Album Review: Dropkick Murphys’ Going Out in Style

March 16, 2011

Image acquired from Google Images

The Dropkick Murphys have been a force to be reckoned with for years now, due to their enjoyable mesh of Celtic music and punk rock. However, after a certain amount of time formulas tend to tire, leaving us sadly disappointed. Fortunately, the Murphys’ latest album is anything but disappointing. Their pleasantly familiar sound, coupled with conceptual lyricism, provides yet another brilliant Dropkick Murphys record.

It’s Not Their Final Album

For those of you who are worried that the title suggests they are bowing out, rest easy. The title is named after the second song on the album, which will surely become the Murphys’ newest anthem. Featuring NOFX’s Fat Mike and FX dramedy Rescue Me’s Lenny Clarke, the song speaks of living it up before death. Rather, Going Out in Style is a concept album, centered around a fictional, working-class war veteran named Cornelius Larkin, who is a hodgepodge of the band members’ life experiences.

Hardcore as Ever

Right from the opening drum sequence, it is clear that the Murphys have not lost their edge. The opening song, “Hang ’em High,” sends a message that is loud and clear: “Now lower the cannon, the battle begins!” They still promote themes such as unity, hard work, and perseverance in the face of adversity. Talk of standing up for the little guy is also yet-again present, with songs such as “The Hardest Mile” and “Take ’em Down” being highlights of the album. However, rather than sounding stale, the Murphys’ rowdy optimism and soaring spirit is more than welcome in today’s world. It also helps that it has been four years since their previous studio album, The Meanest of Times.

New-found Maturity?

While they are as rowdy as ever, certain songs suggest that, as the Murphys grow older, they too grow wiser. On “Cruel,” the album’s best song, lead-singer Al Barr laments, “I was young and I thought I knew everything/It’s so hard to change a fool’s mind.” Also, on “Memorial Day,” it is lamented:                                                                                                             

I was young and I wouldn’t hear it
You had opinions I had mine too
Just a kid with all the answers
A pompous pride and not one clue

These sentiments, along with others on the album, suggest that the Murphys are learning as they go along, and getting better with time.

One for the Ladies

No, it’s not “Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced.” This one is actually for the ladies. “1953” speaks nostalgically of a man’s true love. The best part is that these rough-necks pull it off convincingly.

The Boss Factor

One of the Murphys’ influences, the legendary Bruce Springsteen, drops by on “Peg o’ my Heart,” an enjoyable tune near the album’s end. He sounds comfortable against the backdrop of the Murphys’ sound, and the song is very well done.

All in All

This album is excellent from start to finish, with no filler or weak links. Their sound is still riotous, fun, and fresh, and it’s nice to see that after all this time they still haven’t forgotten their roots. It is too soon to tell if this will stand the test of time and achieve classic status, but for now I’ll settle on the notion that it is an exceptional album. To sum up the feel of the album, Barr cries, “I could really give a shit, I’m going out in style!”

4.5/5 Merits

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