Take This To Heart Records have released their 2023 Fall Sampler that includes tracks by Pony, Orson Wilds, Snarls, Magazine…
Dropkick Murphys – The Meanest Of Times
The Meanest Of Times - Born & Bred Records
I’ve said this before about a few other CDs and I’m sure I’ll say it again on a few more CDs, but Dropkick Murphys‘ The Meanest Of Times is one of those CDs that reminds me why I got into this whole scene in the first place.
Amidst all the emo plodder that are clogging the airwaves and my review pile, it’s nice to get a CD from a band like The Murphys because it is energetic, catchy, and just great punk rock – and even better with the slight Celtic twist that the Murphys are known for. Although, to be honest, that Celtic vibe isn’t as prominent on here are it has been on recent releases as the only heavily Celtic songs on the record areFairmont Hill, Rude Awakenings, and (F)Lanningan’s Ball (featuring members of The Pogues and The Dubliners). Instead, the band has gone for a more energized punk rock approach using the traditional instruments like the banjo, mandolin, tin whistle, accordion, bagpipes and so on to kick the songs up a notch without slowing them down at all.
In fact, The Meanest Of Times is the most energetic the band has been since 2001’s Sing Loud, Sing Proud as they have come together for a more unified feel creating songs that feature bigger sing-along portions than anything we’ve seen in a while; like on God Willing which features a massive gang chorus about death coming too soon that will be amazing to sing live. Echoes On “A” Street is a tribute to the member’s wives while Vices & Virtues tells stories of four men’s death bringing them up to an almost heroic stature while never revealing the names. I’ll Begin Again is a straight forward rock’n’roll song contrasted nicely by the slower, traditional Fairmont Hill which follows. Other songs like Loyal To No One and Shattered follow in God Willing‘s foot steps and carry a fierce chorus and no one can forget the two closing tracks, Johnny I Hardly Knew Ya and Never Forget, which are easily two of the best tracks to cap of an album that I’ve heard in a very long time.
The album is energetic and fast thorough out. It’s a great punk rock record with a slight Celtic flare thrown in to really cement the songs into your memory and pump up the energy once again. I will admit that I miss the fact that there’s no songs like The Green Fields Of France or Kiss Me I’m Shitfaced because those two slow songs are some of of The Murphys bests output over the past few years but The Meanest Of Times does not suffer from the lack of slow songs. In fact, I would probably complain that it was ruining the flow of the album if a song like The Green Fields Of France made an appearance on the record.
Suffice to say, The Murphys are back on track with The Meanest Of Times as the album feels like a rejuvenated band as they sing with passion about family and friends, growing up and growing old, love and death and heartfelt, passionate matters. It’s sincere and makes singing along with them all the more enjoyable – and helps make The Meanest Of Times one of the better releases of the year.