krcb header-tagline

support krcb button 2

Text Size

First Listen: Declan McKenna, 'What Do You Think About The Car?'

It might be easy to dismiss Declan McKenna as a young kid who writes catchy pop songs, but he's so much more than that. The 18-year-old Brit's debut album, What Do You Think About The Car?, proves that this young man has a tall talent for mixing politics, poetry and melody.

The songs here tackle deep issues, hardly the standard teenage angst or relationship drama you might expect from someone Declan McKenna's age. "Paracetamol" focuses on transgender youth. "Isombard" wrangles right-leaning television news and the justification of police brutality, lyrically convolving the words of Martin Luther King Jr. and E. E. Cummings. And "Bethlehem" deals with religion's ability to justify its actions of violence. "I can do as I want and you don't have the right to choose," he sings.

Many of these songs came out over the past two years, with "Brazil" jumpstarting his career in 2015 and earning him the winning spot in Glastonbury Festival's, Emerging Talent Competition. Despite the fact that Declan McKenna wrote these songs over the course of such formative times, they all hold together rather well. What Do You Think About The Car? isn't just a batch of good songs — it's a powerful, clever album.

One of the simple touches that connects the tracks are small vignettes of children speaking between cuts, playing off the narrative of the previous song. I asked him about the idea behind these charming moments.

"A lot of the album revolves around themes of youth," he said. "And I think there are purposeful childish and playful ideas and sounds that run throughout the album, having a few children's voices splitting up the album was never really originally intended but once the ideas came it seemed almost meant to be."

The very best of these moments comes before the first song, taken from his own family's home videos: The voices are that of Declan McKenna and his oldest sister, Rosanna. She asks a 4-year-old Declan, "Dec, what do you think about the car? Do you like it?" and his response is brief and prophetic: "I like it, it's really good and now I'm going to sing my new album now."

A 4-year-old determined and playful Declan McKenna: That pretty well sums up who you'll hear on this seriously high-spirited and thoughtful album.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Original Source

Music News

Default Image
Jan 15

The Boundary-Breaking Success Of Edwin Hawkins' 'Oh Happy Day'

Edwin Hawkins' "Oh Happy Day" was an accidental hit. The song, a gospel-style rework of an 18th century hymn, starts with a jazzy drum beat and a kind of blues pop piano groove.
Default Image
Jan 15

How Benny Goodman Orchestrated 'The Most Important Concert In Jazz History'

By 1938, clarinetist Benny Goodman was already known as "The King of Swing" — the leader of the most popular dance band in America at a time when swing jazz was America's most popular music.
Default Image
Jan 15

Song Premiere: Mt. Joy, 'Jenny Jenkins'

Developing its musical roots in Philadelphia, Mt. Joy — one of the new class of Slingshot bands — is set to release its self-titled debut album on March 2. Founding members Matt Quinn (vocals/guitar)…
Default Image
Jan 15

Sunflower Bean, 'I Was A Fool' (Live At Pickathon)

When Sunflower Bean released Human Ceremony in 2016, a lot of ears perked up. It was an extraordinarily mature debut for a band whose three members — Julia Cummings, Nick Kivlen and Jacob Faber —…
Default Image
Jan 15

Jimmy Fallon Channels Trump Criticism Through James Taylor

"I didn't do it to humanize him," Jimmy Fallon told The New York Times last May, of the much-criticized hair ruffling he gave a pre-election Donald Trump during a 2016 interview.