From his lyrical masterpieces to his unique stage presence, Declan Mckenna is unlike any artist the music industry has ever seen (or rather heard) before. At only twenty-two years old, he’s in the spotlight of success with his collection of various awards and achievements. The English singer/songwriter released his debut single entitled “Brazil” at the age of sixteen which was inevitably the main kick-off of his career. He later moved on to release his first studio album, “What Do You Think About the Car?”, in July of 2017, and his second album, “Zeros”, following in September of 2020.
But what makes him so different from the rest?
Although there are many impressive things about Declan Mckenna, his truly outstanding talent lies in his ability to captivate listeners through his lyricism. Because of this, it’s evident that Declan is no stranger to musical storytelling and creates powerful emotional connections with his audience. “So tell me what’s in your mind, and don’t forget your paracetamol smile.” This beautiful lyric taken from Mckenna’s song “Paracetamol” was written to represent those wearing a smile to mask their own pain–a “paracetamol smile.” He also shared in an interview with The Guardian that this particular song goes on to narrate how LGBTQ+ communities are represented within the media.
Declan determinedly advocates for social rights no matter how difficult the topic and does not hesitate to incorporate politics into his music. In his 2019 single, “British Bombs”, Mckenna voices his outlook on Great Britain’s role in the international arms trade. Not only is this a bold decision, but it shows Declan’s passion for using his platform to speak out on issues others might not want to engage in. However, this is not his only visible area of expertise.
Without a doubt, Mckenna is strategic in deciding the sound and overall feel of each album to cater to his audience and his personal songwriting style. There’s an indescribable nostalgic vibe in the album “What Do You Think About the Car?”, making it out to be the perfect soundtrack for a coming-of-age indie film. Seriously, if the track “The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home” doesn’t make you want to run away from everyone and everything, what will? It covers the topic of young people being excluded from political discourse and is striking in its emotional buildup (a common theme across many of Mckenna’s songs).
As for Declan’s second album, “Zeros”, there’s much more of a chaotic element in both the instrumentals and vocals, encouraging the need for the highest-volume listening experience. There’s nothing better than a thunderous final chorus to completely blow you away. The atmospheric change between these albums was accomplished smoothly and creatively, leaving spectators craving more.
Declan Mckenna is undeniably an influential and talented musician, so the next time you’re looking for new music, give him a listen–you won’t regret it.