The Pogues
If I Should Fall from Grace with God


4.0
excellent

Review

by DesolationRow USER (80 Reviews)
April 5th, 2006 | 15 replies | 4,769 views


Release Date: 1988 | Tracklist


3 of 3 thought this review was well written

Oral hygiene is one of the many aspects of cleanliness that makes people’s appearance seem more appealing. Everyone wants shiny, white, straight teeth so they don’t look like a complete loser. Shane MacGowan rivals that theory with a counterculture of excess. Being avidly open about his substance abuse, Shane MacGowan’s mouth is probably more well known than his songwriting. You think the man slurs words because he’s drunk? Hells no, brotha. The man has fewer teeth than most users here have meaningful posts. And Shane likes it that way, because he is regarded as the original barroom hero for the sole reason of having the ugliest teeth in history. But Shane is much more than just the worst looking Celtic musician. He is held as one of the greatest songwriters in the genre. And for good reason, too. The Pogues originated the subgenre of Celtic Punk, and two albums of theirs changed the course of folk rock. If I Should Fall From Grace With God is well one of the better folk albums of the past thirty years. Blending the catchy sound of traditional Irish folk music with a drunken attitude and persona of rock music, The Pogues became the fathers of Celtic punk, achieving status that no other Irish band has (bar Thin Lizzy). The barroom anthems and catchy jingles on If I Should Fall From Grace With God are enough to get nearly every song stuck in your helpless mind for days on end. Now is where Shane MacGowan proves to be more than attractively repulsive in looks.

If I Should Fall From Grace With God is not just a folk album with catchy melody and danceable tunes. It has variation, something very hard to come by in successors like Flogging Molly. The songwriting technique switches between hushed balladry, drunken anthems, and plain old Irish sing-along tunes. Shane MacGowan’s snarling, slurred voice is the perfect fit to an orchestra of mandolin, banjo and accordion. His lyrics manage to be completely incomprehensive, yet purvey a clear image of what he’s actually saying. To make a long story short, you can’t understand a damn thing he says, yet seem to know what the song is actually about. The melodies displayed on If I Should Fall From Grace With God are more than just average Celtic jingles. They manage to be emotional, captivating, and catchy as ***ing hell all at the same time. The juxtaposition between styles and techniques are never boring, and you could easily listen to the album at least three times a day.

Baltic sound is, as well encompassed on this album. May it only be for a very brief three minutes, forty seconds, Turkish Song of the Damned captures an almost Arabic quality, and still only melody driven by a sole accordion. On If I Should Fall From Grace With God, songwriting structures do not vary greatly, even though the melodic qualities never really sound similar. It follows a catchy verse usually with folk instruments carrying the melody, with an even catchier, punk employed chorus which will easily hook you to the album from the very first song. A few moments, in particular, showcase MacGowan’s ability to write on more mature subjects. Fairytale Of New York, the infamous Christmas song of the album, is a tale of ill fated lovers, with a dueling exchange of love and hatred between MacGowan and guest vocalist, the late Kristy MacColl. Thousands Are Sailing, as well displays the ability to write about despair and hardship. And Streets of Sorrow, the hushed acoustic number is one of the nicest listens on the whole album. Now, quite contrary to that position of gentle balladry, are MacGowan’s drugged out on ecstasy drinking songs. At first listen, within a few seconds, Fiesta sounds to be another quiet, Pink Floyd-esque sax driven song, reminiscent of Us And Them. The rowdy change of direction and lyrics based on beer defy that nature.
And if you have ever heard Seven Deadly Sins by Flogging Molly, you will easily notice the bootlegging of South Australia, where the melody is indecipherable between the two. But still, The Pogues were the originals.

As I proceed to conclude this review of a timeless Irish folk album, I would like to say that If I Should Fall From Grace With God is an terrific album, based on my own accord. The melodic structure, instrumental choice, and [lack of] understanding of Shane MacGowan’s lyrics is pure harmony at its folksiest. Though not as good as their later epic, Rum, Sodomy and The Lash, If I Should Fall… is a likeable album, with the easily hummed songs that occupy it. And back onto the subject of oral healthcare- It seems as if you do not need nice teeth to be considered awesome. Because Shane does it, with only a few (rotting) teeth, and still manages to front a band. Surprisingly, the man is still alive. Kudos, to you, Shane.



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Chart.
4.2
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other reviews of this album
Bartender EMERITUS (4.5)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
The Jungler
April 5th 2006



4827 Comments


Great Review
I wish I could say my opinion, but alas I have yet to pick up a single Pogues album. I'm guessing I should pick this one up first right? Considering it's 4.7 and all.


DesolationRow
April 5th 2006



833 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nah, pick up Rum, Sodomy and the Lash. It's much better.

Two-Headed Boy
April 5th 2006



4527 Comments


originally posted by review:
Oral hygiene is one of the many aspects of cleanliness that makes people’s appearance seem more appealing. Everyone wants shiny, white, straight teeth so they don’t look like a complete loser.

Holy shit I just went to the dentist today!

morrissey
Moderator
April 5th 2006



1688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Some of your language was a little too pointlessly pedestrain (like saying loser without it being a joke when you could have easily said something a little more fitting), but that's just a really minor nit-pick. Overall very good review.
This is such a great album, but it would be nice to read a Pogues review where the music was more important than the teeth. :p

morrissey
Moderator
April 5th 2006



1688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sorry buddy my Housemartins review devotes a good 500 words to Heaton's maxillary lateral incisor alone.

DesolationRow
April 5th 2006



833 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Moz, you read loser out of context. It is not meant to be taken seriously. The introduction paragraph is one big joke.

And Sylvia: Medley is my favorite song on here...:upset:

DesolationRow
April 5th 2006



833 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wait, the tracklist isn't wrong... Plus even if it is, I didn't do it.

JohnXDoesn't
April 5th 2006



1267 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Very nice review. I love this album. I like all that irish folk rock stuff. Unless you are Slade. My favorite cut from this is Fairytale Of New York. In fact that's one of my favorite songs ever. Heart breaking and hilarious all at once...


Bartender
Emeritus
April 5th 2006



826 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The Medley is also close to my favourite song on the album.

I can't help but notice that Mike Skinner's mouth seems to resemble Shane's more and more as time goes by.

Zebra
Moderator
April 5th 2006



2647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

[quote=review]If I Should Fall From Grace With God is well one of the better folk albums of the past thirty years.[/quote]
Blasphemy.
This is a great album, much better then that other famous one of theirs. Turkish Song of the Damned is the best the Pogues have ever done, and Metropolis is an excellent instrumental. The only thing I dislike about the album is how it sort of fades away towards the end.

Badmoon
April 6th 2006



384 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Though not as good as their later epic, Rum, Sodomy and The Lash

Wasn't RSATL an earlier album? And I feel it doesn't stand well next to Grace with God.

Fiesta sounds to be another quiet, Pink Floyd-esque sax driven song

I fail to see much Pink Floyd in that song.

I love this album, probably one of my top three favorite albums. It has so many great songs, and no one can touch the sound.
This Message Edited On 04.06.06

Med57
Moderator
April 6th 2006



1001 Comments




Nah, pick up Rum, Sodomy and the Lash. It's much better.


Big word to this. Not to say that this is a bad album, as it blatantly isn't, but I don't think it stands up to Rum, Sodomy and The Lash at all. Nice review, ent.

The Jungler
April 6th 2006



4827 Comments


Do the Pogues sing that song that goes I would walk five thousand miles and I would walk five thousand more, or something like that?

DesolationRow
April 6th 2006



833 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No, the opening to Fiesta sounds very similar to Us and Them. Everyone takes my words out of context...

masada
May 5th 2006



2733 Comments


Who needs teeth when you can be Shane MacGowan.

*thrust*



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