“There’s a girl, fifteen, with her head in a noose / Because she’s damned to live, well she’s damned to choose.” Chilling lyrics. Shockingly, the lyrics were penned by a teenager, British singer/songwriter Declan McKenna. Oft times, teen musicians are associated with ‘bubblegum’ music, perceived to lack any semblance of depth or transcendence. That’s not the case with McKenna on “Paracetamol,” which appears on his Liar (EP) (2016) and is reprised on his debut album, What Do You Think About the Car? (2017). According to McKenna’s interview with Wonderland Magazine, the title refers to “transgender conversion therapy… a metaphor for someone saying that there is a cure for being who you are.”
“Paracetamol” atones for a cruel, judgmental society regarding the LGBTQ community, particular those who are transgender. McKenna uses various examples of youth, suffering because they want the freedom to live and love as they choose. Unfortunately, some feel like the only choice is suicide. “There’s a boy, fifteen, with a gun in his hand,” McKenna sings at the top of the record, later adding that society doesn’t understand why the boy chose to kill himself – “They don’t understand why they love like they do, like they do.” Further capturing the torment, McKenna incorporates religious imagery, representing the judgmental views that some religions, religious folks and institutions impose. On the final verse, he’s the most supportive, the ‘voice of reason’ where the world fails:
“Why do you waste your talent
The world around you’s manic
Do you have no shame?
Come on to me, come on to me.”
What should everyone take away from this McKenna gem? Spread love, not hate. Be respectful and supportive, as opposed to destructive.
You can learn more about Declan McKenna here:
About The Curator - Brent Faulkner
Slightly eccentric with interests that seem to know no ends, restless ‘Renaissance Man’ is the best way to characterize Brent Faulkner, a native of Kentucky. A certified music educator, multi-instrumentalist, and composer known for his incredibly sharp ear, he lives and breathes music of a variety of styles. In addition to passion for educating, performing, and writing music, he’s equally passionate blogging and writing about it, managing his own site, The Musical Hype (https://themusicalhype.com). When he’s not intensely analyzing music, you can find him reading or watching a movie, reality television or some sporting event.