The Pogues: If I Should Fall from Grace with God – #871 of best 1,000 albums ever!

The Pogues - If I Should Fall from Grace with God

Why is The Pogues’ If I Should Fall from Grace with God on my best 1,000 albums ever list?

Meshes traditional Irish sounds with a propulsive punk sensibility. In short, a bottle of smoke.

Some stats & info about The Pogues – If I Should Fall from Grace with God

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Celtic, Celtic Rock, Folk, Folk Rock, Indie Rock, Rock, Rock Music, Punk, Punk Music
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating4.5 out of 5 stars
  • When was If I Should Fall from Grace with God released? 1988
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #871 out of 1,000

The Pogues’ If I Should Fall from Grace with God on Spotify

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.

What does The Pogues’ If I Should Fall from Grace with God mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?

I’m pretty sure I first heard of The Pogues in college, in Binghamton, New York (more on that below) and I’m definitely sure it didn’t come in the form of taking one of their albums and throwing it on and appreciating them that way. Instead it came in the form of hearing them played in dorm rooms and saying, “These guys are good, who are they?”

And I either made or got a hold of a mix tape (this is when mix tapes were still a thing, kids) and at some point, I became aware that “Bottle of Smoke,” off If I Should Fall from Grace with God, was my favorite Pogues song. Because, well, this thing smokes, and it does so in a way that is so unusual and highly pleasing for someone like myself who did not grow up listening to Irish folk music.

But don’t be fooled: “Bottle of Smoke” is like if an Irish folk song was smashed together with a punk song, sprayed down full well from a nice tall pint that’s been served up at a local pub that’s a bit run down and a bit rough and yet is a place you’ll likely have the best night of your entire life and/or head for the exits when an eventual brawl busts out.  

The Pogues, at least for a large chunk of their run, were blessed with the singular voice and talents of front man Shane MacGowan, who has a ferociousness meets drunken mumble meets sad Irish intensity to his performances unlike anything you’ll hear from anyone else.

The title track, “If I Should Fall from Grace with God” shows off how great The Pogues are at crafting catchy pop songs that at the same time have layered Irish instrumentation. And, bonus, it’s the kind of song that you can sing along with at the pub even if it’s If I should fall from grace with God! And Let me go boys, let me go boys!

“Turkish Song of the Damned” proves out the band’s range, bringing in a really intriguing and almost cinematic Arab flavor.

While this song won’t be appearing on an album included in this best 1,000 albums ever list, I’m an enormous fan of the yearning, catchy as all get out “Tuesday Morning,” from the post-MacGowan album, Waiting for Herb.

When I attended Binghamton University, it was considered a very good “value school” (and I believe it still is) for the reason that you can get a decent education while paying more affordable tuition versus private universities. This is particularly true if you’re an “in state resident,” meaning you get the best deal if you’re a New Yorker.

Therefore, almost everyone I knew was also from New York, with collections of people from Long Island (like me), New York City, and what we NYC and Long Island cohorts would offhandedly refer to as “upstate New York,” which, it turns out people from Rochester County and Westchester and parts north and west took issue with for some reason.

I also knew a guy named Dennis, but everyone knew him as Denny, or “Denny from Delaware.” That’s how rare out-of-state students were.

Denny, a musician in his own right, was into ska music and was an absolutely huge Pogues fan.

Denny was a guy that I spent a goodly amount of time around during a few compressed year of college insanity, and got to know fairly well. And he’s one of those countless people that you know for a time and then they move on and you move on yourself. I hope Denny from Delaware is doing well.