A cursory glance at don’t watch me dancing would perhaps have you under the impression that I haven’t really been listening to new music this year – a fair assumption given that I’ve written on the blog a grand total of I think 12 times in 2014. However, the end of the year seems a good time to round up what I was into, assorted fairly arbitrarily into the failsafe genres of hip hop, pop and “misc”.
There is a line in a T.S. Eliot poem where the narrator, one J. Alfred Prufrock, laments, “No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be.” The anxiety of merely playing a subsidiary, passive role in one’s own life is something that springs to mind when Dublin solo artist Stephen Tiernan elucidates the reasons for his choice of moniker: Participant. Speaking to us after a serene, fire-lit acoustic performance in the somewhat surreal location of an old Georgian house on Henrietta Street, Tiernan explains: “The idea comes from when you feel like you’re just a participant, like you’re just taking part in someone else’s life — a supporting character.” It seems a fairly bleak, if refreshingly honest sentiment. Tiernan continues, “I like the idea that I’m fronting something under the name that is meant to mean ‘taking part’, but it’s just my project. As soon as I started writing these songs, it was always going to be Participant.”