Album Review: Declan McKenna – “What Do You Think About The Car?”

It’s finally here. The long-awaited album from Declan McKenna. The young minds of today, just won’t sit back and relax, and “What Do You Think About The Car?” is a prime example that the future doesn’t seem as forlorn.

With a major record label deal and Glastonbury appearance under his belt at the mere age of 18, Declan McKenna has the youthful self-confidence to tackle material that older songwriters rarely touch at all.

‘What Do You Think About The Car?’ opens with previously released ‘Humongous’, which is a humongous track by name and nature. The chorus is massive and just shows what Declan is all about – memorable choruses backed with drums, catchy beats and guitar riffs. Before ‘Humongous’ however, is the clip of Declan and his sister talking about the car – the audio from this video, which sets the scene for the whole album.

Six of the eleven tracks on the debut album we have previously heard – ‘Humongous’, ‘Brazil’, ‘Isombard’, ‘Bethlehem’, ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home’ and ‘Paracetamol’. ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home’ is possibly one of the biggest tracks on the album with its relevant underlying meaning for the youth of today. This song was still a work-in-progress up until the Paris attacks on the 13th November 2015. He realised he experienced first-hand what he was trying to indicate in the song itself –  young people enduring a sense of powerlessness, and helplessly watching those in power cause uncertainty for their own futures. It is a song that prompts a feeling of hope and how the youth want to make a positive change for the future.

Declan is notoriously known for expressing his wisdom beyond his youthful age in his songs, expressing political and social issues in his tracks, it’s a piece of catchy indie-pop on the surface, but ‘Brazil’ has lyrics that take a dig at corruption within football organisation FIFA. Right from the get go, it was obvious McKenna’s young age didn’t make him fit to any stereotypes, he is his own character. The songs laced with confidence, and gifted lyrics, if this album isn’t enough to make you fall in love with Declan McKenna, then I don’t know what will.

‘Paracetamol’ is another of McKenna’s tracks was inspired by the tragic case of Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teenager in the US who committed suicide. He wrote ‘Paracetamol’ to address the misrepresentation of transgender teens in the media. The song is heartfelt and emotive, and nonetheless another infectious song by Declan.

‘Bethlehem’ was written about religion being used to justify hate crime and ‘Isombard’ focused on the newsreader’s misinterpretation of what story he is trying to tell. The whole album is one huge stunning piece of music. The topics are serious, whereas the sounds bleeding through are indie rock, showcasing an obvious love of David Bowie and Abba.

A shining star on the album, is ‘Make Me Your Queen’. It depicts a rare moment of intimacy, as he laments the ache and lust of unrequited love, again with a delicacy and wisdom beyond his years.

This is only the start for Declan McKenna, an absolutely amazing, euphoric start.

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