March 15, 2002

Test Spin: Shane MacGowan's Popes

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Shane MacGowan is the greatest songwriter. Better than Dylan, Reed, Cohen, Mitchell, Waits. I am available, by appointment, to argue this not so humble opinion over a pint. Even if you don’t believe me, believe that he belongs in the same echelon of songwriters as the sacred cows above. MacGowan’s compositions possess all the beauty, depth, and melody that make a great song, but manage to maintain an organic simplicity that is stunning. Across the Broad Atlantic, a live album recorded at two separate St. Patty’s celebrations (Dublin and NY) spans Shane’s 25 year career focusing on the first three Pogues records, the two MacGowan solo albums, traditional Irish songs and a beautiful cover of Hank Williams’ “Angel of Death.” Shane’s drunken growl will have you crying, dancing, laughing, howling and wanting to smash those Brits. All the classics are here, including a duet with Shane’s mother on “Fairytale of New York.” With St. Patty’s right around the corner, this may be the perfect gift for that special O’Somebody. Cheers.

Archived article by Maxim Pozdorovkin