Track Exchange: "Robson Girl", by Mac Demarco

This is the first in a series in which my mentee, Jose, and I exchange tracks that are worth hearing, and write up our immediate responses upon hearing them. You can read Jose's first post here.

Jose's first entry is "Robson Girl", by Mac Demarco.

First response:

This song is definitely somebody's summer jam, meaning this is the first time since I moved to San Diego that it feels kind of unseasonable, but it provides its own warmth. 

It starts out with a jangly guitar riff that feels to me like driving to the beach. I was immediately reminded of "Steady as She Goes" by the Raconteurs. Most of the track stays mellow, but the guitar is shimmery enough, and Demarco's voice rough enough, that it avoids the soporific levels of mellowness that you get from, say, Jack Johnson or Jason Mraz. 

Then, after meandering through the chords for a couple minutes, Demarco takes it to the bridge, with what sounds to me like a heavily distorted slide guitar. Without this break, the main riff would get pretty old, but with it, it's a shimmery, summery treat. 

I don't know anything about Mac Demarco, but the whole thing has a very British feel - I'd go so far as to say a very "britpop" feel - as if Blur had stayed cheerful when they went lo-fi -which is no bad thing

Further research:

Well I'll be, he's Canadian! Wikipedia wasn't especially forthcoming about him, except to say that he's been critically acclaimed, toured with the Japandroids (who I've been meaning to listen to for a while) and has been on Conan. I'll have to listen to more of his stuff!

An inspection of the lyrics on Genius didn't give me any insight into what a "Robson girl" is, but it did make it obvious that the song has hardly any lyrics.

Why I chose MY track this week.

My contribution to Track Exchange this week was "Drive", by REM. I felt obliged to start with something from the nineties, since that's when I went to high school. I never became a huge REM fan, but there most atmospheric songs are some of my favorite songs ever, and it doesn't get any more atmospheric than "Drive". Also, the song's posture towards music (and life in general) could not be more nineties. I mean, it's got Michael Stype deadpanning "Hey, kids, Rock n' Roll, nobody tells you where to go" with about as much inflection as Daria (look her up, Jose), but the song builds to totally sincere, lighters-in-the-air emotional climax (it's got STRINGS, for goodness' sake). And if nineties rock is about ANYTHING, it's about pretending not to care, while actually caring SO MUCH it hurts. The video matches this perfectly, with Stype staring dead-eyed into the camera and singing while crowd-surfing. 

You can read Jose's response to my track here.

My next track: "Maybe The People Would Be The Times Or Between Clark And Hilldale" by Love