h

Mac DeMarco’s best 20 songs, ranked

From early days to his latest work, we track the journey of indie rock's favourite goofball. 

Image source: 
Cassie Stevens

You can’t help but be swept up in the gratuitous theatre that is Mac DeMarco. You haven’t even met him and he feels like buddy of yours. He’s goofy and approachable and his musical identity matches that: lo-fi, slacker pop fits the bill nicely. They’re tunes that bring pleasure to a Sunday stroll, night-after delirium, afternoon doze or any other situation you find yourself in. 

We’re three LPs, two EPs and a mini album deep into Mac DeMarco’s solo storyline and this is just the beginning. The cult following is rife with fervour – everyone wants more of what we’ve had before and it is with great belief that the friendliest man in music will bring it to us. Before we dive into the next DeMarco chapter, let’s take a second to pull apart Rock and Roll Night Club, Salad Days, 2 and more to rank what are the best 20 best tracks of Mac.

20. 'Another One' (2014)

Tumbling out of 'The Way You’d Love Her' for the first time, rolling my eyes at another piece of low fidelity, I’m splashed with the smooth synthesisers of Another One. The 2014 album title track is DeMarco’s most musically compact song which many may snarl at for reasons of drear and repetition. Nevertheless, it was the face of the Mac's next evolutionary shift.  

19. 'I’ve Been Waiting For Her' (2015)

Arguably the most treacherous listing on Mac’s top 20 is the soft is velvety track, 'I’ve Been Waiting For Her'. Certainly the sleeper on the list, The Another One single chimes like bliss in the summer sun. It’s danceable when played aloud and comforting upon a weary soul. Addictive listening. 

18. 'I’m a Man' (2012)

If there’s a song that perfectly encapsulates the early staccato days of Mac, it’s 'I’m a Man'. This track is certainly not for the melodious partisans of albums, Another One and This Old Dog, yet it bears the perfect dose of musical jitter and tomfoolery that drew us to DeMarco in the first place. Is his guitar in tune? Who knows. But more importantly, who cares? 

17. 'Robson Girl' (2012)

Aka 'the creepy song about Mac chilling on Robson St. in Vancouver checking out affluent girls passing by'. It's not the first time we’ve seen Mac belittling his shaggy appearance. A juicy guitar line and bass guitar is juxtaposed with an uproarious solo that emerges from nowhere.  

16. 'One More Love Song' (2017)

One more of those, another one of these – its seems for DeMarco, there’s always something extra, something superfluous which often lies just out of reach. It’s a common sentiment, but it’s not monotonous. In Mac's hands, it’s poignant, intangible and encapsulates a songwriter we hold dear. 'One More Love Song' is an eloquent synth ballad embodying a maturing and increasingly introspective DeMarco.

15. 'Passing Out Pieces' (2014)

'Passing Out Pieces' preceded Salad Days, and while it hasn’t lived up to the euphoric timelessness of 'Let Her Go', 'Salad Days' and 'Chamber of Reflection', it remains a kooky little synth number that’s close to our hearts. It’s the black sheep amongst the herd – a bit weird and a bit adrift, which is why it remains well entrenched in our memory.

14. 'Moonlight on the River' (2017)

The longest track in DeMarco’s discography is a kaleidoscopic journey. It’s one of his most evocative and curious cuts – a poignant first four minutes slides into a psychedelic outro which could be described as an ambient portrayal of the erstwhile lyrics. Crazy is what we’ve come to love from Mac and this is right up there with that.

13. 'Blue Boy' (2014)

'Blue Boy' is Salad Days’ most fleeting track but its nonchalance prolongs the excursion. It’s not a singalong. It’s nothing catchy. But it’s a well-constructed song with a lesson. Mac reckons shit happens in life – we can’t deny that – and Blue Boy’s gotta grow up. Nasty but true.

12. 'Baby’s Wearin’ Blue Jeans' (2012)

You can’t fully appreciate DeMarco’s latest offerings without acknowledging the founders of the land. Throughout Mac’s debut solo EP, Rock and Roll Night Club, listeners are bestowed with haunting vocals. 'Baby’s Wearin’ Blue Jeans' is next level lo-fi and it’s the chorus which has the track supremely placed at 12 on the list.

11. 'My Kind of Woman' (2012)

Rated by many as 2’s best track; yet while it’s difficult to put it above landmarks 'Ode to Viceroy' and 'Freaking Out The Neighborhood', 'My Kind of Woman' is musically magnetic and tells a starkly honest prom story which reveals itself further after repeated listens. Sincerity is DeMarco’s greatest trait as a lyricist and on 'My Kind of Woman', he wears his heart on his sleeve.  

10. 'A Wolf Who Wears Sheeps Clothes' (2017)

There’s a sex appeal to 'A Wolf Who Wears Sheeps Clothes' that whisks it up the standings. Maybe it’s the alluring harmonica, the matching guitar hook or the contagious solo as the clock strikes two minutes. On top of all this, 'A Wolf Who Wears Sheeps Clothes' is an archetype of Mac’s wonderfully guileful lyricism.

9. 'Salad Days' (2014)

The title track of Mac DeMarco’s 2014 album may have lead listeners to believe that the juvenile’s years of foolish merriment were over. Not the case. Mac’s staying Mac whether you like it or not and jovial earworms like 'Salad Days' will continue to rise from his Silver Lake residence. 

8. 'Cooking Up Something Good' (2012)

Well hello, old friend. 'Cooking Up Something Good' springs sound memories of early connections with the Canadian connoisseur. The lead track from DeMarco’s 2012 LP, 2, is the perfect remedy for stress and concern. Like blowing the seeds off a dandelion, chuck it on and all the world’s worries are redundant.

7. 'No Other Heart' (2015)

Standing at the summit of Another One is the cosy, heartfelt foray of 'No Other Heart'. Like many of its album comrades, it's almost frustratingly short. But it remains as one of Mac’s foremost love songs.  

6. 'Let Her Go' (2014)

Probably the most recognisable track from 'Salad Days' marries a warbling drum line, with infectious bass and a tastier guitar line than Hot Ones-doused chicken wings. A simplistic songwriting bookend that’ll stand the test of time.  

5. 'My Old Man' (2017)

Over the years, we’ve been privy to plenty of synthesiser investigations from Mac DeMarco. It wasn’t until his mini-album Another One that the low fidelity shackles were fully freed, and it wasn’t until 'My Old Man' that we fully understood Mac’s minimalist capabilities. The wandering acoustic riff is the perfect complement to the electronic journey; if this track went for 30 minutes I wouldn’t be mad.

4. 'Brother' (2014)

Grab a gondola and cruise down the Grand Canal before the watery lines of 'Brother'. “Take it slowly brother / Let it go now brother” – heed to Mac DeMarco’s advice and you’ll be far better off. 

3. 'Chamber of Reflection' (2014)

Tyler, The Creator once said 'Chamber of Reflection' was his favourite song from Mac DeMarco. The Odd Future founder could have music’s most multifarious music taste so this is no folly. It’s bedroomy, synthy bliss mimicking a lonely amble down the beach.

2. 'Freaking Out The Neighborhood' (2012)

The loopy, curling foray that is 'Freaking Out The Neighborhood' still stands high as Mac-attack’s most danceable number. Airy concert amalgamations become ferocious mosh fistfights when this leading 2 anthem is divulged. Just when you think you've found your feet, an outrageous, magnetic guitar solo closes it out – those bruises just got a little rosier. 

1. 'Ode To Viceroy' (2012)

'Ode To Viceroy' edges out 'Freaking Out The Neighborhood' as Mac DeMarco’s capstone track. It’s syrupy bliss of a still Makeout Videotape-nostalgic songsmith and would become the most potent precursor of DeMarco to come. Light up friends.