Dropkick Murphys - Going Out in Style (Cover Artwork)

Dropkick Murphys

Dropkick Murphys: Going Out in StyleGoing Out in Style (2011)
Born & Bred

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
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Contributed by: jrowe182jrowe182
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Boston's Celtic punk/hardcore outfit come back in full force with their seventh studio album, Going Out in Style. It's easy to dismiss Dropkick Murphys as just background music for swigging pints of green beer at that St. Patrick's Day party–because unfortunately (at least in my experience).
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Boston's Celtic punk/hardcore outfit come back in full force with their seventh studio album, Going Out in Style.

It's easy to dismiss Dropkick Murphys as just background music for swigging pints of green beer at that St. Patrick's Day party–because unfortunately (at least in my experience), they've been labeled as such by passive listeners who only really know them by the abovementioned song. But long-time fans can recognize them as one of the few bands out there who echo the working-class pride that kindled punk music in the first place.

For long-time fans of the band, their latest effort is more of the familiar Celtic-tinged punk/hardcore music you've grown to love–which may or may not be a bad thing. For me at least, it's Dropkick Murphys doing what they do best.

"Hang 'Em High" opens the album on an energetic start. A soft drumbeat builds up into a barrage of vocals complemented by bagpipes, banjo, mandolin and whistle. This track shows off one of the album's biggest attractions–the sheer variety of instruments. The raucous guitar work and gang vocals are complemented nicely by the other instruments: accordion, banjo, bouzouki, mandolin, whistles and bagpipes all make a presence at some point or another (or all at the same time). Producer Ted Hutt (the Gaslight Anthem, Fake Problems) does a slick job of making each instrument stand out without being convoluted. The momentum continues with the title track, "Going Out in Style", which features more guest vocals that you can count (including Fat Mike from NOFX).

One interesting thing about this album is that it's somewhat conceptual. The liner notes explain that local Boston hero Cornelius Larken's life inspired the songs on the album. And some of the tracks give glimpses into moments of his life. "The Hardest Mile" describes his immigrant experience heading for a life in the land of the free/sending every penny home to the family, and features a shredding accordion solo (I guess that term crosses over, right?). The story continues in the ballad "Cruel", telling the challenges of making a living in a new land. By the end, however, I couldn't help but feel like there should have been more songs about this Cornelius fellow, as the four or five tracks that relate his story only offer small windows into his tale.

Compared to prior releases like 2003's Blackout and 2005's The Warrior's Code, there's a greater number of slow songs, making it more of an extension of 2007's The Meanest of Times. Love ballad "1953" has quickly become one of my favorite Murphys songs of all time. The bagpipe complements the slow strum of the guitar perfectly, telling about Cornelius' first encounter with his future wife.

One complaint I have with this album is that some of the lyrics seem trite and uninspired–like in "Memorial Day", when Al Barr sings, "Come join the fight / so we can change the way we're living. / What's left inside? / If you believe, / believe you'll never give in." Or in "Take 'Em Down", when he sings, ""When the boss comes calling he'll put us down. / When the boss comes calling you gotta stand your ground. / When the boss comes calling don't believe their lies." The songs follow the DKM working-class plight about sticking it to the man and union empowerment and all, but are too literal and straightforward compared to previous songs that dealt with the same theme (i.e. "Which Side Are You On?"). I know they can do better.

This album is a step forward from The Meanest of Times, which suffered from an inconsistent song order where the first half was rocking and the second dragged the album down. But here punk rock barn-burners keep the energy high while the slower, folksy-felt songs give you time to catch your breath. For long-time fans, you'll appreciate this for everything that makes the Dropkick Murphys great. Gang vocals? Check. Bagpipe? Check. Jig about partying and drinking whiskey? Check. They're not breaking any new ground here, but deliver more of the Celtic punk sound you've grown to love. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that The Boss himself makes an appearance on "Peg O' My Heart" to sing a few bars.


People who liked this also liked:
The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundThe Flatliners - CavalcadeCobra Skulls - Bringing the War HomeThe Gaslight Anthem - HandwrittenThe Gaslight Anthem - American SlangThe Menzingers - Chamberlain WaitsSwingin' Utters - Here, Under ProtestCobra Skulls - AgitationsBanner Pilot - Heart Beats PacificThe Clash - London Calling

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Baxter (May 12, 2011)

No matter what, the first song gets the Irish inside you running around and jumping on things. This song is the only great fast song on here. Going Out in Style needed a little more revision, but that's what Flogging Molly is for, hope they do better.

vinylfan (April 13, 2011)

just sounds like a bunch of guys taking turns farting into a paper bag.

keithus (April 1, 2011)

The Good: I wasn't blown away by it but It's WAY better than "The Meanest of Times" which was my least favorite album by far. There's no songs about the Red Sox or Bruins.

The Bad: I think there's one song that Al sings all the way through. The rest are either duet style or Ken singing completely. Sometimes it feels like there's too much going on at once with all the instruments. They don't seem to do any stripped down guitar rock songs anymore. "Sunday Hardcore Matinee" is about piling into a van and going to CBGB to see hardcore bands and it sounds weird with banjo, tin whistle and accordion.

MN_DrNick (March 29, 2011)

Better than I expected. But it's not their best.

hooverstreet (March 29, 2011)

There's nothing "working class" about a professional rock band that tours the country playing music. Don't be foolish.

wyzo (March 29, 2011)

As told to me by my relative who went to a DKM show last month: "you know who I didn't see there? anybody working class. It was weird."

I applaud the band members for getting some return on a long investment, but it can't NOT be strange to be a 'working class' band whose definition of working class is truly stretched to endorsements and ball parks long removed from any 1950s cliche of being for 'thepeople' unless by people you mean, actually, everyone. More like for the working service industry class. Not the same.


holy_hack_Ben (March 29, 2011)

This is my favorite of theirs since "Sing Loud, Sing Proud". That being said, don't you sort of feel bad for Al Barr? He only sings the main vocals on maybe 3 songs on this album. Poor guys is just going to standing around on stage muttering "Fucking Ken Casey" when they play these songs live.

keepmedown (March 29, 2011)

Really looking forward to hearing this.

devianter (March 29, 2011)


StraightToHell82 (March 29, 2011)

Did you listen to one of their older albums by mistake? Because this thing is fucking GREAT! The only other DKM album I can say that about is "Do Or Die", and I can't believe I'm saying it about a post-McColgan album... it's fucking great! Every song is top-notch.
No doubt, album of the year contender.

sXenester (March 29, 2011)

"Which Side Are You On" is either an older folk tune or written by Billy Bragg.

loki13 (March 29, 2011)

Classic DKM...The cracked the top 10 on Billboard sales chart. Good for them, it's kinda cool to see a band that I've been listening to for over 10 years to get some props.

tyler92 (March 29, 2011)

Easily one of their best.

Anarchypants (March 29, 2011)

This is a great album, I don't think the review really knew their back catalogue very well. Blackout was fast?

BluthCo (March 29, 2011)

After "The Meanest of Times" (which I liked on the whole but didn't have as many standout tracks as most of their other albums) I thought the well might be running dry on the sound DKM had settled into since Blackout. "Going Out in Style" doesn't really do anything new, but its songwriting is strong enough to keep the band fresh and exciting.

spartakus (March 29, 2011)

I don't think there was an "abovementioned song" when the review got to that part...

Regardless, this is easily their best album since "Sing Loud, Sing Proud!"

frankthep (March 29, 2011)

Peg o my heart is awesome. The album has grown on me and I would rank it up there as one of my faves of theirs. I saw them in Philly a few weeks ago...band was great, crowd sucked. I forgot how many meatheads go to that show.

ExtraCheesePizza (March 29, 2011)

My new favorite DKM album.

happynolucky (March 29, 2011)

this album rules!

facetofacereunion08 (March 29, 2011)

he was talking about "memorial day" having bad LYRICS, not song

oldpunkerforever (March 29, 2011)

I cannot say enough good things about this cd. This is their best work, yup, better than Do Or Die. Every song is stuck in my head w my favs so far being Sunday Hardcore Matinee, Peg-o- my heart, 1953 and Going out in style, however all of it is brilliant. 15 years to reach the top, but boy did they ever-oldpunker-

jacknife737 (March 29, 2011)

Quite possibly my favorite release from the murphy's. Which is surprising since i had pretty much written these guys off: some of the catchiest stuff they've written.

One point i'd disagree with the reviewer is that, i think Memorial Day is easily the best song on the album.

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