Mac DeMarco's best songs
(Credit: Mac DeMarco)

Mac DeMarco’s best 17 songs – Ranked!

It’s time to get our rank on and Mac DeMarco is the subject.

Self-described as ‘jizz jazz’ and critically described as ‘slacker rock’, Mr DeMarco has an army of fans that will no doubt be baying for blood when they read this list.

With three full-length studio albums and two mini-LPs to choose from, we’d better get stuck right in there.

The ammunition, here’s the records that we have at our disposal to choose from:

  • 2 (2012)
  • Salad Days (2014)
  • This Old Dog (2017)
  •  Rock and Roll Night Club (2012)
  • Another One (2015)

So here we go, enjoy:

17 – ‘European Vegas’

Kicking things off, we’re starting where it all began.

Rock and Roll Night Club, ladies and gents, was released way back in 2012 and recorded in DeMarco’s Montreal studio at ‘Jizz Jazz Studios’ and released through Captured Tracks.

16 – ‘Moving Like Mike’

What was that? You want some jingle jangling guitars? Ok then.

‘Moving Like Mike’, we’re told, is a super nerdy ode to the great Michael Jackson which just about sums up DeMarco in more ways than one. This track, which sits in the eighth position of Rock and Roll Night Club, embodies what that record is all about.

Dreamy.

15 – ‘Let Her Go’ 

Hello, here we go then, business time.

Arguably the most recognisable track of DeMarco’s hit record Salad Days and took it to the mainstream when he decided to perform it live on the Conan show.

A track that displays DeMarco’s sweetheart lyrics in all their glory to sit alongside that naughty bass line:

14 – ‘The Stars Keep On Calling My Name’ 

A bit of young, teenage angst now. We move on to Mac’s debut full-length record with ‘2’ and introduce ‘The Stars Keep On Calling My Name’ as we find Mac trying to convince a girl to skip town with him

With no particular destination in mind, I just wanna go:

13 – ‘Only You’ 

Still trying to find his feet as a musician, DeMarco sampled different styles within his genre.

After listening to ‘Only You’ it will come as little surprise to learn that Mac is good friends with lo-fi master Alex Zhang who is better known as Dirty Beaches’. This track, along with its Morrissey-esque vocals, will have been recorded when DeMarco was spending a lot of time with Zhang.

Still somewhat of a hidden gem:

12 – ‘Blue Boy’ 

Back to Salad Days now and we welcome a bit more of nonchalance Montreal’s favourite indie rocker. While the messages, this record did come a bit of an eye-opener as DeMarco changed his style somewhat: “I didn’t want to freak anybody out with a huge sound change,” he said at the time of release. “I wanted to transition without changing the vibe too much.”

Well, with a slight style change musically came maturity. ‘Blue Boy’ is all about how shit things happen in life but sometimes, you just have to grow up:

11 – ‘Salad Days’ 

The album title track, it needed to be included really.

In what would be seen as a far more personal album, DeMarco took the time to offer his fans an insight into his way of thinking. Dealing with the comedown of ending a monster tour, DeMarco wanted to explain how he’s here to stay no matter how tired he’s feeling.

10 – ‘I’m A Man’ 

In all honesty, Rock and Roll Night Club is all over the place stylistically. The record was once described as “over-the-top”, “conceptual” and “a trashy, sleazy rock album that celebrated rock’s trashy, sleazy core.”

With all that in mind, he could only ever really close the album out with Lou Reed-style funk song telling the story of a Montreal man, right?

There are also some recognisable guitar sounds in this gem…

9 – ‘Chamber of Reflection’

Once described as Tyler, The Creator’s favourite Mac DeMarco song… so there’s that.

The concept, we’re told, is around Freemasonry which was once likened to his own home studio: “It’s a room people go into before you’re initiated into Freemasonry.

“It’s like a meditation room, and they lock you in there for a period of time. The purpose is to reflect on what you’ve done in your life already and move on from it. I think that’s what I did in [my home studio] right here. It was actually therapeutic. I feel a little enlightened, a little less heavy. It’s tight.” 

Well then.

8 – ‘Brother’ 

Salad Days was always going to do well here, wasn’t it?

‘Brother’ was the second single used to promote the album and it set up a different side to DeMarco, a dreamy sensitive side to sit alongside that now-iconic guitar that is so synonymous to what we’ve come to expect.

Take some advice from the big man: “Take it slowly brother / Let it go now, brother”

7 – ‘Me & Mine’ 

Very sneaky little move here, we’ve included a bonus track Rock and Roll Night Club with ‘Me & Mine’.

A relatively unknown number but an absolute winner and the type of sound you don’t hear from DeMarco, somewhat of a Real Estate/ Beatles edge to it.

6 – ‘Freaking Out the Neighbourhood’

We know too well that DeMarco has an unbreakable bond with his mother. She encouraged him to make music, she’s been his rock through the process, his inspiration and now she co-stars in multiple different press opportunities.

‘Freaking Out the Neighbourhood’ is all about him apologising to his mother for getting up to no good:

5 – ‘Cooking Up Something Good’

Feeling stressed? Got a lot on your mind? Need to find a release? Mac has got you.

The lead track from DeMarco’s 2012 LP, 2, is as dreamy as it comes. Take a moment to relax and have a listen to the childhood of your favourite indie gem:

4 – ‘My Old Man’

The only track selected from Mac’s most recent album This Old Dog. 

The dawn of a new era having upped sticks and moved to Los Angeles, DeMarco slowed things down a little having bid farewell to the hustle and bustle of New York. However, his personal, honest and revealing lyrics only continued to flourish.

“Oh no, looks like I’m seeing more of my old man in me,” he sings.

3 – ‘Passing Out Pieces’ 

Salad Days, baby. The lead single from the record was this number, ‘Passing Out Pieces’, a bold and honest step into an unknown new direction for the musician. The track signified a change in direction, maturity and an overwhelming sense of self-awareness.

It’s weird, it’s synth-heavy and we also have this ridiculous video to enjoy:

2 – ‘My Kind of Woman’ 

A lot of speculation about the origins of this song but the overwhelming acceptance appears to be DeMarco’s muse and longterm girlfriend Kiera McNally.

In what feels like a direct dialogue between the two, DeMarco sings “You’re my, my, my, my kind of woman,” before adding: “My, oh my, what a girl”.

Also, some genius had the idea of adding the track to iconic Jean-Luc Godard film Masculin Féminin and the results are spectacular.

1 – ‘Ode to Viceroy’ 

So here we are, we made it, number one and of course it is ‘Ode to Viceroy’, you knew it would be.

A tribute song to Mac DeMarco’s favourite brand of cigarettes, we couldn’t have it any other way could we?

Here it is:

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