St. Patrick’s Day Playlist
Daniel O'Boyle | Tuesday, March 17, 2015
As an Irishman in America, I’ve been looking forward to St. Patrick’s day for a long time, but no St. Paddy’s Day is complete without some genuine Irish cool. Here’s a playlist of some of the essentials to get you in the mood.
“Dearg Doom” — Horslips
If you want to go from zero to feeling like a Celtic warrior in a matter of seconds, listen to the opening bars of Dearg Doom. Nailing the balance between folk and rock, it’s the perfect opener to any Irish playlist, making you grab your hurley and see off your Guinness as it awakens that deep-rooted Irish pride you didn’t even know was there.
“Hay Wrap” — The Saw Doctors
Between accordion solos, a shout-along chorus and an interpolation of Irish rebel song, “The West’s Awake,” Galway-based band the Saw Doctors chant lyrics about hay-baling machinery, the “wild bad drink” in the town of Tuam and former Mayo gaelic football player Willie-Joe Padden. If you’re confused, I don’t blame you, but what I’m trying to say is this song is very Irish.
“Fisherman’s Blues” — The Waterboys
Ever wanted to get away from it all and spend the rest of your life as a fisherman on some remote isle off the coast of Ireland? If so, then this one’s for you. If not, this song might convince you.
“The Rocky Road to Dublin” — The Chieftains & The Rolling Stones
You might know The Rocky Road to Dublin as a traditional Irish classic, but have you ever actually deciphered and listened to the lyrics? It’s about traveling to England and immediately getting in a fight with the first Englishmen you see, only to find a group of Irishmen who happily join in.
“Alternative Ulster” — Stiff Little Fingers
Stiff Little Fingers made their name with punk rock songs about their (and my) native Northern Ireland. “Alternative Ulster” is among the best anthems ever written about the province.
“Top O’ The Morning To Ya” — House of Pain
I didn’t know this song existed until two days ago, it might just be the worst attempt at an “Irish” song I’ve ever heard, but yet I can’t stop listening to it.
“Whiskey in the Jar” — Thin Lizzy
Thin Lizzy took this staple of traditional Irish music and made it their own. If the iconic, perfectly Irish-sounding riff doesn’t get you, the story in the lyrics of an outlaw betrayed by his lover will.
“C’est La Vie” — B*Witched
Yes, late-90s Ireland sounded exactly like this song. No, I don’t really know what happened to B*Witched either. Wikipedia tells me they reformed in 2012. But it’s those little spoken parts between the verses that mean I have to put this on the list, because not enough top 10 hits these days include the phrase “What are ya like?”
“Sally MacLennane” — The Pogues
For unknown reasons, there’s a stereotype that the Irish like to drink. I guess this song — an ode to “the greatest little boozer” — encapsulates that aspect of Irish culture pretty perfectly.
“Tell Me Ma” — Sham Rock
At some point, when everyone’s had a little too much to drink, someone will mention they used to do Irish dancing and insist they can still Ceili with the best of them. This song’s for that moment.
“Fields of Athenry” — Dropkick Murphys
Yes, Dropkick Murphys are pretty much the definition of a band for American “plastic paddies”, but the energy they bring to this usually somber folk song is just too great to ignore. This one’s for those who say they’re Irish because of that one distant relative who might have lived in Donegal: today, you are.
“Stars in My Eyes” — The Original Rudeboys
Rappers with thick Dublin accents remain a rarity, but Neddy Arkins of up-and-coming Irish band The Original Rudeboys — backed by a gentle acoustic melody and chorus — delivers a couple of pretty great verses here.
“N17” — The Saw Doctors
Emigration is a pretty big part of Irish life. As nice as our little island seems, many of us leave. There have been plenty of songs about life for the Irish abroad, but few capture the experience of missing Ireland quite like this one. Written about a road in the west of Ireland, it’s become an anthem of homesickness for the Emerald Isle and begs you to sing along.
“Summer in Dublin” — Bagatelle
To finish, you just can’t beat this one. As Bagatelle plays you out with memories of lost love in Ireland’s capital, you might just find yourself flooded with memories of a special someone from your semester abroad. If you’re going to call her, though, remember the time difference, because it’s probably like 8 a.m. there.