Declan McKenna’s “What Do You Think About the Car?” is highly relevant


Bree Hart

Mckenna, known for his distinct and gender role-challenging costuming, performs live.

Angel Kim, Team Leader

In a short video clip, a young version of English singer and songwriter Declan McKenna is asked a question.

“Dec, what do you think about the car? Do you like it?”

“It’s really good, and I’m going to [name] my new album that.”

This exchange years later became the namesake of McKenna’s debut album, “What Do You Think About the Car?,” which was released on July 21. Five of the 11 tracks were previously released in extended previews, including the widely-known “Brazil.” Generally praised among fans old and new, the album leaves little to criticize, save for the album cover that fails to convey the album’s more laid back sound and lyrical depth.

The album begins with “Humongous,” melancholic and with a music video that perfectly visualizes its spirit. “Make Me Your Queen” is another standout, with its sober guitar riffs and high vocal notes creating an ethereal sound. The closing track “Listen to Your Friends” starts out with a charming tune and quickly turns political, raising emotions before softening once again. However, the biggest highlight of “What Do You Think About the Car?” is the fact that it manages to create a wide range of moods without including painfully slow-burning and sentimental songs.

At 18 years old, McKenna writes music that transcends his time, pulling influences from indie rock and catchy pop. While some critics see a need for polishing his act, the slightly- very slightly to most ears- unrefined production paired with agreeable vocals adds to the album’s tone.

Behind their catchiness, many lyrics in McKenna’s tracks are driven by issues in today’s world. For example, “Brazil” comments on corruption surrounding the 2014 World Cup, while “Paracetamol,” written following transgender teen Leelah Alcorn’s suicide, comments on the mistreatment of transgender people in the media. Overall, a running theme throughout “What Do You Think About the Car?” can be summed up in “The Kids Don’t Want to Come Home,” where McKenna expresses the restlessness associated with being a young person whose voice is often ignored in the political sphere.

As Generation Z members currently grow up in a society where issues quickly spreading through social media seem endless, McKenna’s “What Do You Think About the Car?” makes for a solid debut that hits home for today’s teens.