Single Review: Mac DeMarco – 'On the Level'

Monday, April 17, 2017

Your favourite gap-toothed Canadian has released the third single off of his upcoming album This Old Dog, which is set for release on May 5th.

The new tender jam 'On the Level' speaks to the album’s theme of family, opening with lyrics “Boy this could be your year/Make your old man proud of you/Forget about the tears". And thus, offers us another insight into his paternal relationships — something that’s become a recurring motif in the artist’s music.

Instrumentally, woozy synths and a hardly audible drumbeat are the perfect accompaniment for Mac’s crooning, echoing vocals. 

While in true Mac style, the #hashtag king has chosen accompanying visuals that are just a bit bonkers. They feature what appears to be a chill AF Darth Sidiousconstantly rotating against a doodled upon background, which is a nod to an album artwork cover used by his old band Makeout Videotape. Onyaa Mac.

But is it single-worthy? 

Newcomers to Mac’s music could easily toss this track off as background fodder. But I don’t think 'On the Level' was made for them. Loyal fans will appreciate the realness of this track, which showcases a softer side to this beer-chugging goofball. And given streaming’s impact on the music industry, it makes sense for artists to release as many tracks as possible before the launch of an album (but that’s a conversation for another time). So while 'On the Level' probably won’t reach the same success as his earlier hits like 'Freaking Out The Neighbourhood' or even 'Salad Days', it’s still able to stand on its own.

It will be interesting to see if the rest of the album diverts back to tracks more suitable for his high-energy, crowd-surfing-heavy, live performances. 

Written by Abbey O'Connell