Dropkick Murphys - Going Out in Style
Born & Bred Records
Celtic Punk
13 songs (45:48)
Release year: 2011
Reviewed by Kyle
Album of the month

I was a bit worried when I learned the title of Dropkick Murphy’s newest album; the title “Going Out in Style” would seem to imply that this release would be the Boston veterans’ last. Thankfully, as far as I can tell this is not the case, and even if it was… what a HELL of a way to go out. I’ll readily admit that I haven’t heard every Dropkick Murphys album, but of the two or three I’ve listened to in full, this is by far my favorite. The drunken charisma, songwriting quality, and implementation of traditional instruments is better than anything I’ve heard from this splendid Celtic / hardcore punk hybrid. Going Out in Style is ridiculously fun and gets better with each listen.

Dropkick Murphys is a rather popular band, so hopefully no introduction is necessary. It’s been nearly four years since the release of their previous album The Meanest of Times (a rather boring album in my opinion), and that time off has been indisputably beneficial. DM’s punk edge is razor-sharp with this release, yet the use of Celtic instruments – bagpipes, flutes, accordions and so on – is far more prominent than before. In fact, the amount of traditional instrument usage here is nearly on par with the more folk-oriented Flogging Molly, arguably Dropkick Murphy’s biggest competitor. There’s even an entirely acoustic number, Take ‘em Down, a rousing bar tune dedicated to Wisconsin Union Workers fed up with their governor’s budget plan. Other straight-faced songs (in terms of lyrical themes) crop up, the most notable being Broken Hymns, a beautiful anthem that highlights the tragedy of war.

But that’s not to say the band has forgotten how to have fun; most songs here are incredibly upbeat. Sunday Hardcore Matinee is a nostalgic memoir to bands that influenced the band members in their early years, while Peg O’ My Heart is a poppy, infectious love song – that features Bruce Springsteen on vocals nonetheless! The band’s cover of The Irish Rover at the end of the album has quickly become my favorite version of the traditional Irish tune; the band’s spin on it bleeds adrenaline, and if it doesn’t manage to elicit at least a foot tap from you… well, you may want to check your pulse. The song that absolutely steals the show, however, has to be Going Out in Style’s title track. Featuring Fat Mike (NOFX), Chris Cheny (The Living End) and comedian Lenny Clarke, this song is a celebration of death (of sorts), a ludicrously upbeat powerhouse of a song that refuses to get un-stuck from your head. It is literally one of the best songs ever recorded in this style of celtic punk.

I nearly missed the fact that Going Out in Style is actually a concept album; it follows a fictional character (of the band’s creation) named Cornelius Larkin, and the album is a posthumous recollection of his life that also relates to the band’s own life experiences. It’s a concept that one can really analyze the lyrics of and involve themselves in, and the band has stressed that Going Out in Style is first and foremost an album about friends and family. This can be clearly heard in the music: the album feels not only passionate, but also genuine. Aside from a handful of weaker songs (Memorial Day, 1953), the songwriting is also top notch, and for me it’s a common occurrence to listen to Going Out in Style at least twice a day. It’s an addictive music experience, and one that any fan of Dropkick Murphys should be thoroughly pleased in. And if you haven’t at least given the band a passing listen? Now is the perfect time to do so.

Pros: The most fun, upbeat, charismatic, and genuine Celtic punk album of the past few years.

Cons: A couple of weak songs.

Killing Songs :
Hang 'em High, Going Out in Style, The Hardest Mile, Broken Hymns, Deeds Not Words, Sunday Hardcore Matinee, The Irish Rover
Kyle quoted 90 / 100
Aleksie quoted 83 / 100
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