After recovering from 2011’s, “migraine“-inducing Going Out in Style, Dropkick Murphys decided to go all in on unrestrained, fun singalongs, as they put it; no over-thinking, no grandiose concepts, just throw-an-arm-around-your-fellow-man stuff. They hit their mark with a bagpipe-blowin’, mandolin-strummin’ party. This songwriting approach – filtered through their “fuck it” personality and vagabond lifestyle – led to some cheerfully irresponsible choruses. Loyal only to Boston and the working class chip on their collective shoulder, Murphys’ Signed and Sealed in Blood suggests a philosophy of living as if the world truly is ending tomorrow. And possibly that home ownership is overrated. Here are five prime examples of that freewheeling mentality:

Rose Tattoo

This ode to ink celebrates the versatile purposes of tattoos: drunken stunts, love letters, reminders, or badges of honor. Getting a tattoo while “so messed up” that you don’t “have a clue” takes a certain degree of recklessness, but this passage truly embodies the vagrant lifestyle – aimless traveling after some vice indulgence, all documented as an autobiography in the only archive a road warrior has: his or her skin: [LISTEN]

I’d wake up every morning and before I’d start each day
I’d take a drag from last night’s cigarette that smoldered in its tray
Down a little something and then be on my way
I traveled far and wide, and laid my head in many ports
I was guided by a compass, saw beauty to the north



“Burn” tops this album in lack of fucks given. Since “we’re all goin’ down tomorrow,” nothing matters. All worries are replaced by “mayhem,” and money will soon be worthless, so it’s time to gamble, drink, “dig up skeletons” and cause trouble – someone else can “foot the bill” when we’re all in hell. It’s a fast-paced romp through the complete abandonment of consequence. Even if you do need to work tomorrow or pick up the kids from soccer practice – who doesn’t like having a wee party around the fire and pretending for a moment you don’t have responsibilities? [LISTEN]

Cash me out and count me in, it’s our time we’re gonna win
And if we don’t, well, you can pay the bill
Demons all be damned, catch the sight, enjoy the ride
They said we’d never learn, we never will

The Season’s Upon Us

We’ve all got at least one family member we dread seeing come holiday season, and some of us find it hard to name one we actually do want to see. Whether this is autobiographical or not, the family here falls into the latter category. With the alcoholic father, the teddy-bear-raping dog, and the nephew who gift-wraps his own excrement, Dropkick Murphys both celebrate dysfunctional families and explain why some people will never care for the holidays: [LISTEN]

With family like this, I have to confess
I’d be better off lonely, distraught and depressed

I’m so glad this day only comes once a year
You can keep your presents, your opinions, your happy new year

My Hero

“Dear old Dad” seems to be the source of the submission to fate and circumstances that drives the Murphys’ foolhardy hedonism and apathy. Pops spurts a string of inspirational advice, including how to be a man, how to work hard, and how to be “true to yourself” – he even lets junior know “Dad will always have your back.” However, Dad just doesn’t have the strength to overcome his own hardships – he’ll always be junior’s “hero,” but he needs one of his own: [LISTEN]

Make the most of what they give ya, to yourself you must be true
I don’t wanna live to fight another day
If things don’t always go our way
I don’t wanna live to fight another day
That’s what my old man would say

End of the Night

This drunk’s manifesto, or the “loser’s anthem,” as the band have referred to it as, both celebrates the “second home” of the boozer and acknowledges his “disgrace” when he gets booted from the bar as a lowlife lush. In between, our barfly jovially tells all the stories you’ve heard before, but also bemoans his writing “the book on bad luck” over a ’50’s ballad a la “Earth Angel.” While singing about both sides of the alcohol coin, all of those messages are delivered with apathy compared to the main point: they don’t give two shits if it’s closing time – they “ain’t goin’ home:” [LISTEN]

We live for the weekend, each city’s the same
There’s a bar on the corner where they won’t know your name
There’s plenty of drink, they’ve been saving your chair
It’s our second home, we ain’t goin nowhere