Mac DeMarco’s song, “This Old Dog,” mixes slight psychedelic tones with a contemporary dream-pop style to create a calm and lethargic melancholic air. The song feels suspended – gentle and rustic, acoustic jangly guitar tones lifted by a bendy lushness that stretches out, like a yawn. The track is accentuated by a simple and authentic drum beat. There is a reserved brightness to the cymbals that parallels the airiness of the acoustic, and contrasts the dark weight of the electric guitar. The beat is snappy and groovy, fitting nicely with the diverging crispness of the acoustic, and the rising warmth of the overhanging electric.
DeMarco’s vocals sound youthful and experienced at the same time – there is an emphatic and conscious melancholy that persists throughout. His singing sounds like a tired lament. The vocals play with spacing very well, allowing his singing to cohere with the instrumentation in an unobtrusive way. The openness and the intricacies of the interplay between vocals and instrumentation creates a peaceful drifting ambiance. A subtle and grounded bass-line moves everything. It’s all simple, but nuanced and prudent. The song sounds like a vibrant dream. The listener is carried through it.