Dropkick Murphys: Video Retrospective
Published in Blog Archive, Culture Bully. Tags: Music.
While it’s not as though the Dropkick Murphys were ever really an underground band—existing on some subterranean level of Keeping It Real that only truly exists to self-righteous fundamentalist punks—in recent years it has been a treat to watch the group find a level of success that might have previously been thought of as unattainable. Thanks to a few key song placements (the most important being “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” in Martin Scorsese’s Best Picture-winning film The Departed) the band has become accessible to a new crowd who might otherwise be turned off by the punk label, regardless of how indicative it might still be of the band’s sound. Call them Celtic punk, call them Oi!-lite, call them sell-outs, call them whatever you like: thanks to the band’s recent commercial appeal they’ve been given the gift of not having to worry too much about money for the next few years; “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” has found its place as a jock jams staple, “The State Of Massachusetts” served as the theme song to MTV’s Nitro Circus, and most recently “Barroom Hero” was used as the closing theme to the Academy Award nominated Restrepo. And those are just a few of the examples.
This week the band is releasing its seventh studio album, Going Out in Style; the group’s second to drop on their own Born & Bred Records imprint. The new album features a few interesting guests including the legendary Bruce Springsteen and Fat Mike from NOFX (who, I suppose, is equally legendary in some circles), but despite its title the album is in no way meant to be the group’s final release. “Going Out in Style is an album that celebrates the successes and failures, challenges and milestones of Cornelius Larkin” reads the album’s liner notes. “The narrative of Going Out in Style hinges loosely on the legacy of Cornelius Larkin, an immigrant, Korean War vet, and family man who went tits up this past New Year’s Day,” adds The Boston Phoenix. And after even the very first listen it becomes apparent that Going Out in Style is just the latest in a string of greats from the union rallying, whiskey spitting boys from Boston.
Before diving into the new release however, let’s take a look back on a few songs that have helped them make it to this point in the band’s storied history.
The band’s debut full-length came with 1998′s Do or Die, the only album to feature original lead vocalist, Mike McColgan. McColgan would be replaced by Al Barr, who has remained the lead vocalist ever since.
“Upstarts and Broken Hearts” is taken from the band’s 1999 album The Gang’s All Here.
“The Spicy McHaggis Jig” closes out the Dropkicks’ 2001 album Sing Loud, Sing Proud. While only holding down the pipes until 2003, Robbie “Spicy McHaggis” Mederios’ effect is still felt as “TSMJ” remains a staple in the band’s live shows. (Also, this video of the band’s 2001 performance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien remains one of my personal favorites largely due to the awkward appearance by Kilty McBagpipes. The song’s not bad either.)
“Walk Away” was the lead single from 2003′s Blackout, the album which became the band’s first to chart on the Billboard 200, where it would reach the #83 position.
While 2005′s The Warrior’s Code might have been the band’s final with Hellcat Records, the album might be better remembered for its tribute to “Irish” Micky Ward. Likely though, it’ll go down as the album which featured that song (which has since sold over one million digital copies).
The band’s last album, The Meanest of Times, continued the trend set by the group’s previous two releases and set a new high-mark on the Billboard 200. Peaking at the #20 position, The Meanest of Times‘ success was driven largely by the single “The State of Massachusetts,” which was ultimately honored by Rolling Stone in the magazine’s “100 Best Songs of 2007″ list, where it was ranked at #83.
[This post was first published by Culture Bully.]