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Music / Dropkick Murphys

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Kilt? Check. Some guys wearing green? Check. Yup, they're Irish.
The Dropkick Murphys are a well known Celtic Punk band from Quincy, Massachusetts, named after a rehab center near where the first members grew up (which itself was named after the former wrestler who founded it). They have released eight studio albums since their founding, gaining a fair amount of popularity for their song "I'm Shipping Up To Boston", which was featured in the 2006 film The Departed - as well as many other sources. This is interesting, as the lyrics were originally by Woody Guthrie, he just never finished it before he died (it wasn't the first time the band had covered an unrecorded Guthrie song, either. They covered his "Gonna Be A Blackout Tonight" on their 2003 album Blackout)

Considered to be the semi-official band of baseball's Boston Red Sox, the band's 2004 song "Tessie" (which is not a cover of the turn-of-the-century Red Sox fight song of the same name as often claimed, but a newly written song about those same turn-of-the-century fans, with the original fight song making up most of the chorus) is often played on Boston radio before Red Sox games as "good luck", especially during the team's 2004 season in which they won their first World Series in 86 years. In 2007 "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" became yet another unofficial anthem for the Red Sox in the run up to their next World Series victory. The band has performed during the team's "Rolling Rally" parade through Boston twice (in 2007 and 2013) and many current Red Sox players consider themselves fans of the band.

Naturally, as a Celtic Punk group, a fair amount of their music/political causes center around the working class and pay homage to their ancestry. As such, they have covered several Irish folk songs - particularly on the album "The Meanest of Times".

Their discography consists of:

  • Do or Die (1998)
  • The Gang's All Here (1999)
  • Sing Loud, Sing Proud! (2001)
  • Blackout (2003)
  • The Warrior's Code (2005)
  • The Meanest of Times (2007)
  • Going Out In Style (2011)
  • Signed and Sealed in Blood (2013)
  • 11 Short Stories of Pain and Glory (2017)
  • Turn Up That Dial (2021)
  • This Machine Still Kills Fascists (2022)
  • Okemah Rising (2023)

Dropkick Murphys provide examples of:

  • Amazing Freaking Grace: A fairly up-beat instrumental version.
  • Anthropomorphic Vice: "Dirty Glass" personifies the neighborhood pub as a quarrelsome girlfriend.
  • Anti-Christmas Song: "The Season's Upon Us," a song about the joy of the holidays that quickly gives way to the trials of dealing with the world's most dysfunctional family at Christmas.
  • Anti-Love Song: "Dirty Glass", a vicious argument between a drunk and his local pub.
  • Bawdy Song: Why yes! "Kiss Me, I'm Shitfaced" is their best-known.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Quote: "Nazis ARE NOT FUCKING WELCOME at a Dropkick Murphys show!" as one man found out over St Patrick's week 2013 when he ended up getting a Bass guitar to the head for doing a Nazi salute while on stage and promptly got beaten up by the band and several members of the crowd before getting thrown out.
    • Also when Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who they've openly criticized before (see "Take 'Em Down") used one of their songs at a rally, they were not happy with this and minced no words expressing so on twitter.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Spicy McHaggis' preference, according to the song named for him.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: "The Season's Upon Us".
  • Concept Album: Going Out In Style follows the life of one guy, as he posthumously narrates his life. The title track is his funeral.
  • The Cover Changes the Meaning: Their version of Pete St.John's "The Fields of Athenry", which changes a melancholy lament into a ferocious rebel anthem.
  • Drunken Song: About half of them.
  • Dying Alone: The man in "Loyal to No One" believes that we all die alone, and in turn dies alone himself, though it's made entirely clear that his fate his own fault.
  • Dysfunctional Family: "The Season's Upon Us" describes a family that quite literally doesn't seem to have a single likable person in it.
  • Everything's Louder with Bagpipes
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The man from "Loyal To No One" can't comprehend that anyone might be less selfish than himself.
    "Their kindness was simple but he couldn't understand"
  • Fighting Irish: Several songs have this theme, including "Take 'Em Down" "Going Out In Style" and "Cruel".
    • However, "Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye" is the Antiwar Irish.
  • Football Fight Song: A cover of "For Boston", the traditional fight song of Boston College, and "Time To Go", written for their local hockey team, the Boston Bruins. They also have done a cover of the Notre Dame Victory March entitled "Victory."
    • Some people treat "Tessie" the same way.
    • "I'm Shipping Up To Boston" is also used this way at Red Sox games. It does an excellent job of riling up the crowd.
  • The "Fun" in "Funeral": "Going Out In Style" is sung from the perspective of a guy who wants his funeral to be this.
  • Heavy Mithril: Although still played in their characteristic Celtic punk style, the song "The Legend of Finn Maccumhail" is based on Irish mythology.
  • In the Style of: With traditional music.
  • Isn't It Ironic?
  • I Will Fight Some More Forever: "Barroom Hero".
  • Lead Bassist: Ken Casey is both Type B and C.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Quite a few of their songs pair upbeat melodies with less-than-obvious lyrics:
    • "Sunshine Highway", a song about substance addiction
    • "The State of Massachusetts", a song about kids being taken out of an abusive household and being put into foster care.
    • "Buried Alive", about miners trapped in a cave-in
    • "The Auld Triangle", about a prisoner longing for the pleasures of the outside world
    • "Barroom Hero" about a violence-prone barfly
    • "This is Your Life" is about a man who is a "two-bit, half-assed effigy of someone else's dread." And is one of the happiest songs they've written.
    • "Curse of a Fallen Song", about a dead friend
    • The aforementioned "Dirty Glass"
    • "God Willing", sung from the POV of a soldier saying a lot of painful goodbyes.
    • "The Gauntlet," a song about soldiers mustering up courage for another charge.
    • "Broken Hymns", about soldiers in The American Civil War.
    • Averted by "Going Out in Style" where the POV character's singing of his own funeral plans - and doesn't care what's done to his body as long as it's the occasion for a massive, loud, traditional Irish wake.
    • Deliberately avoided by 4-15-13 which is about, and takes its' title from the date of, the Boston Marathon bombing and in which they deliberately balance a tonal line between "not too dirge-like/not too loud".
  • Man in a Kilt: See the page image. (Although kilts are actually Scottish rather than Irish and were only introduced to Ireland in the early 1900s - Scruffy Wallace, the guy with the kilt, is actually UK/Canadian.)
  • Mind Screw: "State of Massachusetts" after you read into a few details.
  • Music for Courage: The Gauntlet
  • Protest Song: Several of their songs have a political message, often related to their shared Irish-American background, and especially to unions and worker's rights.
  • Punk Rock: Obviously.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: This is effectively the entire point of the Wicked Sensitive Crew.
    Well if you guys are hard then I'd rather be soft
    Man I gotta find me some seriously sensitive dudes!
  • Rewritten Pop Version
  • Scotireland: Largely averted; any Irish-American celtic punk band really has to know the difference. Although Spicy McHaggis is inspired by a menu item from a Scottish McDonald's.
    • In addition, lead singer Al Barr is actually Scottish-American. It's not really noticeable, though.
    • Although TV spots for the very Scottish Brave featured "I'm Shipping Up to Boston".
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: The subject of "Loyal to No One" declared that "we all die alone", and the song later notes "in this case you were right/No friends by your side, or family in sight", as his awful personality and use of others for his own gain while giving nothing in return has alienated his family and any friends he may have ever had.
  • Single Stanza Song: "I'm Shipping Up to Boston"
  • Storyboard Body: The subject of "Rose Tattoo" is heavily tattooed and makes it clear that each of his tattoos has a story and a significance, even if he may have been too drunk to remember all of the reasons. The one he's most proud of, though, is the eponymous rose tattoo with the name of a loved one on it.
    Some may be from showing up
    Others are from growing up
    Sometimes I was so messed up and didn't have a clue
    I ain't winning no one over
    I wear it just for you
    I've got your name written here
    In a rose tattoo
  • Subdued Section: "God Willing", "Boys on the Docks", many others...
  • Subverted Trope: "The Wicked Sensitive Crew" starts out by declaring that the idea that being tough means being stoic and emotionless has lost what little value it ever had through thoughtless imitation. You gotta shake hands with your feelings, in the Wicked Sensitive Crew.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: "The Green Fields of France"
  • Surrogate Soliloquy: "The Green Fields of France" which is sung to a dead soldier while sitting by his grave.
  • The American Civil War: Referenced in their version of the traditional Irish-American song "The Fighting 69th", which is about the 69th Infantry Regiment of the American Civil war, which was primarily composed of Irish New Yorkers.
    • Also the subject of "Broken Hymns."
  • Take That, Critics!: "Wicked Sensitive Crew" is this toward critics who claimed they glorified violence.
  • Three Chords and the Truth: Some of the bands earlier Oi!-influenced work fits this trope. Their later output is a bit more complex, especially when they begin to combine the folk and punk elements more organically.
  • War Is Hell: "Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye".