I was listening to a song by the Irish band Snow Patrol today in the car, a band I like very much, and a thought came into my head, and I decided to deliver it here to the internet, because that is what I do. Why are Irish bands so anthemic? I find this commonality in so many of them, this heart-on-the-sleeve, larger-than-life quality. I doubt that Snow Patrol would think of themselves as anthemic and might lob a pint at me for saying so, but hey. I hear it. And there is a place for the grand sweeping shared emotion in rock and roll, certainly.

Look at artists like Van Morrison and Sinead O’Connor. They are not exactly humor-filled rock party people. They are serious and want you to know it. They put everything into each performance, and do not seem to care too much if you like it or not. Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries is similar, except she uses even more vocal hiccups and gyrations in her emoting. If you put the three of them together you would have a hermaphrodite troll with huge brown eyes and scant hair who lives in a pub dumpster and rips up pictures of religious leaders while yodeling. Epic.

The Pogues are so sincere they don’t even bother with teeth. That’s hardcore.

Bob Geldof of The Boomtown Rats was so very filled with grandness that he started the famous rock n’ roll charity, Live Aid. Which brings us to the most anthemic, most emotional, most massively Irish band ever, U2. I must say, I did not totally see this when they first came out, for two reasons: they seemed sort of normal and happy, and I thought Bono was cute. But it was there. Even in the ringing repeated guitar sound and the near-operatic blast of Bono’s singing, it was there…”two hearrrrrrts, beat as onnnnnnne, two hearrrttsss…” Bono did not care one tiny bit about looking like a prat. He just put everything out on the table. Quickly thereafter, Jesus further entered their scene and U2’s music got even more grand and pleading. I suppose if you are trying to get the attention and favor of God, you should be all damn sincere or, like Santa, God will smite you with coal and send you to Hell with the Welsh and Tom Jones. I believe Bach would agree. But he was not Irish, and does not belong in this essay.

But what is it about the Irish in particular? What makes them more dramatic and sincere? Is it Irish beer? Is it rainier there? Is it the Protestant v. Catholic nonsense? Do the Irish just go around all day emoting and prosthelyzing, hugging and hitting people? I do not know. I have never been there, and although have an Irish background, I may be too snarky to pass Irish muster. That is more of a Brit thing, and let’s not even get into the weirdness of the Scots. Jeez.

Ah! But maybe that is it! The Irish are the anti-British, open versus closed, sincere versus sarcastic, blowsy and grand versus self-effacing and fakely modest. If I had more than 30 minutes to write this, I would just keep going with those, but I don’t. Do continue on your own free time.

Irock people, I salute you today. Good god, you all made it out of Ireland for one, and for two, you make some very interesting and thought-provoking music that is enjoyed by millions all over the world. Keep emoting, you big babies, I love you.

I watched this on my 19th birthday.

U2 -- "I Will Follow" and "Twilight" on The Tomorrow Show With Tom Snyder