Christmas Countdown: An Introduction To The Pogues

Apart from being everyone’s favourite Christmas song (sorry Mariah, Kirsty’s got you beat) maybe you haven’t heard much or any of the Pogues, and it is true they are a slightly acquired taste. Rarely in my experience do you need to get your ear in before listening to a band, if you’re one to let music wash over you then maybe they aren’t for you. Listening to The Pogues, at least at first, is more of a translation then easy listening but the rewards for perseverance are boundless.

Formed in 1982, the name coming from the anglicised translation of the Gaelic phrase ‘póg mo thóin’ (I’ll leave you to find the translation) their music is diverse, political and traditional simultaneously. In fact, even their style is symptomatic of this, played on the tin whistle and the accordion. Their music is new and shocking even now thirty years later.

Amongst the music of The Pogues, you’ll find traditional Irish songs, poetic ballads, punk, heavily politicised songs just about every sort of music your heart could wish for. The Pogues are wild and free ranging, rarely polite and never ordinary. Maybe they aren’t for everyone, but they’ll always be more than that one Christmas song.


Saoirse O’Connor