If Flogging Molly excels at one thing, it's rebranding. First, they took old-school Irish to punk, then Irish punk to militant labor songs. They employ traditional folksy accordion, penny-whistle, bodhran, fiddle, mandolin and concertina. But this isn't your granny's "Wild Irish Rose." Flogging Molly is punk to its hard core. They know how to pump the music Viagra. Here are the top 10 songs from Flogging Molly. We'll do them in reverse order, saving the best for last.
10. The Kilburn High Road: An angry-Irish, whiskey-fueled resistance song, Flogging Molly finds the sweet spot between poignant and schmaltz, furious and despair. The minor key running underneath saves it from being American country-fried Molly Hatchet, but only just.
9. Salty Dog: Flogging Molly has a clever way of taking old stories and turning them on their ear. A salty dog who finishes at the business end of a rope makes the listener reflect that a sailor's life is not all romantic Errol Flynn.
7. Black Friday Rule: One Flogging Molly song can sound very like another. What saves the song are the hackles-raising lyrics. The kick-butt accordion and fiddle reel are nice. But the guitar riff makes the pelvis tingle. It's almost worthy almost of Jimi Hendrix. Almost.
6. Rebels of the Sacred Heart: Now Flogging Molly is sentimental, Catholic-guilt-ridden Irish. But they also know you don't bring a heavy heart to a rebellion. So they rebel first (for a good cause) and do penance later. And find a balm in the bottle.
5. To Youth (My Sweet Roisin Dubh): This starts carping on typical Flogging Molly themes: Irish poverty, Irish oppression, Irish need to drink. It expresses penury so great there are no coins to put a "glint in a dead man's eyes." But then it ends with this heart-aching little farewell to a sweet maiden Roisin (Roy-sheen) Dubh.
4. Don't Shut 'Em Down: This new-era Flogging Molly song takes off the gauntlets and goes right for the corporate jugular. It identifies factory closures, greedy owners and job loss as villains in urban blight and crumbling society. It's the voice of Detroit and of organized labor.
3. Revolution: Another newer song, this one spells out just what people need to do in the face of corporate greed. Finally, Flogging Molly has evolved from aimless crying-and-drinking songs, to straight-up radical revolution preachers. They may even get as loud as the Dropkick Murpheys.
2. Devil's Dance Floor: The Irish might seem all cheery blarney. But it's the tears of a clown. There's a bitter edge to everything, even a pub jig. Woven in the fabric of this kitschy dance tune is angsty resistance. But being angry was never so much fun!
1. Raise What's Left of the Flag for Me: In the tradition of the Cranberries, this Flogging Molly song rages against the futility of war, of faith in a lost cause. It probably pushes the envelope past sadness to despair. But it's a helluva good anti-war cry.