The thing that always astounds me about Declan McKenna is the fact that he's 18, and he's just released an album that has been years in the making. Having an album that started being in the works when he was only 15 and he penned the FIFA bashing tune, Brazil. When you really think about that, it just blow my mind. When I was 15 I could barely make a Pot Noodle, let alone write one of the best singles of the past 5 years. Anyway, what Declan delivers is very upbeat, retro inspired tunes with such damning and prolific lyrics behind them. Sometimes it will take many, many listens to even understand what he's trying to get at with the song and that makes the listens very interesting because it's almost as if they are layered to work like that. If you take the opener to the album, Humongous, at first this single sounds like a large, indie pop tune about the same old teen-angst. However, once you delve deeper you find that this record is representative of the political disconnect with young people and the fact that Politicians act as if they know us, but they don't and instea they're just being condescending with their thoughts that we're always 'on our phone' or 'obsessed with our hair'. I think the fact that Declan McKenna lays this over such an upbeat and uplifting track shows the complete contrast he can work with to layer his songs.
The second song from the album, and an early single of Declan McKenna's is the aforementioned Brazil. I've spun this song a ridiculous amount of times but it's only recently I've realised that it's about corruption within the FIFA corporation, instead I thought it was just your average "stick it to the man" Indie anthem, and that is something that he expertly does, he creates these anthems where you'll enjoy the beat and the tune so much that you'll just completely turn off to the lyrics at hand, which in turn must be a blessing and a curse for Declan. Because on one hand his music is a lot more accessible for everyone, but on the other people aren't paying attention to what he has to say. And I'm not criticising him for this, because I think it's an incredible talent to be able to twist and distort the sensory feelings of a song in such a way. The same happens on my favourite song on the album, The Kids Don't Wanna Come Home, a song about how disjointed the youth are in political conversations, how we are never even thought of. A song penned not long after the terror attacks in Paris, I think it displays the raw emotion of Declan McKenna's expert songwriting skills. What this record effectively does is provide a revolution call for the youth, and it does it at a blistering pace with no holds barred throughout the record. And Declan has such a unique singing voice, that in many terms he actually can't sing, yet on his own records it's so iridescently perfect that I just want more and more.
Make Me Your Queen is another one of my favourites on the album, I remember hearing this for the first time on Declan McKenna's Glastonbury set. It sounded so epic live I couldn't wait to hear the CDQ version, and it didn't disappoint. The incredibly twisted love song reminds me of something someone like Banks or Lorde would sing, yet with Declan's incredibly unique vocals it always adds an extra element to the song However, this song doesn't utilise the happy-go-lucky beat that you would have become accustomed to at the start of the album. Which expresses how he can differentiate his sound. Paracetamol is one of those songs where it just feels important before you even listen to the lyrics, it deals with the tragic suicide of a transgender girl after her family refused to refer to her by her chosen gender. The lyrics take the position of the figure of authority, and over th softer beat it ensures that this song is incredibly hard hitting and emotional to the point where you wouldn't be wrong to think that Declan went through this terrible trauma himself.
What this abum did so expertly was grab my attention from the first note in Humongous to the very last on Listen To Your Friends, what I found myself thinking after that very last song was that I didn't wan this album to finish, instead I wanted Declan McKenna to continue airing his problems with society and everything he thinks is wrong with the world and then I would have been much happier. However, this album isn't short by any stretch as it stand at 11 full, blistering tracks there's no qualms with it being too short other than the fact than I wanted to keep listening. So I listened to the album again, and then I listened to it again. And then I realised that this album attains everything I wanted it to be and more. And I can't stop listening, which leads me to a question for you. What do you think about the car?