Front Page Reviews & AIR
Rowdy, Surly, Remorseful
What makes a great drinking song? The ingredients can be as varied as those in a good cocktail. For me, the recipe isn’t really dependent on any one characteristic rhythm or melody. Sure, there are certain chord progressions, beats and vocal patterns that lend themselves to mug-swinging more than others, but if we allowed ourselves to focus on that, the following list might be entirely filled with Dropkick Murphy’s tunes and “Yo-Ho-Ho and a Bottle of Rum”.
As it turns out, my favorite drinking songs have more to do with lyrical content, complimented by a musical arrangement that adeptly captures that content’s essence. For me, the most appealing drinking songs aren’t those that blatantly glorify or romanticize the drinking process. That’s why you won’t find the Beastie Boys’ “Brass Monkey” or LMFAO’s “Shots” on my list. Instead, I think the best booze-based numbers accomplish something a bit subtler, capturing not only the feeling of drunkenness, but also the range of motives, moods and reflections that so often accompany it. In my mind, they paint a more complete picture, and thus invite greater identification from the listener.
A disclaimer: While I’ve put a good amount of thought into compiling the following list, it is no doubt biased by my own tastes and severely limited by the incomplete spectrum of my own musical experience. With that said, I hope you’ll add your own nominations to the list, and explain what makes your chosen drinking songs special to you. Now, without further ado, and in no particular order, the top ten drinking songs of all time:
1. Tom Waits - “The Piano Has Been Drinking”
2. Johnny Cash - “Sunday Morning Coming Down”
Tom Waits, “Sight for Sore Eyes”
Beck/Johnny Cash, “Rowboat”