Words by Emma // @emmasuraya
- Declan McKenna releases long awaited debut album, 'What Do You Think About The Car?'
- Lyrically tackling topics from political disparity, to corporation corruption, to the twisted lens of the media
- The album comes intricately laced with personal soundbites and musical detail
- In just 47 minutes, McKenna expresses emotions and lyrical skill far beyond his 18 years
Frequently found described as 'the definition of woke', it's no secret that Declan McKenna has got shit to say. And with the long-awaited release of his debut album, 'What Do You Think About The Car?', we finally get to hear it, packed into just 47 well-versed minutes.
McKenna – who gained acclaim after the self-release of his first single 'Brazil' in 2015, and the win of Glastonbury Festival's Emerging Talent Competition shortly afterwards – opens the tracklist with the very soundbite that titles the album. In it, his sister is heard to ask her then four year old brother, "Dec, what do you think about the car? Do you like it?" to which he replies, "It's really good, and I'm going to sing my new album now." And so we begin.
Similar snippets of real-life dialogue, amongst other charming quips and noises, are littered throughout the album; most notably at the conclusion of 'The Kids Don't Wanna Come Home', where you really do hear what the kids have to say about coming home.
This track is just one of many examples of the socio-political charge McKenna has so well embedded within his Britpop inspired sound; here capturing feelings of hope and confusion for the young people of today.
Narrating his views on tougher topics - such the mediated portrayal of LGBT communities in 'Paracetamol' and racial discrimination in 'Isombard' - is nothing new to McKenna; and the subtlety and style with which he tackles it demonstrates the skill of a lyricist far beyond his years.
That said, thanks to the jaunty, incessantly catchy indie rock sound of McKenna and his band, the record is not as entirely deep and protesting as the lyrics alone may suggest. The album feels genuine and pleasantly experimental; suggesting a world of possibility for McKenna's eventual follow up.
So go 'Listen To Your Friends', and find out what you think about the car too.