Darren Kennedy’s Spotify playlist: ‘My style was inspired by Liam Gallagher. It was Oasis mania’

The presenter on French music, catchy Ru Paul songs and dancing to Kylie Minogue

Darren Kennedy: ‘At the moment I’m loving pop but I continuously circle back to Spanish music’

Darren Kennedy: ‘At the moment I’m loving pop but I continuously circle back to Spanish music’

 

I chose the songs by going through some of my previous Spotify playlists and cherry-picking the ones that chart different moments in my life. I could have doubled the number of songs on it, which tells me I probably underestimated the influence of music throughout the years.

When I was 19, I lived in Bordeaux in France during my Erasmus, and it was my first time living away from home. I borrowed Coldplay’s debut album Parachutes from my flatmate at the time and I listened to it to death while I was there. I had this really small bedroom in the attic, which was roasting in the summer and freezing in the winter. Any time I listen to Don’t Panic, it’s as if I’ve been teleported back to that little box room in the attic.

It was Pride recently, and some people ask why we need Pride today, but there’s still someone going to bed tonight thinking they’d be better off dead than being gay. That’s why we need Pride

I studied international business languages and languages was always a passion, but that year was my first real introduction to French music. Mylène Farmer is an icon – she’s the French Madonna, basically. I’ve vivid memories associated with Désenchantée because my old French boyfriend introduced me to it. We’d drive out to Arcachon and Lacanau, the beaches near Bordeaux, and have that blaring in the summer sun with all the windows open. Again, it brings me back there vividly. 

I’ve also chosen Wonderwall by Oasis. They were at their peak around the time I was studying for my Leaving Cert. Me and my friends were obsessed with them. My hair imitated Liam Gallagher. My style was inspired by him. It was Oasis mania. When I hear Wonderwall, it reminds me so much of my adolescence, and experiencing things for the first time which I shouldn’t have been doing, let’s just say that.

Jolene is a classic anthem that I’ve always loved, having been first introduced to Dolly Parton at a family party when I was a kid. When you listen to the lyrics, the song is insane. She’s asking this other woman to please leave her man alone – as opposed to calling out the man. Your partner in that situation is the one that needs to back off, right? We’re slightly judging Jolene in all of this. I say give Jolene a break. 

I decided to go with RuPaul’s American because I’m a massive fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race. It’s very easy to think of it as a just competition for men dressing up as women, but there is so much heart and message in the entire series. It’s about empowering, being empowered and owning every aspect of who you are. It was Pride recently, and some people ask why we need Pride today, but there’s still someone going to bed tonight thinking they’d be better off dead than being gay. That’s why we need Pride. Ru bangs out these fabulous tracks that are so catchy, and out of tune, but who cares.

I distinctly remember dancing on the stage in the George nightclub and living my best life

Future Islands are probably my number one listen on Spotify. I came across them about six years ago when I was going through a particularly rough patch in life that involved a break up, and so many of their lyrics spoke to me. Seasons is about the inevitably of change and that when you change, sometimes you lose something but oftentimes you gain something. It’s powerful stuff. 

Hozier is an incredible artist. I chose Shrike but it could have been any number of songs. I’d met him before but we bumped into each other on a flight to Los Angeles a while back and I gave him Lily Allen’s autobiography, which I finished on the flight. I hope he enjoyed it. I know little about him because he’s private, but his whole approach to fame seems polar opposite to Lily Allen’s. She was an absolute wild child and he seems very grounded.

At the moment I’m loving pop but I continuously circle back to Spanish music. I love Rosalia, and I really enjoy Ricky Martin. I’ve chosen Tiburones but he’s produced a lot of music in Spanish over the past few years that wouldn’t necessarily have been on our radar. I don’t always understand them but I enjoy listening to them.

Kylie Minogue’s Spinning Around just had its 20th anniversary and I just couldn’t believe it was released that long ago. I distinctly remember dancing on the stage in the George nightclub and living my best life. I can’t get over the fact that was 20 years ago, and how things have changed. It emphasises the passage of time – the clock isn’t stopping for anyone.

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