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Mac DeMarco’s new album will need a nine-hour listening party


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Mac DeMarco’s new album will need a nine-hour listening party

Mac DeMarco just released a 199-song album – a whopping nine hours worth of new music that caught fans completely by surprise. His last album, Five Easy Hot Dogs came out not long ago in January 2023. One Wayne G, which dropped on April 21, is all unreleased tracks and demos that the indie musician created over the years. Most of the titles, spare for a few, are just dates arranged chronologically in the tracklist. Before that, DeMarco’s five-year hiatus left fans craving new music – which the recent release more than makes up for. 

The name, One Wayne G, is a reference to hockey great Wayne Gretzky, who played for the Edmonton Oilers. DeMarco grew up in Edmonton, and his record label shared photos of Gretzky on their Instagram stories. The record also gave DeMarco his biggest streaming day on Spotify with 11.4 million streams.

Surprise album releases have become fairly common in the music industry today. Just ask Taylor Swift, who enjoys taunting fans with cryptic easter eggs before suddenly announcing new music and sometimes not even giving us a day to process it. She did it with Folklore, Evermore and her most recent album, Midnights. Beyoncé dropped her self-titled fifth studio album with absolutely no prior announcements and took the BeyHive by surprise. 

We’ve also been lucky enough to witness other such experiments in length and genre throughout the history of music. George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass comes to mind first. Critics and fans widely consider it the first “triple” album — which includes three records released together across 23 tracks.

In 2007, Radiohead released their album In Rainbows through their website and allowed fans to pay whatever price they wanted for it. Almost no musician before them had attempted anything like it, and it was a questionable business model. But it made artists and listeners rethink how music is sold and bought. Frank Ocean rebelled against his former record label after they snubbed him in a similar way. He self-released his very first album, Nostalgia, Ultra on Tumblr for free in 2011.

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Increasingly, the surprise (or shock) value of a sudden album drop is working. Especially if it’s experimental and subverts the expectations of a stereotypical album structure. Fans are loving the excitement of almost 200 new tracks to add to their playlists. Sure, getting through it in one listen might require an all-nighter, but DeMarco makes it worth it. 

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