Brit singer/songwriter Declan McKenna impresses with meaningful, mature songwriting on his debut album, ‘What Do You Think About the Car?’
After releasing his Liar EP in May 2016, Declan McKenna drops his debut album, What Do You Think About the Car? McKenna, who’s only 18, is a truly gifted, up-and-coming singer/songwriter. Where many musicians his age are most concerned with romance only, McKenna packs a serious punch with deep messaging, transcendent beyond his years. Here are the top 5 songs from What Do You Think About the Car?
No. 1: “Paracetamol”
“Paracetamol” is arguably the most moving song from What Do You Think of the Car? Situational, McKenna covers several relevant topics, most notably acceptance and embracement of various relationships as opposed to judgement and needless persecution. Influenced by the death of Leelah Alcorn (an Ohio transgender teen whose story affected the world), it’s aimed at building respect and acceptance of the LGBT community. It’s titled Paracetamol because it’s a pain reliever. McKenna aims to ease the pain and show support for a community where such support can be difficult to muster.
No. 2: “The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home”
Momentum is on McKenna’s side on “The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home.” Energetic to the nth degree, McKenna paints a portrait where the youth are clearly disgruntled, not receiving sufficient care in regards to their voice. This is exemplified on the chorus, where he points the finger at the adversaries.
No. 3: “Brazil”
“Brazil” thrives off of its socially conscious messaging. Even though McKenna constructs a meaningful message, he manages to make the song incredibly catchy, particularly the chorus. Furthermore, soccer – better known as football internationally – plays a role in “Brazil,” as the singer/songwriter tackles corruption with FIFA. Also, he drops some religious references as well. Sigh, this definitely isn’t what most teenagers are writing or singing about.
Religion plays a large role on “Bethlehem,” evidenced by the title and the lyrical references. The connotation is negative on this particular song, something that McKenna addressed in an interview with Teen Vogue. That negative stuff he refers to are Christians who are “holier than thou,” yet sinful in their own right. On the chorus, he sings:
“Because I’m in Bethlehem / I got a seat in heaven/ And though I’m heaven sent / I can do as I want and you don’t have the right to choose.”
“Bethlehem” is another example of the genius of Declan McKenna. His messaging is pitch perfect here, even if it will upset some.
“Isombard” takes shots at the right-wing media in the U.S. It opens with arpeggiated synths, followed by the entrance of a percussive groove and full-fledged production. The chorus is catchy and epic. McKenna’s vocals are enthused, exuberant, and aggressive. Ultimately, “Isombard” is an adrenaline rush given the quick pace.
No. 5: “Humongous”
Throughout the course of “Humongous,” it’s clear that McKenna isn’t happy. He begins the record antagonistically, continuing to showcase angst on the chorus. What message is the British wunderkind getting at? It’s clear he’s speaking up for generation Z. While he focuses on the youth, he’s also speaking for much of society as a whole. The highlight comes when the tempo and energy increase, and McKenna delivers a truly biting performance.
All in all, What Do You Think About the Car? ends up being a fantastic debut album from Declan McKenna. At just 18 years old, he proves he has plenty to offer artistically.
Gems: “Humongous,” “Brazil,” “The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home,” “Isombard,” “Bethlehem” & “Paracetamol”