Mac Demarco’s ‘Five Easy Hot Dogs’ should be appreciated for what it is.


Amanda Riha

Illustration by

Zachary Carter, Staff Writer

Life is a game of evolution and adaptation. We roll along day-by-day, growing and maturing as human beings, taking what we are given and responding accordingly.

On Jan. 20 Mac DeMarco evolved with the release of his newest project, “Five Easy Hot Dogs.” The highly-esteemed singer and producer abandons the former on this record, producing and releasing a collection of instrumentals that barely scrapes over a half hour of runtime.

DeMarco returned with this album after a nearly four-year hiatus following his previous project, “Here Comes the Cowboy,” which rolled out in May 2019. This in turn put to bed any rumors swirling around the internet that he was planning to retire from the world of music, which arose after he mysteriously canceled a large slate of upcoming world tour dates in late 2022.

This project at its core is textbook DeMarco. Slow melodies and DeMarco’s signature lo-fi sound lulls listeners to sleep. In the absence of any lyrics, he creates the effect of one continuous, drawn-out song from the opening track, “Gualala,” to the closer, “Rockaway.”

Every song on this record seems to blend — bleeding into one another— to the point where I began to question when one track would end and the next would begin. Consecutive songs like “Vancouver,” “Vancouver 2” and “Vancouver 3” are, on paper, separate tracks. Yet sonically, they morph together to represent DeMarco’s current emotional state during the time of the albums’ production.

These tracks build on one another, the type of build that slightly alters itself each time, but not enough to change the core makeup of the song until eventually, they just end. Take a listen to “Edmonton” and “Edmonton 2” or “Chicago” and “Chicago 2” and you will hear how a song can change without truly changing.

Many of the tracks have a sort of incomplete feeling as if they are missing that “it-factor” that elevates so many of DeMarco’s other pieces of work. While DeMarco may call this project a complete album, it seemingly takes on the form of a collection of demos.

Maybe it’s the fact that there aren’t any lyrics. Maybe it’s a lack of effort on DeMarco’s end. Maybe he just doesn’t care anymore.

But neither should we.

Now 32 years old, DeMarco can graduate from the conventional ways of distributing music for public consumption. He has already cemented himself as one of the premiere alternative and indie musicians of his generation. His previous work speaks for itself. As listeners and fans, we should be happy that DeMarco still finds joy in making music and just enjoy the work that he has graced us with.

While “Five Easy Hot Dogs” may not be my first choice to queue up when I’m handed the auxiliary cord, I still have found myself coming back to it from time to time. Since the album’s release a month ago, I have had plenty of time to digest and soak in this uncharacteristic piece of work, welcoming it for what it gives and forgiving it for what it lacks.

This album is great to put on while studying, falling asleep or just driving in the car by yourself. In my humble opinion, that is how DeMarco intended it to be: music to appreciate the little moments.

As a longtime fan of DeMarco and his work, I can’t help but question what lies in store for him next. Is this his last ever full-length project? Is retirement on the horizon? Will he ever go back on tour?

All of these questions, in due time, will be answered, but for the immediate future, let’s just enjoy and appreciate the work that Mac DeMarco does for what it is: fun.