Review Summary: The DeMarco interview we've yet to see.
12:30 A.M. You've been perusing through the telly when your non-committal channel surfing is interrupted by a bunch of vertical multicolored bars. Frustrated, or as much as you can be in this dormant state, you lie there waiting for your quality programming to pop back up on the screen. The bars become something to watch. And staring at those vibrantly colored, yet empty and unmoving lines, you notice your eyes have been burning. You notice how late it's getting, how uncomfortably those chip crumbs have been nestled under your shirt all night. And you notice that you don't remember the entertaining content you've been ingesting for the past eight hours. In the midst of the concentrated TV projection and the acquired grogginess, you come across some overwhelmingly nondramatic realizations. You pick yourself up, brush the snack remains off of your chest, click the power button, and get some rest for the next cycle. This Old Dog sees Mac DeMarco gazing into the afterglow and coming across some uncustomary awareness, finding moments of dread turning into reassurance and turning back once again.
Mac sees himself becoming his father, growing old, slowing down in My Old Man. This Old Dog comforts his love, and himself, by searching for the advantages of growing set in his ways and remaining faithful. But as we see in his shifting experiences and feelings throughout the album is that Mac is not growing stagnant in his behavior, but paradoxically in his cycles of behavior. He transitions into denial over the departure of his girlfriend in For the First Time. This devolves into reaction formation in One Another, as Mac feigns acceptance of the end of their relationship, which devolves back into undying love in Still Beating.
Finally, in One More Love Song, Mac observes the unending consolidation and deterioration of his romantic life. Yet it seems to go beyond simply his love life. He chides "one more love out to break your heart", yet titles the track "One More Love Song". It's yet another love song by Mr. DeMarco, but with a meta twist. He's written about love and heartbreak before, but now he's looking back on them as an older, wiser man. With his newfound understanding, Mac more directly addresses what started the cycle in the first place - his father. Yet instead of merely noting disappointing similarities to his dad, as in the starting track, he contemplates getting in touch with him. He considers breaking his sluggish cycle and receiving some closure from the originating source of his patterns.
Lyrically, Mac's songwriting on This Old Dog is distinct from his previous work. His revelations aren't extravagant, but they convey more with less, as Mac attempts to swallow them along with us. Conversely, the musical songwriting is rather familiar. More cautious, but familiar. A man seeing new faces in old friends. Together they drive home the idea that Mac is reaching an awakened internal state in which he comprehends his damaging, cyclical behavior, but is swept up in his established lifestyle and struggles to transcend it.