Pick of the Week: Dermot Kennedy “Better Days”

Dermot Kennedy "Better Days"
Graphics by Ainsley Basic

By Nora Onanian, Web Services Coordinator

From his first big hit, "Outnumbered," to his latest, "Better Days," Irish singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy has offered hope and comfort through his music. Written during the pandemic, the latter single came out on July 28th. With simple yet powerful instrumentation and lyrics, "Better Days" feels like being lifted out of fog. It also gives a taste of a new direction Kennedy seems to be going in musically. 



The song begins with gentle piano as Kennedy sings about periods of struggle, repeatedly promising that  "better days are coming." As the chorus comes in, the beat picks up dramatically. "Soon we'll be dancing in the sun...and we'll sing our song together," he sings with conviction in his voice. In the background, a Gaelic choir adds vocals that radiate warmth, chanting "courage and calm" in their native language. Kennedy is known for speak-singing, but more of a hip-hop influence is heard in his recent works, especially in the final bridge of "Better Days." The song hints at a new stylistic influence that he may soon expand on.



While Kennedy is from Dublin, he often reflects on the role Boston played in starting his music career. Close to 10 years ago, he spent a summer busking in the Boston Public Garden. Eventually, he was able to use the funds he collected to record his first EP. He wrote the song "Boston" as an homage to the city and also expanded on his feelings in a recent Instagram post

Captioning a picture of the Public Garden's bridge, he writes that while in Boston touring, he walked through the park and reflected on how he went from playing on the bridge for people passing by to selling out a show in 5 minutes. Kennedy ends with an encouraging sentiment. "If you have a dream in your mind that hasn't come to fruition, don't be discouraged. Your moment might literally be two more steps down that long road."



Late last month, Kennedy wrapped up the U.S. leg of his tour with a sold-out show at the Leader Bank Pavilion in Boston. Now, he's performing several dates across the UK. As for new music, in an interview, Kennedy shared that "Better Days" comes off of his upcoming album, which he plans to release in early 2022. 

After the worldwide success of his debut album Without Fear, Dermot Kennedy's next album has big shoes to fill. But listening to "Better Days," it is clear that the moving lyricism and powerful vocals that first enamored fans are as present as ever.


Every Monday, our music staff brings you a new Pick of The Week, detailing some of our favorite songs. Check out our previous Picks of the Week here, and make sure to tune in to WERS 88.9FM!

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