“British Bombs” by Declan McKenna

The first song that I am thinking about exploring for my podcast is “British Bombs” by Declan McKenna. Declan McKenna is a 24 year old English singer, songwriter, and producer that is also involved in political activism. McKenna released “British Bombs” as a single in 2019. Although the song is upbeat and fast moving, it serves as a criticism of violence, trading weapons, and the British Government’s involvement in war. While Declan McKenna is clear with his message, the lyrics are rich with meaning in every line. Because McKenna is saying a lot in a short span of time, I think that this song will be engaging and provide many opportunities for analysis. I also think that this song will be challenging because he uses some language and references that I am not necessarily familiar with at first glance. For example, I am particularly interested in learning more about the lines, “great snakes are we moving already” and “you say you’re hungry but you won’t eat the caraway seed”. 

If I choose to explore this music, I think it would lead me into a lot of research about British politics and even reveal more songs criticizing the social issues of other countries. Even though I am not well versed about what was happening at Great Britain when the song was released, “British Bombs” is emblematic of the constant and never ending wars that the country had inserted themselves in over the years. This can be applied to what the U.S. has done as well, especially in the Middle East. I think that by studying the intersection between lyrics, musical composition, and Declan McKenna as an artist, this song would be a good choice overall for my podcast topic. 


“Take a Walk” by Passion Pit

The second song that I am thinking about working with is “Take a Walk” by Passion Pit. Passion Pit, an American indie/electro/alternative band, released this song as part of their 2012 “Gossamer” album. This song walks you through the story of a family of immigrants and how the “American Dream” is difficult to achieve when financial resources are not accessible. While the song focuses primarily on money and trying to keep up with a certain lifestyle, it also provides insight about the emotional toll that creating a life from scratch entails. Like “British Bombs”, “Take a Walk” has a very happy and energetic beat that does not match its lyrical content. I think that this song will also be challenging to work with because there are many opportunities for deep analysis, so I could go many different routes with how I approach it. 

If I choose to explore this song, I think it will lead me into further research about the struggles that modern day immigrants face and their stories of sacrifice. At the time that “Take a Walk” was released, there had been a record number of deportations between 2009 and 2012 under the Obama Administration. This song speaks on not only the act of immigration itself, but the adversity faced by those moving between social classes. 

“British Bombs” by Declan McKenna and “Take a Walk” by Passion Pit are both songs on my personal playlists that I have spent a great deal of time listening to the past. However, by approaching them critically, the songs have become even more meaningful to me. One concern that I have for “British Bombs” is that I have limited prior knowledge of British politics so I will have to conduct more research than usual in order to make sure that I am not missing anything. One concern that I have for “Take a Walk” is that Passion Pit has stated that they don’t consider this song to be political, so I would be arguing against the artists. Although “British Bombs” and “Take a Walk” can be categorized as indie/alternative songs that create sentiments of happiness for some, both inspire critical thinking regarding socioeconomic issues and criticize the uneven distribution of power. 

Megan Gullotta