Mac DeMarco – “On the Level” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

Mac DeMarco’s “On the Level” is a deep dive into themes of legacy, fatherhood, and self-acceptance. The songwriter reflects on his relationship with his father, urging himself to let go of past hurts and to face life with maturity. It’s a message of personal growth and understanding the complexities of parental relationships. DeMarco wrote this song as a contemplative piece, perhaps to find closure and peace with his own experiences.

Have you ever wondered how our relationships with our parents shape us? “On the Level” by Mac DeMarco touches on this tender topic, exploring the nuanced emotions tied to family and personal growth.

“On the Level” Lyrics Meaning

The song starts with a tone of encouragement, “Boy, this could be your year.” DeMarco might be speaking to himself, acknowledging the progress he’s made. “You’re making all man proud of you” hints at a desire for paternal approval, a common thread in many people’s lives.

“Forget about the tears” is a call to move past old grievances and pain. “On the level” and “See me eye-to-eye” seem to be a desire for an equal, mature conversation, perhaps one that DeMarco wishes he could have with his father.

“Stand up like a man, even from the underside” conveys a message of strength and resilience, of facing life head-on, no matter the circumstances. “On the level” here repeats as a mantra, emphasizing balance and steadiness.

The next verses, “Man, I never had a choice, Never had a chance, Never had a voice,” reflect a feeling of powerlessness, perhaps in his relationship with his father or in life in general. “Carrying a name, Fall until my final days, Now who’s there left to blame?” This series of lines captures the weight of carrying a family legacy, the inevitability of life’s ups and downs, and ultimately, a release of blame.

The song concludes with repeated phrases of “On the level,” underscoring the theme of finding balance and peace within oneself.

The Story Behind “On the Level”

Mac DeMarco wrote “On the Level” during a transitional period in his life. He was grappling with the complexities of his relationship with his estranged father, who had been absent for most of his life. The song reflects DeMarco’s journey towards understanding and forgiving his father, as well as his quest for inner stability.

The phrase “on the level” serves as a metaphor for balance and honesty, themes DeMarco was evidently striving for in his personal life. The lyrics depict a man coming to terms with his past, seeking approval, and learning to stand strong, despite the challenges he faced.

In summary, “On the Level” is a poignant reflection on fatherhood, legacy, and the journey towards self-acceptance, written during a time when DeMarco was navigating these complex emotions himself.