Week 66: “Be Good or Be Gone” by Fionn Regan

When I found out that Irish folk artist Fionn Regan cites Neil Young and Bob Dylan as influences, I thought, “cool, so he’s got great lyrics and a really annoying voice. No thanks.”

Thankfully, those two icons have had a bigger influence on Regan’s heart than his vocal cords, so I put aside my folk prejudices and got to know his music better. And with a brand new album out this month (the beguilingly-titled “100 Acres of Sycamore”) this might just be the perfect time for you to get to know him too.

What makes this a beautiful song:

1. The lyrics. The Irish are so good at drinking that we often forget their remarkable ability to produce more poets and authors per capita than probably any other country on earth. Yeats, Joyce, Beckett, Swift, Wilde, Seamus Heaney, C.S. Lewis…the list goes on. Regan does his countrymen proud with some great lines in this song. My favourite is, “I have become/An aerial view/Of a coastal town/That you once knew.”

2. The backing vocals. They first appear at 0.47, and they’re so timid-sounding that the line “be good or be gone” sounds less like a threat and more like a meek request.

3. The video. If it were up to me, this would be the new video for Ireland’s board of tourism. It also supports the song’s message that being good is important, no matter who or where you are.

Recommended listening activity:

Ordering a coffee and tipping gratuitously.

Buy it here.