The 11th January 2017 saw the release of yet another amazing single by Declan McKenna: ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home’. With all new material heard, it still shocks us as to how he can deal with such difficult discussion points – transgender issues, race, religion and politics – and turn them into a song that makes you want to get up and dance, whilst opening our eyes to some of the problems in today’s society.
Declan McKenna is an English singer, songwriter, and musician best known for winning the Glastonbury Festival’s Emerging Talent Competition in 2015. NME called him “one of the most sought-after new acts” in the United Kingdom after this win, and he was offered record deals with 40 companies, eventually ending up with Columbia records.
In August 2015, McKenna self-released his first single, ‘Brazil’. The song criticised FIFA, the governing body of association football, for awarding the FIFA World Cup to Brazil in 2014 without addressing the extensive and deep poverty affecting the people in the country. McKenna later told DIY that he wrote the song because “it’s politics and what I see in the news, and it’s just general things I feel strongly about, things happening in my life”. Ironically, one of McKenna’s later singles, ‘Isombard’, actually features on the soundtrack to the FIFA 2017 football game.
BBC News called ‘Brazil’ an extraordinarily mature song for a 16-year-old songwriter. Matt Wilkinson at NME called it “one of the best songs” of 2015, and had high praise for McKenna’s second single, ‘Paracetamol’, as well.
His latest single, ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home’, is no exception to his political fuelled writing. It is in fact, arguably the most emotionally charged song he has released to date. Written just after the Paris terror attacks, it is his response to how the youth are often excluded from political discussions in the present day.
Here is what McKenna had to say about his latest track: “The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home is a song I wrote about being a young person in the modern world. It’s about wanting to challenge fears and be part of a movement of change, and looking for hope despite a lot of dark and horrible things happening around the world”.
Although McKenna has been criticised for being ‘yet another indie boy with a guitar’, the messages behind his music are what makes him stand out from the crowd. His exceptional ability to put such meaning into a song is truly incredible. His 2015 single, ‘Paracetamol’, deals with issues relating to transgender and suicide awareness. In an article for The Guardian, he explained it was inspired by Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teen who felt forced into suicide due to familial pressure to conform. It was a thrilling new development that a 16-year-old boy was choosing to write about “media’s representation of LGBT communities”.
McKenna is on tour later this month and into February. Find out more about him, his tour and his music here: