Favourite Irish albums of the CLUAS writers
Brian Kelly's top 5 Irish albums of all time...
Album: 'The Undertones' (1978)
In 1978, The Undertones released their first album. It was an instant classic.
Containing one of the greatest songs of all time in 'Teenage Kicks', this self-titled debut was a goldmine of pop gems; 3 minutes of beautiful, bitter sweet music played with Ramones-type speed and swagger. Every track on this album could have being released as a single. As well as TK, there was 'Male Model', 'True Confessions', 'Get Over You' and 'Here Comes the Summer'. They didn't seem to do 'album tracks'; everything was instantly catchy and singable, a tribute to the songwriting genius of the brothers O Neil, ably assisted by bassist Michael Bradley and drummer Billy Doherty. Fergal Sharkey wasn't involved in the songwriting process, but his distinctive, high-pitched warbling voice set the Undertones apart and in many ways, defined the sound of the band. Definitely one of the best Irish albums of all time from one of the best Irish bands ever.
Album: 'Boy' (1980)
I know, I know, there are better U2 albums than 'Boy', but for this boy in 1980, U2'S first album was the greatest record ever made! I was sixteen years old then and riding the crest of the 'New Wave'. Band like The Jam and Siouxsie and the Banshees were never off my turntable, so when our own new wave dynamos appeared in the form of U2, I was hooked from the first single. I lapped up every early release, thinking each song sounded better and more exciting than the last. It was a glorious period discovering this painfully hip new band who looked and dressed cool and played 'our kind of music'. So you can imagine how enthralled I was with U2's first long player. The cool minimalism of the cover and album title only added to their appeal and when the opening chords of the opening track ' I Will Follow' entered my head, I realised I had a new band name to write on my school bag!
Act: The Pogues
Album: 'If I Should Fall from Grace with God' (1988)
It was summer of '88 when I first heard the 2nd Pogues album. I was living in a squat (great street cred, man!) in Stoke Newington, London at the time (and this record literally struck a chord with me. In a world of 3 people playing 3 chords in post-punk bands, the Pogues were a glorious aberration. They made a noise like The Dubliners meeting The Damned in a continental cathouse. It was a glorious irreverent racket and by Christ, could they play. In Shane Mac Gowan, they had a songwriter as talented as he was thoughtful. His paeans to loneliness, love, sorrow and the whole immigration experience made IISFFGWG the classic album it is now. 'Thousands Are Sailing' could have being written personally for everyone who took the boat and the plane to Britain and America, while 'Fairy Tale of New York' remains the best Christmas song ever. He may have fallen since, but this album remains MacGowan's and the Pogues masterpiece.
Act: My Bloody Valentine
Album: 'Loveless' (1991)
Why do I like this album so much? Easy, it's a true original unlike anything I have heard before or since. On initial playing, this 1991 album from Dublin band My Bloody Valentine sounds like white noise. You might even think the batteries on your CD Walkman aren't working, such is the level of distortion going on. But spend some time with this record and you'll discover the sonic genius of Kevin Shields, the band's guitarist and producer of 'Loveless'. Not since James Hendrix in his heyday has anybody taken the guitar to such extreme and exacting lengths as on this album. It's a bold and strangely beautiful soundscape built around riffs, samples and effects with the vocals buried deep in the mix. I'll be the first to admit the experimentation and innovation doesn't always come off, but tracks like 'When you sleep', 'I only said' and 'Soon' more than make up for any weak moments. 17 engineers are credited on the sleeve of this record. 17!! Exacting, exhausting and infuriating, as it must have been, each one played their part in making this one of the most unique records of recent times.
- Check out the final Top 50 Irish Albums of All Time as voted by CLUAS.com readers
- Discuss this selection of best Irish albums of all time on the CLUAS Discussion Board.
- Check out the top 5 Irish albums of all time chosen by these other CLUAS writers:
Allen Conlan Anthony Morrissey Brano Brian Farrelly Brian Kelly Celine O'Malley Chris Ford Ciaran Wrenn Cormac Looney Donal Griffin Dromed Gav Reilly Hugh Tynan Jimmy Murphy Jules Jackson Ollie O'Leary Stephen McNulty