Music Review: The Pogues – The Very Best of the Pogues

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The Pogues
The Very Best of the Pogues
Now Available at Shout Factory

Punk is not simply a musical style or fashion aesthetic; punk is a look in the eye. The Pogues proved this without a doubt upon forming back in 1982. Fronted by Shane Macgowan–in songwriting, singing, and swaggering antics–the Pogues often outdid the Sex Pistols in their excesses.

Despite the Guinness-fueled shenanigans, no punk band–actually, few bands of any sort–has ever written as many beautiful ballads as the Pogues. Paul McCartney may be the pop song maestro, but MacGowan should be crowned the king of the sentimental sad song.

They’re all distilled down in the The Very Best of the Pogues, form the Christmas carol “Fairytale of New York” to the rousing, life-affirming “The Sunny Side of the Street.” A Yuletide greeting and life-affirming punk anthem? It’s all part of what makes the Pogues special. One can always quibble with the choices on a greatest hits disc, but this collection does what it should: makes you yearn for more.

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