Punknews.org
Dropkick Murphys - The Meanest of Times (Cover Artwork)

Dropkick Murphys

Dropkick Murphys: The Meanest of TimesThe Meanest of Times (2007)
East/West

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: Ben_ConoleyBen_Conoley
(others by this writer | submit your own)

If Dropkick Murphys are anything, they are reliable. Dropkick Murphys served an integral role in cultivating the musical experiences for the scores of people who got involved in punk rock during the mid-`90s. Over the last few years, the Murphys have all but dropped out of the rotation of records th.
iTunes StoreAmazon


If Dropkick Murphys are anything, they are reliable. Dropkick Murphys served an integral role in cultivating the musical experiences for the scores of people who got involved in punk rock during the mid-`90s. Over the last few years, the Murphys have all but dropped out of the rotation of records that make it through my stereo, but it's nice to have them back.

The Meanest of Times is the sixth studio album from the Boston seven-piece. It's also the band's first on their new label, Born and Bred Records. The best way to describe it is simply as a Dropkick Murphys album: street-wise punk rock with a healthy dose of Celtic influence and more than enough opportunities to swing a pint in the air. Lyrically, Al Barr and Ken Casey still focus on the themes that have traditionally been important to the band: family, friends and community -- themes that are reassuring to hear addressed in the modern musical climate.

I don't want to give the impression that it's safe to say every Dropkick Murphys album sounds the same, but it's no secret that much like Pennywise and the Bouncing Souls, the band has an immediately identifiable sound. However, on The Meanest of Times they continue to tweak that sound and allow it to develop. The band still finds time to throw in traditional songs. This time around they do their own take on "Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya," "(F)lannigan's Ball" and "Fairmount Hill." These songs stand out noticeably, largely because of the arrangements, which often include more bagpipe. The band does a good job at representing the spirit of these songs, something they've become known for doing well.

The front end of The Meanest of Times comes across better than the later half. This is partially due to the strength of the songs which occupy it such as "Famous for Nothing" and "The State of Massachusetts" and partially because the songs are placed in a seemingly arbitrary order, leaving peaks and valleys throughout.

The Meanest of Times isn't the band's best or most exciting work, but it does show Dropkick Murphys playing their brand of punk rock with more proficiency than they ever have. Despite whatever role they play in the scene today, their music is bound to continue to be attractive to punk rock purists and people who got into the music when the band was getting started. That said, the band's latest effort is unlikely to find itself in regular rotation at my house, though I'd jump at the chance to see the songs from it played live.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundDropkick Murphys - Do Or DieDropkick Murphys - BlackoutDropkick Murphys - The Warrior's CodeStreet Dogs - Fading American DreamBouncing Souls - The Gold RecordThe Clash - London CallingNOFX - The DeclineRise Against - The Sufferer & the WitnessDropkick Murphys - Sing Loud, Sing Proud

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
erff (April 16, 2008)

1. do or die
2. sing loud sing proud
3. blackout
4. the gangs all here
5. the meanest of times
6. the warriors code.

dkm is very good and i like them alot but nothing will be better then do or die. agree or disagree i dont really care but thats the way i see it.

flannagin94 (March 26, 2008)

This and the Gangs All Here are their two best albums. I also think that the Warrior's Code is better than Blackout and Sing it Loud Sing It Proud.

MN_punkmaster-skaman (March 21, 2008)

It took me a while, but I've finally gotten into this one. It's not my favorite from DKM, but it's definetly their best.

tnimark (January 1, 2008)

1) Do Or Die
2) The Gang's All Here
3) The Meanest Of Times
4) Sing Loud, Sing Proud
5) Blackout
6) The Warrior's Code

Fresnoska (October 12, 2007)

Thanks for not blasting me on my "rankings". The latest album was a pleasant surprise. I was ready to give up after Blackout...

Hey_Asshole (October 12, 2007)

j mostly agree with the ranking below...but, Sing Loud Sing Proud should be higher than Warrior's Code

punkengineer (October 10, 2007)

I agree on the rankings below.

FresnoSka (October 10, 2007)

1) Do Or Die
2) The Gang's All Here
3) Meanest Of Times
4) Warrior's Code
5) Sing Loud Sing Proud
6) Blackout

aa540 (October 10, 2007)

...this is a nice holdover untill the new Flogging Molly comes out.......

MaxEThunders (October 10, 2007)

I like this album a lot I still prefer Do or Die era but the sound is maturing. Also the song "God Willing" had strong meaning because a good friend of mine died recently. But, I'll see the Dropkicks in Milwaukee because I have a fever and it can only be cured with more bagpipe.

ben_conoley (October 10, 2007)

Thanks!

k-dubs (October 10, 2007)

nice review ben, really honest.

StormShadow (October 10, 2007)

I gave up on them after Sing Loud, Sing Proud, but this one really kicks some ass. More punk, less folk equals great album.

HonestAbe (October 10, 2007)

Also, this is going to sound like such a douchebag statement...but, I used to love these guys when I was like 14, and couldn't care less about them now. However, that song in The Departed was awesome at least in the context of the movie, I havn't heard it on its own, but within the frame of the movie it was badass

HonestAbe (October 10, 2007)

New Radiohead is awesome

danperrone (October 10, 2007)

their worst album. not a single memorable song.

johnnyz77 (October 10, 2007)

is this better then "The gang's all here" . that is my fav. hard DKM cd.

Oldpunkerforever (October 10, 2007)

love it, not their best but well done-oldpunker-

ben_conoley (October 10, 2007)

anyone know what the story is behind them leaving hellcat? is this really a major that they are on or what?

Born and Bred is the band's own imprint, which is a part of Warner via East West

Cos (October 10, 2007)

For such a huge band, I'm surprised there wasn't a huge uproar when they left Hellcat. This is the first I've heard of them being on a major. At this point, I really don't see what the difference is between being on Warner or Epitaph, but I'm the sure the band knows. If past experience is anything, they definitely know how to get paid.

dolorbrigand (October 10, 2007)

great review, spot on.

facetofacereunion08 (October 10, 2007)

anyone know what the story is behind them leaving hellcat? is this really a major that they are on or what?

Rastid (October 9, 2007)

good review. good album. might find its way onto my yearly top 10.

SteeevePerry (October 9, 2007)

Flogging Molly are better

inagreendase (October 9, 2007)

Surrender sounds like a Less than Jake song.

iT wAs, LoLz

whatchokesbegin (October 9, 2007)

Just like every one of their albums, its better than good, but not great.

And what, no AWS review?

Nap (October 9, 2007)

Better than their last

thirtyseconds (October 9, 2007)

I loved Warrior's Code. But I hardly play it. I just don't ever seem to be in the right mood for it...

jacknife737 (October 9, 2007)

great album, a good step forward from Warrior's Code

JoeCrede (October 9, 2007)

Surrender sounds like a Less than Jake song. Thats not a bad thing, I'm just sayin...

telegraphrocks (October 9, 2007)

Meh.

Dante3000 (October 9, 2007)

Weren't they doing some deluxe vinyl release with this?
What's up with that?
-Dante

swiftjustice (October 9, 2007)

I like this cd way more than the warrior's code or blackout... meanest of times is an awesome song

baseball (October 9, 2007)

solid review

i agree about the tracking....seems just kind of thrown together, which is probably partially why i'll rate this a 6/10

some really good songs and a few too many meh ones....this would be better suited 35 instead of 45 minutes

really only pop this in driving home from work or when cleaning the apartment or something like that

DiscoFucker (October 9, 2007)

"listening to albums by either band is like hanging out with an old friend."

Exact same here.

NotPatriotic (October 9, 2007)

Spot on review. The US Bombs and the Dropkick Murphys were the two bands that got me into punk rock. I now realize that neither band is all that great, but listening to albums by either band is like hanging out with an old friend. "Flannigan's Ball" is my favorite song on the album.

TheMike (October 9, 2007)

"Famous for Nothing", "State of Massachusetts", "Surrender" and the traditional songs are the saving grace of this album. The rest is underwhelming.

Contests

Exclusive Streams

Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Other Places to Go