Dude, where's my car?Columbia Records, 2017
6.4 / 10
My first exposure to Declan McKenna came via his single, “Brazil”. Initially, it was very catchy, but its destiny was to replay constantly on Sirius XM’s Alt Nation and Spectrum channels. Eventually, catchy came to mean “annoying”. Declan’s youthful, voice cracking final line, “Well, he talks like an angel but he looks like me!” grated the nerves. Keep in mind that these listens were only at a surface level. Never once did I pay much attention to the lyrics. This apparently was a mistake as there’s more to this Declan McKenna than meets the eye or meets the ear. What’s immediately discernible is that he’s probably a good looking guy and knows his way to an infectious hook. This remains true on his debut, What Do You Think About The Car? However, his lyrics reveal his cleverness even more than “Brazil”.
That song was the corruption within the FIFA organization, an interesting topic to say the least. Even more interesting that a 16-year-old British kid wrote it. Now 18, McKenna’s songs take on a myriad of current issues/events. There’s frustration toward government as well as commentary on police brutality and transgender individuals. Very millennial in that he addresses lots of the popular social activism issues. But here, it feels honest. McKenna is a part of the younger millennial generation, the less cynical side that wants to change the world. “Humungous” makes this desire most apparent as he sings of facing bias because of his youth. He wants his voice to be heard just as loudly as anyone from an older generation.
However, the real question is will McKenna’s audience feel the same? Will they even dig into the meaning behind his songs and hear more than just the hooks and vibrant arrangements? The result will likely be split. And listening with ears in the future may prove some sentiments and thoughts here are a little too simple. However, it’s a good start for the young singer. He even brings along some kids in the studio just to push a theme of youth even further. Maybe even somewhat annoyingly. Okay, we get it, you’re young and you have many great years ahead of you to write great songs. Quit bragging already.