Shane MacGowan, the lead singer and song writer of the Pogues, wrote (co-wrote Streets of Sorrow) both The Streets Of Sorrow/ Birmingham Six and the Sunnyside of the Street, but each of these songs are very different in their perspective. Each song uses tone and rhyme to describe the streets, but each has an entirely different view of what the street is and represents.
The Streets of Sorrow/ Birmingham Six has a very dark and even outraged tone through out the song. It describes the danger and corruption in the streets of England for an Irishman through its personification of the Sorrowful and Painful Streets (1) and by describing the actions of the British police. “There were six men in Birmingham In Guildford there's four That were picked up and tortured And framed by the law And the filth got promotion But they're still doing time For being Irish in the wrong place And at the wrong time.” (13-20) The Streets of Sorrow/ Birmingham Six also uses rhyming and repetition to emphasize what the street is. Like in the first stanza, “Oh farewell you streets of sorrow Oh farewell you streets of pain I'll not return to feel more sorrow Nor to see more young men slain” (1-4)
The Sunnyside of the Street‘s tone, however, has an upbeat tone because of their positive out look when their situation isn’t ideal. The song uses rhyme to accent this theme by rhyming the good times with the bad times and then ending the stanza with the Sunnyside of the Street (9). “Seen the carnival at Rome Had the women I had the booze All I can remember now Is little kids without no shoes... (but) Now I'm walking on the sunnyside of the street” (1-9)
In conclusion, neither The Streets Of Sorrow/ Birmingham Six nor The Sunnyside of the Street is better than one another, despite having a similar theme, they serve a different purpose.
For, The Streets Of Sorrow/ Birmingham Six was written to incite anger against the British Government for their treatment of the Irish People and The Sunnyside of the Street was written in order to show people that you can get through the tough times by just remembering and recognizing the good times.