Wednesday, April 9, 2008

No. 445: Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash

Band: The Pogues
Album: Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: Shane McGowan is a wonderful songwriter and the record is a testament to the Irish folk music in which he dabbled. The band's Irish style is popular worlds over.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: This record does not hit me. I have never really enjoyed Irish culture, so I can't speak to the greatness of the record.
Best song: Ugh.
Worst song: Ugh.
Is it awesome?: Someone else needs to rate this. Commenters, go!

I hate to be this person, but I can mostly do without the Irish love that sometimes pops up in the United States. I don't have anything against the Irish, per se. I'm sure Ireland is a nice place. I don't drink beer, so I can't speak to the tastiness of Guinness. I'm not a fan of Notre Dame or the Boston Celtics. I am very brand-loyal toward Irish Spring soap (I am not kidding), but that's about the extent of it.

(A particular pet peeve of mine is St. Patrick's Day v. Cinco de Mayo. I feel like Cinco de Mayo should be as big a holiday as St. Patrick's Day. It's a similar thing -- ethnic holiday based around drinking -- with much better food. Why isn't Cinco de Mayo more popular? Because it comes from Mexico and Americans now, apparently, hate Mexicans.)

So... The Pogues don't speak to me. It doesn't help that Decemberists lead man Colin Meloy -- a human and a band that annoy me more than just about anyone -- cites it as his favorite album. Pitchfork -- an organization of which I am a fan -- ranked the album 67th best album of the 1980s.

I like Sinéad O'Connor's record, but the rest of the Irish culture in America situation never really hit me.

Still, the traditional Irish vocal cadence, the tin whistle and the thematic elements are not my favorite things. Like many records, I'm wildly unqualified to write about this stuff, so I'll simply point you to two things:

Sorry readers, I have failed you.


bob_vinyl said...

I think the Pogues should be represented, but I would choose If I Should Fall From Grace With God instead. Really that's splitting hairs though.

I like your point about Saint Patrick's Day versus Cinco de Mayo. Remember though that "Americans" once hated the Irish too and now one day a year everyone pretends to be Irish. Hopefully the current state of increased bigotry will subside (and not just because I prefer burritos to corned beef and cabbage).

R.J. said...

Excellent point. Not to dive too deep into the immigration debate, but every generation had their hated immigrants. About fifty years after the United States were founded, it was the Germans and Dutch. Later, it was the Irish. Later still, the Italians. In my early life, it was South Asians. Now, it's Hispanic Americans.

I hope it will pass, but with the sad state of America (as in, it is politically smart for a lot of officials to be against immigration), I wonder how long it will last.

Garry Shuck said...

I'm sure you're loving the "Flogging Molly" wave that the indie folks are riding these days!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Garry. Flogging Molly is so five years ago.

Oh god, sense of indie superiority is overwhelming me... as.... I... type.

That being said, I love the Pogues. Just check out Shane and the guys goffing off in Alex Cox's Straight to Hell. Fucking brilliant.