Saint Paddy's Day is right around the corner, and there's no better time to make a pre–darty playlist featuring the best artists from the "Emerald Isle". Whether you're from Dublin or you're only Irish on this one day a year, Ireland certainly has some excellent music that's worth a listen. Here's a breakdown of the best artists from Ireland.
Arguably the most recognizable Irish band, U2 has been racking up hits for decades. “With or Without You” and “Beautiful Day” may be their most recognizable songs, but their range is much more diverse than their hits. “Acrobat”, off U2’s 1991 album Achtung Baby, features excellent vocals (as per usual) from Bono, who also wrote the lyrics. “Trip Through Your Wires” is another great—but not as publicly-heralded—U2 song, released off their 1987 album Joshua Tree. In 2014, U2 caught flak for automatically downloading their newest album to 500 million Apple Music listeners’ libraries with no warning, resulting in a massive public relations fiasco for both the band and Apple alike. However, failed PR stunt aside, U2 remains the premiere Irish rock band of the late 20th century.
The Belfast band has an incredibly deep discography and chart–topping hits to boot. “Brown Eyed Girl”, “Domino”, and “Blue Money” all peaked within the Billboard’s Top 25. Chances are, your parents were still in elementary school when all of these songs came out, but that doesn’t stop them from being classics. “Moondance”, which is centered around jovial piano and saxophone solos, is an incredible work. “Days Like This”, similarly, features a swinging saxophone and upbeat lyrics, with Van Morrison singing “When it's not always raining there'll be days like this/When there's no one complaining there'll be days like this/When everything falls into place like the flick of a switch/Well, my mama told me, ‘There'll be days like this.’”
Formed in 1989, the Cranberries are perhaps most well–known for their song “Zombie”, which acts as a protest anthem about bombings carried out by the Irish Republican Army in 1993. If you haven't heard "Zombie" before, you've likely heard "Linger" or "Dreams", two of The Cranberries' other famous tracks. Legendary lead singer and guitarist Dolores O’Riordan tragically died in 2018, and the Cranberries released music on the anniversary of her death this past January. Other songs worth a listen include hazy love anthem “When You’re Gone” and “Promises”, which heavily features O’Riordan both as vocalist and lead guitarist. Though the Cranberries have split up following O’Riordan’s passing, the Irish band’s positive legacy will undoubtedly persist for years to come.
Hozier, born Andrew Hozier-Byrne, leapt onto the scene in the early 2010s, most notably with the song “Take Me To Church” in 2013. Hozier’s discography, however, is much deeper than a one-hit wonder. “Cherry Wine”, “Someone New”, and “Like All People Do” are all standout songs from his 2014 self-titled album Hozier (Expanded Edition). Street loved his newest album, Wasteland, Baby!, and it scored him his first number one album on the Billboard 200 on March 10. Keep an eye on Hozier (if you haven’t already) as one of the premiere Irish artists out there at the moment.
Formed in 1994, Snow Patrol quickly rose to popularity as an indie-rock band. After shifting their sound to slightly more alt–rock, but maintaining their original influences in their sound, Snow Patrol found fame in the United States through their 2009 hit “Chasing Cars”. However, “What If This Love Is All You Get?” is also certainly a song worth checking out, as is “Just Say Yes”, a classic featured on their Greatest Hits album. Snow Patrol may have faded in popularity since the mid–2000s, but their 2018 album, Wildness, is also a decent listen.
The Dropkick Murphys were technically formed in Boston, but the Celtic rock band is undoubtedly rooted in Irish culture. “I’m Shipping Up To Boston”, a mainstay of Boston sports stadium anthems, is a timeless classic featuring folk singer Woodie Guthrie’s lyrics. “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” received a huge boost in popularity after being featured in the star–studded classic film, “The Departed". The single is the band’s most successful song to date and has officially been certified double platinum, but “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” is just one of the band’s many good tracks. “The State of Massachusetts”, “Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya”, and “The Boys Are Back” are all worthy features for your Saint Paddy’s Day playlist as well.