Declan McKenna, ‘Paracetamol’ | Track Review
As Declan McKenna releases his debut album, ‘What Do You Think About the Car?’ he reprises several gems from his ‘Liar’ EP, including “Paracetamol.”
The moment has finally arrived. After releasing his Liar EP in May 2016, Declan McKenna drops his debut album, What Do You Think About the Car? McKenna, who’s only 18, is a truly gifted, up-and-coming singer/songwriter. One of the four songs that appeared on Liar, “Paracetamol,” is reprised on What Do You Think About the Car? (Track #10). Back in 2016, “Paracetamol” had our undivided attention.
While “Brazil” – another reprisal – earned honors as the catchiest song off of Liar, “Paracetamol” was the most moving song. Situational, McKenna covers several relevant topics. He references suicide early on, characterizing an unnamed boy.
“There’s a boy, fifteen with a gun in his hand / and the people with no audience say should be hanged / They ask for his motive but they don’t understand / Why they love like they do, like they do.”
Early on, McKenna paints a picture of persecution, because they boy is LGBT. He doesn’t have to use the terminology, as it becomes clearer later with his next example, as well as the inspiration for “Paracetamol.”
McKenna continues on the first verse, referencing a different victim:
“A girl, fifteen, with her head in a noose / because she’s damned to live, well she’s damned to choose / And the animals walked in twos by twos / Showing love like they do, like they do…”
Once more, the topic is centered around love – acceptance and embracement of various relationships as opposed to judgement and needless persecution. “Paracetamol” was influenced by the death of Leelah Alcorn (an Ohio transgender teen whose story affected the world) and is aimed at building respect and acceptance of the LGBT community. So why is it called “Paracetamol?” Likely because Paracetamol is a pain reliever. McKenna aims to ease the pain and show support for a community where such support can be difficult to muster.
“Paracetamol” is a big song touting a transcendent message. In 2016, it graced a couple of our lists. On July 5, 2016, the song was pegged one of 10 Recent Meaningful Songs Worth Spinning. The next day, it appeared on our Best Songs of 2016 (So Far) at #27. On October 6, 2016, it appeared on our 20 Notable LGBT Songs Released in the Last Five Years, at #5. Finally, it made the final cut of 50 Best Songs of 2016, published on December 15, 2016. “Paracetamol” closed out the year at #38.
Declan McKenna • What Do You Think About the Car? • Columbia • Release: 7.21.17
Photo Credit: Columbia