Label: Island Records
Release Date: 24th June 2020
"Although the song is framed around the end of a relationship, it is clear even without Kennedy’s own admission that the lyrics carry much more meaning."
Irish singer Dermot Kennedy rose to prominence late last year with his album Without Fear, composed of catchy singles and powerful anthems such as ‘Outnumbered’ and ‘Power over me’. His latest release, ‘Giants’, follows much the same pattern, combining impressive vocal range with simple yet hefty instrumental layers.
In an Instagram post, Kennedy describes the song as "steeped in bittersweet nostalgia" but also as "a reminder that the future is still full of hope". Set against the backdrop of COVID-19, the track offers a poignant reminder that this situation is temporary: things will improve in the future.
The concept itself draws inspiration not just from Kennedy’s own experiences of the pandemic, but also from Lesley Dwight’s thought-provoking “what if 2020 wasn’t cancelled?’ poem, in which she highlights the positive elements of events throughout the year. She touches on growth, harmony and change, ending with the challenging claim that "2020 isn’t cancelled, but rather / the most important year of all".
These themes can be seen throughout the lyrics of Kennedy’s track. Particularly striking is the line "There’s gold in the dirt, I never took the time to see’. With the speed society moves in the modern era, many came to see lockdown as an opportunity to slow down, appreciate little things more and discover things they had forgotten to enjoy. In many cases then, slowing down was incredibly rewarding despite its unfortunate circumstances, the proverbial gold in the dirt. By doing this, more people came to have time to see it, another point raised in Dwight’s poem.
As Kennedy writes on Instagram however, there is hope, innovation and progress to be looked forward to. With the lyric "time won’t ever move slowly, what are you waiting for", he reminds listeners that life can be short and fragile: take any opportunities with both hands. Although the song is framed around the end of a relationship, it is clear even without Kennedy’s own admission that the lyrics carry much more meaning. They will resonate with a large number of people who have been faced with their own struggles through recent months.
Words by Ben Browning.
29th June 2020.