No matter how sincere Mac DeMarco’s music gets (and in the case of heartfelt tracks like “She’s Really All I Need” and “Still Together,” that’s pretty damn sincere), his performances and music videos always read as half music act, half comedy act. For instance, the videos for the aforementioned tracks feature Mac performing with a Ziploc bag over his face, superimposing duplicate shots of himself dancing over an existing scene, and balancing his girlfriend on his shoulders, among other zany exploits. If you thought anything would change with his more mature recent album, This Old Dog, the “One Another” video is has now arrived to prove you wrong.
The song itself is an uplifting offering of hope to a friend who’s recently undergone a breakup-- “It's not like you never tried to forget her/But these days are better without one another” -- but every trace of that sentiment goes out the window in the video. Instead, what we get is a loose storyline about Mac chilling with Death. They watch E.T. and have awkward-looking conversations before Mac rapidly ages, lays on his deathbed, and is invited by Death to rock out one more time.
All the while, the storyline is backed by absurd videos of Mac and his band lip-synching and poorly pantomiming playing their instruments. Even when the direction is probably as simple as, “Just play the song shittily,” these guys really know how to ham it up for the camera. No shots at their musical skills, but Mac and his band would probably be just as successful as comedic actors.
It’s an interesting time for musical comedy, with more humor- or parody-driven acts like Tenacious D, Flight of the Conchords, or Garfunkel and Oates falling by the wayside as artists like Mac DeMarco, Father John Misty, and Vulfpeck, whose jokey on-camera and live personas exist almost separately from their earnest music, become more of the norm. In some ways, this model seems more sustainable-- “One Another,” for instance, is a song that can be enjoyed without the shallow impact of punch lines, but is also a music video that’s good for some serious lolz.