Declan Mckenna’s Zeros Paves Way for Pessimistic Pop


During his 2017 concert in La Maroquinerie, Paris, Declan McKenna longingly looks out into a lively crowd. Photo courtesy of Stars Are Underground from France.

Declan Mckenna battled the legendary band The Rolling Stones for the spot at Number 1 on the Official Albums Chart. Despite landing at Number 2, only 800 sold physical copies behind his competitor, Mckenna still celebrates the release of his new album to the rest of the globe.

Growing up in an uncensored society with access to essentially everything, Generation Z has adapted to be cynical of everything they come across. The unforgiving, outspoken, and discouraging nature of Zeros by Declan Mckenna gives modern teens and young adults a healthy outlet for their feelings regarding a cruel, doomed world.

Junior Alyssa Camacho said, “One lyric that stuck with me was ‘You used to speak your mind, so jealous but so kind’. I feel it has a deeper meaning behind it that I have yet to discover” in reference to the album’s opening song “You Better Believe!!!”.

Zeros and its many tracks have the capability to redefine the anatomy of the current pop song. Along with an experimental sound, there are lyrics about universal problems from the destruction of the world, both literally and figuratively, to figuring out the confusing time of adolescence.

“A main theme in the album was clearly space and zodiac, as well as the way he portrayed it as the world colliding with asteroids, which I find extremely interesting,” said Camacho.

Some of the issues addressed in Mckenna’s lyrics include climate change and the destruction of global habitats, human hostility against one another, and technology feeding into future inequality. Mckenna is blunt with his audience about today’s problems which expose his vulnerability and demonstrates to his audience that it’s okay to worry over helpless global events.

At just twenty-one years old, British indie-pop music artist Declan Mckenna released his second album Zeros on September 4th, 2020. He tells the narrative of feeling lost and hopeless in a vast, dying planet, an almost universal feeling across many Gen-Zers, disguised with a peppy beat and melody.