Yes, it’s tough being a white, trad-rock guitar guy today. People are saying you’ve dominated the cultural conversation for way too long and are loudly pushing back against you. The biggest rock stars are all rappers; female trap-poppers rule radio. Where do you go? How do you fit in?
Canadian upbeat balladeer Mac DeMarco has responded by – sigh – roving the wide-open plains of the well-mapped metaphorical American heartlandzzzzz, clutching what sounds suspiciously like a vial of authenticity, several buckets of perspiration and a saddlebag of James Taylor CDs. Cowboy may be similarly shaped to 2017’s This Old Dog – even encompassing another seven-minute semi-psych climax – but desperately misses that album’s emotional landmines. Instead, we get a grim, effortful affectlessness which reaches its lyrical nadir amid the gelded funk of Choo Choo (“choo choo take a ride with me/ Choo choo you can die”).