Canadian crooner Mac DeMarco released a new mini-LP last week, the self-effacing and tender Another One, and he made a short video for NPR Music to promote it. DeMarco takes a rowboat he bought for himself as a birthday gift out into the ocean near his Far Rockaway home — it's within a few hundred paddles of JFK, which you can see in the background — and performs a minimal version of "No Other Heart," a highlight from the album.
It's a lovely performance, cushioned by the sound of waves lapping against DeMarco's boat. But my friend and colleague Chris Plante couldn't help but feel like he'd seen something like it before, and it turns out he had — in a place you might not expect.
As you can see, Kapp'n the turtle beat DeMarco to the punch by almost three years as part of his appearance in Animal Crossing: New Leaf: simple pop songcraft, focused on matters of the heart and augmented by the rhythm of the ocean. Kapp'n's boat moves a little faster — it's motorized, after all — but he cuts the same lovelorn, roguish figure at its helm. He opts for a ukulele rather than a keyboard, but the melody is just as sweet. And he's a skilled lyricist, one who could probably ghostwrite for DeMarco if Mac ever felt the need to ask a virtual turtle for help:
Sometimes I kiss my own reflection in me window
And sometimes me neighbors walk by!
I'm just practicin' kissin'
It's all fer me sweetie pie
But those stares! Oh, those glares!
Neighbors must think I'm such a weird guy!
One day I'll build a house with me own hands
and we'll just see if it falls o-or stands!
I have two simple requests: put DeMarco in the next Animal Crossing game as a rival aquatic transportation operator, and get Kapp'n an opening act slot on DeMarco's next tour. These two are a match made in guitar-pop heaven.