Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Mac DeMarco explores the meaning of the journey on Five Easy Hot Dogs

"Five Easy Hot Dogs"

Release date: 20 January 2023
7/10
Mac DeMarco - Five Easy Hotdogs - Album Artwork
19 January 2023, 10:15 Written by Amaya Lim
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At just over thirty minutes, Mac DeMarco’s Five Easy Hot Dogs is a bite-sized meditation on place and temporality.

The record exists squarely in DeMarco’s signature style, featuring meandering guitars and earthy percussion, but the album contains no lyrics – the songs speak for themselves and the places they represent. DeMarco wrote the record on a road trip across the Western U.S. and Canada, staying in each place for an indefinite period of time before moving on. Each of the fourteen songs is named for the city where it was recorded, like elaborate diary entries of his elaborate odyssey; a tour that never was.

DeMarco has created an auditory exposition of the solitary part of his life, a contemplative persona explored thoroughly in his recorded discography but not often reflected in his raucous onstage presence. His cult following has only grown since the rise in popularity of his music on TikTok, though one cannot imagine any tracks from Five Easy Hot Dogs appearing on the app. What came out of the quiet moments in which this album was written is a pensive reflection, fourteen tracks that could easily be interludes on Here Comes the Cowboy.

While perhaps not the return to bigger records that fans of Salad Days might have hoped for, Five Easy Hot Dogs stays true to the linear, if unexpected, evolution of Mac DeMarco’s music. Each iteration is somehow even more sparse and experimental; it seems this record is the result of DeMarco slowly whittling down his sound until it is just its own essential core.

Wherever the album begins to feel repetitive or monotonous, boredom raises the question of intentionality; does DeMarco mean to suggest essential similarities between places he went, the people he met, the experiences he had? Five Easy Hot Dogs is the result of what could be performance art; DeMarco did not set out with the idea of creating a cohesive album on this road trip, but ended it with something that very much resembled a record.

Interestingly, it doesn't feature a song for his final stop in rural Utah–Five Easy Hot Dogs seems to rest in its transience, dwelling on the journey rather than the destination.

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