SONG REVIEW: Declan McKenna's "British Bombs"

 

Declan McKenna, the English singer-songwriter known for his political themes, is back after an almost two-year hiatus with a new single, “British Bombs”.

Produced by James Ford, the song sports a very Arctic Monkeys (who Ford also produces for) sound. With peppy guitar and alternative pop vocals, it’s easy to miss just how dark and thought-provoking the lyrics are.

The verses call attention to the UK’s current state. The images McKenna paints with his lyrics are stunning, singing in his opening verse, “My baby brother has already got a gas mask / ‘Cause it’s a good old-fashioned landslide killing with your hands tied.” Both of these lines allude to British political figureheads and their war declarations in the Middle East.

McKenna explained how it’s about “Britain being at war all the time”, which even appears as a lyric in the bridge: “Get real, kid, your country’s been at war since birth now,'' a sentiment all too true for children born post-9/11.

One of the best parts of this song is its chorus. Starting every line with the word “great” not only makes the song catchy but also calls attention to how large and far-reaching these wars and political agendas reach. And when McKenna reaches the last lyric in the chorus, the one that mentions bombs, he is practically yelling; the frustration in his voice is apparent.

The video is no less shocking. Taking an approach similar to the YouTube channel Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared, with childish dolls combined with disturbing shots of food and melting animals, the video lets you know right away you won’t be comfortable watching it.

When we reach the chorus, there’s a Schoolhouse Rock style of animation, with footage of British bombs, military vehicles, and war-torn cities cut interspersed throughout.

It’s a reality-check inspiring song and music video, almost a more direct and in your face version of John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change”.

And McKenna isn’t just voicing his opinions just to complain; some of the single’s revenue from to charity.


You can stream “British Bombs” now on multiple platforms.