a decent number to score and has gotten many perfect scores from music publications such as Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, All Music, etc. Like for example, one 90-scored review reads, “With more memorable tracks and a slightly more accessible feel, the album is less distracted and more tuneful than before without losing any of the freewheeling spirit that made his songs and persona so attractive in the first place.”

So how did ‘Salad Days’ come to be?

Well “Salad Days” was recorded in DeMarco’s apartment, located in Brooklyn, New York. While during his tour for both of his debut releases “Rock and Roll Night Club” and “2”, Mac quotes f**kin’ bummed out,” and “I feel sort of weathered and beat down and grown up all of a sudden. I’ve always had some kind of plateau that I wanted to reach, and now I just can’t see the next one,” meaning that the tour was pretty much done and wanted to go on to the next level.

During the writing and composition, “I didn’t want to freak anybody out with a huge sound change. I wanted to transition without changing the vibe too much. The mood for Salad Days is, ‘F**k man! I was just on tour for a year and a half and I’m tired!” Mac said.

The term Salad Days means the period when one is young and inexperienced which goes back to the Shakespearean idiomatic expression, which refers to youth, innocence, inexperienced, idealism and indiscretion which one has with someone young.

In the United States, it pretty much means “Heyday.” Three tracks that Mac composes refers to his long term girlfriend Kiera McNally in “let my baby stay.”

There are many beautiful songs in the album but my personal favorite is “Chamber of Reflection,” which was also the first song from the album that was introduced to me and from there on, this song has been my #1. This song give so much of that 80s nostalgic vibe and makes you go through this ‘trip’ that can only work if you pay close attention to the sound and the lyrics, or pretty much close your eyes or if you go on a car trip, you will feel like your in another world.

If you listen to chamber of reflection, the main beat was sampled by Shigeo Sekito’s –ザ・ワードⅡ / セキトウ・シゲオ, aka The World II. Shigeo Sekito is a Japanese electone player which the album that presents his song the world II, was released in the mid-late 70s, which is pretty ironic that mac used the 80s vibe instead of the 70s (in my opinion). Chamber of reflection was then used as a sample for Smoke Chambers by Wiz Khalifa and Smooth Departure by Mr. Waves.

Chamber of Reflection is a reference to Freemasonry, as DeMarco quotes “It’s a room people go into before you’re initiated into freemasonry. It’s like a meditation room, and they lock you in there for a period of time. The purpose is to reflect on what you’ve done in your life already and move on from it. I think that’s what I did in [my home studio] right here. It was actually therapeutic. I feel a little enlightened, a little less heavy. It’s tight.” Theres a lot of meaning towards the lyrics like for example in the first verse:

“Spend some time away

Getting ready for the day

You’re born again

Spend some time alone

Understand that you’ll run

With better men.

Born again means to find new love with someone else. Mac states that he doesn’t want his love to waste on someone who wont last with him. The song is pretty much dedicated to his girlfriend and has the fear of loosing her and will find another man. Another example is in the chorus.

“Alone Again

 Alone Again

Alone Again

Alone Again

Alone”

This means a girl has finally left him for someone better. Although it may not mean for a girl that he has lost but has lost himself. The second verse says…

“No use looking out

Its within that brings that

Lonely feeling

Understand that when you leave here

You’ll be clear

Among the better men”

This means that it isnt worth it to look towards peoples situations. Mac claims that you inspire your own seclusion as a result of your idealistic approach toward life. He also says that when you leave your alone state-of-mind, you will have a clearer outlook on life. Source from https://genius.com/Mac-demarco-chamber-of-reflection-lyrics.

The indie psychedelic pop genre for Mac DeMarco is also shown through the Australian band Tame Impala and Foster the People’s “Sacred hearts club” album which has an indie pop and neo-psychedelia genre.

Psychedelia originates back to the 60s and people used the psychedelia drug like for example LSD and since you go through a trip and it seems funny to think about that the psychedelia genre makes you “high” metaphorically (in my opinion that is true) but the trip that you go through this music makes you feel like you aren’t worried of your surroundings or you feel unbothered.

In other words, you really just don’t give a fuck, lay back chill and hear the soothing mellow sounds of Mac DeMarco’s songs. Like I said before, Chamber of Reflection is the time machine to the 80s or being high without doing drugs.

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