If humans are to evolve as a species, one of the things we must do is get past the impulse to play Ed Sheeran’s “Galway Girl” on St. Patrick’s Day. When March 17 comes around this year, avoid the clichés with this selection of alternative tracks from the Emerald Isle.
Róisín Murphy—“Murphy’s Law”
Dua Lipa was the undisputed disco queen of 2020, but Murphy was a close second with her Róisín Machine album, which features this slick standout.
Fontaines D.C.—“A Hero’s Death”
Here’s a taut, moody, critically acclaimed post-punk track from Dublin’s finest young rock group.
Pillow Queens—“Handsome Wife”
The sound of R.E.M. and early Radiohead have been channeled into a chest-burstingly cathartic queer anthem. Who doesn’t want that?
Inhaler—“When It Breaks”
Well, of course, the band that has Bono’s son as the lead singer sounds a little bit like U2. But Elijah Hewson and his pals are quickly developing their own propulsive spin on stadium-ready rock.
JC Stewart—“Break My Heart”
This Northern Irish singer-songwriter’s Insta bio describes him as “Professional Sad Boy.” He’s no wallflower, though; when he hits you with the feels, he hits hard.
Niall Horan—“No Judgement”
Harry Styles is winning the post-One Direction solo-career race by a distance, but don’t sleep on Niall Horan. This is just one of many great low-key pop bops in his arsenal.
My Bloody Valentine—“Sometimes”
We know them as unarguable indie-rock pioneers but, at least once a year, we should also tip our hats to the Irish roots of the band’s frontman, Kevin Shields, and drummer Colm Ó Cíosóig.
If only for its referencing of Ireland’s political strife, “Zombie” is usually the one Cranberries jam that gets a spin on St. Patrick’s Day. But “Dreams” is way more fun, and it’s featured several times on the fabulous Derry Girls sitcom (now streaming on Netflix).
Lankum—“The Wild Rover”
If you really feel like going back to the old country, then why not do it with Lankum’s beautifully melancholic take on what is usually performed as a rowdy drinking song.
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