2018 saw the rise of the “yeehaw agenda,” a movement revolving around the reclamation of cowboy culture. It started slowly and gained traction through memes, songs like Beyoncé’s “Daddy Lessons,” and even TikTok, which helped skyrocket “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X to stratospheric heights.
This year, we have prince of indie rock Mac DeMarco jumping on the yeehaw train with his fourth album, Here Comes the Cowboy. It’s the first album to be released on his new label, Mac’s Record Label.
In “Hey Cowgirl,” DeMarco invites a cowgirl to “try the big city lights for a while,” and “All of Our Yesterdays” is a bittersweet number about the passage of time, featuring country-inspired lead licks and an absolutely beautiful sun-drenched chorus.
DeMarco’s previous album, This Old Dog, his most personal release to date, contained lyrics relating to his relationship (or lack thereof) with his alcoholic father. On Here Comes the Cowboy, DeMarco still has some serious feelings to unburden through his usual brand of laid back indie rock. One example is the slow and solemn lead single “Nobody,” where he expresses his disillusionment with being in the public eye and how he can’t go back to being a nobody.
We also get to see his classic goofball persona shine through for the first time since his debut album, 2. On “Choo Choo,” he sings about riding a train over funky instrumentals, and at the end of “Baby Bye Bye,” there’s a two-minute-long jam outro with DeMarco falsetto singing “yeehaw,” with plenty of screaming, and maniacal cackling.
Here Comes the Cowboy isn’t exactly country, but it shows DeMarco is willing to take risks. Musically, it’s minimalistic, but there’s beauty in its simplicity. He wears his heart on his sleeve through his lyrics and proves again that he’s a compelling songwriter and a driving force in indie rock.