2016 was when I first became aware of the music of English singer/songwriter Declan McKenna when I first hear heard the single Isombard. There was something about the abstract lyrics and interesting sonic choices that were being made across the track that attracted me to the song and made me want to learn more about the person who created it.
McKenna got his first real breakthrough when in 2015 he successfully won the Glastonbury Festival‘s Emerging Talent competition, which gave him a slot at the festival and marked him as one of the leading new artists in the country at the time.
In August 2015, McKenna would rerelease his debut single, Brazil, which he had previously self released via his YouTube channel during the previous year.
Brazil was universally praised on it’s release for its maturity of subject matter, and musical intelligence on show. McKenna wrote the song as a protest piece against the corruption surrounding FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Assiociation), the global governing body for world soccer, awarding the 2016 World Cup to Brazil without attempting to address the intense poverty and political corruption that was present in the country. The song would eventually go on to become the soundtrack for the eventual scandal that would in relation to this world cup, and the downfall of then FIFA president Sepp Blatter. It was a lot to put on a song by a fifteen year old, but the hype was justified.
Brazil is a triumph of song writing.