14 essential songs about drinking
“Here’s to alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.” A wise man by the name of Homer once said that, and while he may be fictitious and yellow – possibly due to alcoholic hepatitis – he wasn’t necessarily wrong. Who among us hasn’t woken up gummy-eyed on the floor, feeling like their soul has died and vowing through foul-smelling breath that they’ll never drink again? But then, who among us hasn’t woken up with a much-coveted traffic cone and a heroic tale to tell?
The world of rock’n’roll knows this, and has tales of its own to tell, so today we delve into the murky world of songs about drinking. It’s not big, it’s not clever, but is sure makes for some great tunes!
Municipal Waste – Beer Pressure
From their third studio album, 2007’s The Art Of Partying, Municipal Waste’s Beer Pressure concerns itself with the band’s apparent inability to look at a beer without drinking it, which, to be fair, seems to be a common problem among crossover thrash bands. Of course, you don’t need another beer, but it just sits there looking at you, cruelly taunting your sobriety with its hoppy goodness, winking at you with those little bubbles. Hell, it would be rude not to drink it! ‘It feels like they’re calling out to me, and I just can’t hold my restraint,’ sings frontman Tony Foresta, before the inevitable happens and said beer is swallowed.
Airbourne – When I Drink I Go Crazy
Employing the word ‘crazy’ no less than 45 times, this ditty from Aussie headbangers Airbourne is about as basic as the need to eat and shit. But let’s face it, you don’t really need anything complicated when you’re hammered enough to be ‘standing in the middle of the road, directing traffic like a ninja’. Nah, what you want is something simple, something that sounds like an AC/DC and Rose Tattoo cocktail (without a stupid umbrella) played at full volume, something easy to singalong to. And possibly a kebab. Airbourne are happy to supply everything but the kebab. Now, what are the words again?
The Ramones – Somebody Put Something In My Drink
Legend has it that Frank Sinatra’s favourite tipple was Tanqueray gin, which means that as unlikely as it may seem, he had something in common with da brudders Ramone. ‘Tanqueray and tonic’s my favourite drink / I don’t like anything coloured pink,’ sings Joey, sounding rather like he’s doing a Lemmy impression. Frank Sinatra, however, probably didn’t frequent the kind of establishment where his drink would get spiked, the song – written by drummer Richie – having apparently been based on a true story. And only the Ramones would be foolish enough ask for another one!
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Snake Eyes
Not so much about drinking, this one, as the consequences thereof. On Snake Eyes, from the aptly-titled Modern Ruin album of 2017, we find Mr. Carter laying in bed feeling rather worse for wear after what sounds like an almighty bender. ‘My stomach burning, body in pain while the room keeps turning,’ he laments, before making that optimistic and unrealistic promise to himself that he won’t ever do it again. ‘I’m in a daze at the end of the bottle, clearer days are all long forgotten,’ he continues woefully, and while we can all sympathise, the fact is he probably just needs a Bloody Mary and he’ll be right as rain.
Flogging Molly – Drunken Lullabies
Like many of their songs, Drunken Lullabies – the title-track of Flogging Molly’s magnificent second album – is basically about drowning one’s sorrows. Life’s a bit shit sometimes, so let’s get pissed. ‘’Cause we find ourselves in the same old mess, singing drunken lullabies.’ Often laced with a melancholic beauty, the songs are as much about celebration as sadness, with frontman Dave King dancing like someone’s drunk uncle at a wedding and wearing an ear-to-ear grin. It’s possible, of course, to go and see the band without getting plastered, but it’s not nearly as much fun.
Lamb Of God – 11th Hour
Sadly for some, it’s not all fun and games. We’ve made light of getting smashed and acting like a buffoon, but there is a dark side to alcohol, as evidenced on Lamb Of God’s 11th Hour – a tale of woe and self-destruction, and ‘a liquid embrace to chase away the day’. These days, frontman Randy Blythe is teetotal and last year announced a collaboration with Scottish brewers BrewDog for a non-alcoholic beer named Ghost Walker, after LoG’s song Ghost Walking which documents his path to sobriety. We’ll drink to that. Or not, as the case may be.
Tankard – Die With A Beer In Your Hand
With over 100 beer brands, including a pale lager called Fucking Hell, the Germans know a thing or two about brewing beer, so it stands to reason that their metal bands would write a few tunes about the stuff. None more so than Tankard who, over the course of an astonishing 17 albums, have written about little else. Granted there’s the odd song about metal, and the album from whence this particular song came is called Beast Of Bourbon, suggesting they they drink something other than beer once in a while. But mostly it’s beer. Fucking hell, indeed.
Poison Idea – AA
‘Bottle, bottle on the wall, who’s the drunkest of us all?’ Well, that would be Poison Idea in their heyday, a band whose drummer – the late and great Steve Hanford aka Thee Slayer Hippy – once passed out drunk in the toilets of a metal magazine for whom he was supposed to be reviewing the singles, and whose frontman, Jerry A could down a whole bottle of Jagermeister in one go without soiling himself. Surprisingly, the song is a cautionary tale as AA stands for Alcoholics Anonymous, not the roadside recovering service, which would be far from helpful if they were drunk.
FIDLAR – Cheap Beer
The average price for a pint of beer in London is a staggering £5.19! Average! Not that you’ll be doing much staggering at those prices. In FIDLAR’s hometown Los Angeles, meanwhile, you can expect to pay an average of $8 for a small bottle of imported beer. Minimum wage is $15. There is something to be said, therefore, about stocking up on the cheap stuff. Sure, it tastes like cat’s piss, but you can drink it all day, which is ideal for the long haul at a festival so you don’t pass out before the headliner – and it won’t cost you a month’s rent. Beer snobs be damned! As FIDLAR rightly point out, ‘I drink cheap beer, so what, fuck you!’
The Chats – Drunk N Disorderly
It’s fair to say that our Aussie cousins enjoy a drink or two (or three), breakfast usually being brewed rather than cooked, and generally being a warm-up for some serious drinking. Indeed, those lovable punk pissheads The Chats have a great many songs expounding the virtues of the ol’ falling over water, not least this minute (and a bit) long classic from their High Risk Behaviour album that sees them consuming everything from beer, rum and gin to Guinness and Fireball whiskey. It should noted that mixing said beverages will probably make you chunder down under.
Clutch – Drink To The Dead
Name a subject, any subject, and there are pretty good odds that the mighty Clutch have covered it in one of their songs. Hobgoblins brawling with Morris men? That’ll be Unto The Breach. Binary code? That’ll be – not surprisingly – 10001110101. Drinking? Oh yes! That’ll be the glorious Drink To The Dead from their ass-kicking fifth album, Pure Rock Fury. Of course, given Neil Fallon’s lyrical genius it’s not just a simple ode to getting blootered but more of a pirate’s sea shanty, a toast to absent friends, best enjoyed with some kind of grog that will make you go blind if you drink too much of it. Why are pirates called pirates? Because they aargh!
The Menzingers – I Can’t Stop Drinking
As has been previously mentioned, there is a dark side to alcohol, and rarely has that been captured with such brutal honesty as on this tune from The Menzingers’ Hello Exile, which tells the sorry tale of a relationship destroyed by excessive drinking. ‘When the cards and flowers don’t work, I sleep on the couch when I’m a jerk,’ goes the mournful refrain, before our narrator slinks off to a lonely bar and repeats the same miserable cycle. There comes a point when it’s time to quit.
Alkaline Trio – Cooking Wine
A brief search of the internet reveals that a bottle of DRC Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Romanee Conti 2017 Rated 98WA – whatever the fuck that is – will set you back around $19,000. A bottle of Holland House White Cooking Wine, meanwhile, costs $2.19. Admittedly, the latter probably tastes disgusting, but they’ll do the same job. Alkaline Trio may have sold a lot of records but they’re not fucking stupid! And, seriously, does anyone actually cook with wine? Certainly not Matt Skiba, who’s so minced that he’s seeing double… ‘The two of you look awfully pretty!’
Against Me! – Pints Of Guinness Make You Strong
Does Guinness make you strong? Well, it turns your poo black and gives you the squirts if you drink enough of it. But in all fairness, the point of the opening track from Against Me!’s debut album is more about remembering lost loved ones than the pros and cons of a well-known Irish beverage. Sometimes we drink to forget. Other times we drink to remember. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. Anyone fancy a pint?
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