Single review: Declan McKenna – The Key to Life on Earth
Emily Pririe gives her verdict on Declan Mckenna’s latest single
The music of Declan McKenna has never failed to simultaneously bring joy to young people, whilst also simultaneously leading them into an existential crisis. At the age of 21, McKenna has already won Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent Competition, has had a number one on the Alt 18 Countdown with ‘Brazil’ and has released a widely acclaimed debut album. His musical talent don’t stop there, as he’s just released ‘The Key to Life on Earth’, a single from his upcoming album. It’s a catchy and fun song that appears upbeat on the surface; however, the song has a darker undertone. The lyrics explore what it is like to be made to feel like an outsider. McKenna states that ‘Jokers, happy go xenophobe locals have got it in for me’, showing the struggle of growing up in a town where people pick on one another.
Lovers of ‘The End Of The F***ing World’ and McKenna will be in heaven.
The music video is exquisite. It features Alex Lawther playing McKenna’s double, a comparison that has frequently been made in the media. We witness the pair becoming increasingly frustrated with one another as they battle across the screen in ant costumes. Lovers of ‘The End Of The F***ing World’ and McKenna will be in heaven.
For me, it’s the acoustic version of ‘The Key to Life on Earth’ that steals the show. On this version we only hear McKenna’s voice accompanied by a piano, meaning we are able to hear the poignant lyrics clearly. As the song develops McKenna’s voice gets louder and the pace increases, along with the tension. Both versions of the song are rich with texture. McKenna has provided two fantastic versions that you can listen to, depending on whether you are in a mood to dance or if you feel like sitting on the window daydreaming.