Throughout his career, Dermot Kennedy has penned some of the most poignant and passionate lyrics in the current musical landscape. A personal favorite, Dermot is known for choosing his words with such care and precision it is not possible for his audience not to feel at least some of the emotions that went into writing the song, no matter how many times they have heard it. Intrinsically, this creates music that is universally empathetic even if the listener cannot fully relate to the story being told. His latest release, “Sunday,” is no exception.
Created two years ago during an extensive writing trip in California, Dermot Kennedy describes his new song as a balm to the burnout he had been feeling. In a session with Scottish producer Rodaidh McDonald, the Irish singer/songwriter was reminded of the reasons he decided to make music. When the pressure to create a specific type of track was removed and replaced by a sense of artistic freedom he hadn’t realized was missing, “Sunday” spilled out. The lyrics came so quickly that Dermot wrote them out on paper one after the other, eventually crafting his latest ode to love.
“Sunday” is different from the songs that have come before it. While it still effuses an overarching sense of melancholy and regret that encapsulates his most recent album, “Soder,” it also carries notes of the devotion that can be traced through the tracks of his debut, “Without Fear.” “Sunday” encapsulates an essential step in healing from a past relationship: the moment you can appreciate the love that was shared, even if it wasn’t eternal. The lines, “Who am I to curse the past? / Just ’cause magic didn’t last / You’re one of few, boy / Who can safely say they had somebody truly love them back?” perfectly underscore that continuing feeling of longing for once was while knowing there is no way to return to that time.
Much like the song’s creation and lyrics, the instrumentation also showcases the songwriter returning to his roots. Since his start as a busker, Dermot has had the ability to captivate with only an acoustic guitar or a piano. On “Sunday,” this is all he needs. A simple repetitive melody played across the keys adds to the reflective quality of the song, and the force with which it is played emphasizes the emotion.
The track was also released with a promise of more to come, making it a compelling teaser for the next stage in the artist’s career. If “Sunday” is merely the first taste of where Dermot Kennedy intends to go, his fans, both old and new, should be excited. This new song holds within it who he was at the beginning of his career and who he has become over the last four years. It is a layered tale, both sonically and lyrically, of the growth we all must go through to get to who we are meant to be, and for an artist as creative as Kennedy, that could be a truly magical place.
To close, “Sunday” is more than simply Dermot Kennedy’s latest release. It is also the next step in his journey as an artist, the next chapter in the story he has been telling since 2019, and a testament to the fact that he truly shines when given the freedom to create as the person he is, making the music he was meant to.