Admittedly, it can be hard to get excited about yet another teenage boy with a guitar.
Declan McKenna is one of those, and although his music skirts the border of generic indie, it’s the personality behind it that makes it worth a listen.
In an article for The Guardian, he outlined the lyrical content of single “Paracetamol” in greater detail. It’s inspired by Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teen who felt forced into suicide due to familial pressure to conform. It was a thrilling development - particularly in the often hypermasculine and exclusionary indie sphere - that a 16-year-old boy was choosing to write about “media’s representation of LGBT communities”.
Fast-forward almost a year, and McKenna’s name is speeding towards Jake Bugg-esque ubiquity. His youth certainly confers an advantage when it comes to social media. Several of his tweets have gone viral after striking chords with an audience who won’t remember when the O2 Arena was called the Millennium Dome. It’s this same audience that new single “The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home” is tailored to; those who won’t question the overbearing influence of noughties indie that fails to impress many older listeners.
The truth is that McKenna’s genius - and by consequence his appeal - lies not in his (admittedly formulaic) song construction. “The Kids Don’t Wanna Go Home” is a middle finger to the adults looking down their noses at the youth of today, buoyed by insistent faith in the power of young people’s desire to change the damn world already. Dig deeper than the practiced pop sheen, and listen. Maybe you’ll be surprised.