ALbum Review: Declan McKenna

words by Ava Butera

I’m going to be completely honest, when the first single was released off of this album I wasn’t thrilled. “Humongous” sounded very unlike McKenna’s usual sound that I first fell in love with. However, it slowly but surely grew on me. But in this moment I realized what sound the young singer was aiming for on this album, mature.

What Do You Think About The Car? is an eclectic handful of newly released songs and older ones McKenna decided to also include on this debut. Between the self-portrait of McKenna with glittery makeup as the artwork and the different sounds McKenna achieves throughout this musical journey, this album is truly something very different from what I’ve hear so far this year.

The song “Mind” starts off sounding very garage rock and I was instantly hooked on the repetitive chorus. It’s just one of those songs you can’t shake, and no matter how hard, it’s stuck in your head all day. However on moments like “Make Me Your Queen,” which happens to be my favorite off the entire album, it shows McKenna vulnerable and confessional.

And if you aren’t a fan of Declan’s different, but not that different sound? Have no fear! Three previously released songs from the Liar EP are featured on this album., as well as some singles. Fan-favorites such as “Paracetamol,” “Bethlehem,” “Isombard,” “The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home,” and of course, the song that made him one of the biggest unknown artists today, “Brazil,” are all on this album. Artists usually don’t include so many previously releases songs and want to give listeners brand new material, no matter how long it takes to curate the album. Again, I’m going to be honest here, I’m a huge fan of Declan’s work, but not this move. Listeners want brand-new stuff to consume, learn, and love. Although I’m not fond of this move, I do enjoy the songs he decided to put on this album and in the sequence he placed them, and therefore am not totally upset over the inclusion of the songs.

Later on the album, we get an upbeat and tambourine infused song called “Why Do You Feel So Down” and the 11-track album finally closes with “Listen to Your Friends” and this song brought me back to old Declan music. It’s a nice last track!

Overall, What Do You Think About The Car, is in no means a perfect album, however, it is an exceptional one, especially from such a young and new artist. Being so new to the music world, you wouldn’t expect something curated this professionally and different. I am thoroughly pleased with how McKenna adds his own flair to each song and with this album in full. I love Declan McKenna and cannot wait to see where he goes from here!

Check out What Do You Think About The Car on any streaming service to experience a great debut album and be sure to catch Declan on his small North American tour, which will last for the duration of August.