I am taking a Master’s level writing course, I don’t know if it will make me a better writer or not, but it has made me question a few things. The first module of the class involves questioning things that you read and to look at things from all angles before drawing any conclusions. I think that has caused me to approach writing this review differently than I normally would. A lot of times prior to listening to an album I will read something that has been written about it, and I don’t know if that actually affects my perception of what I am listening to, but it made me aware of that this time.
Before getting my first chance to listen to Signed and Sealed in Blood, the Dropkick Murphys’ latest offering, I read a claim talking about how the guitars are “ballsier” and the hooks are “catchier.” I really wanted to believe that, but then I had to think, this is the Dropkick Murphys we are talking about here, can the hooks really get “catchier?” These guys practically drew up the blueprint for catchy anthems and sing-a-long hooks. So I listened, all the while questioning those statements. What I came up with was this: when placed alongside their other albums, Signed and Sealed in Blood stays true to what fans of the group have come to expect, and serves to illustrate what the word “anthem” means to anyone who thought they knew what it means.
The Dropkick Murphys are not reinventing themselves with this record, but what they are doing is reestablishing themselves as the leaders of their brand of working-class punk. Songs about family, honour, and respect are commonplace on any DKM album, and you will find more of the same on this release. That isn’t to say that these songs feel old or recycled, which may happen to a band with 7 previous studio albums, because they don’t. Each song attacks the subject matter as if it had never been done before. That is what truly makes this album special and helps set it apart from the group’s previous efforts. That and “The Season’s Upon Us”, a Christmas song that can be listened to and appreciated at any time of the year. Signed and Sealed in Blood is what The Dropkick Murphys are all about, singing songs for the everyman, and this album truly is for everyone.