I'll Drink to That
The keg is tapped, the air is gray, and cigarette butts float like rotten cherries in half the drinks on the counter. Everyone's paired off, either contemplating the bathroom or arguing over when The Golden Girls jumped the shark. You need to get people focused. You need to get this shambling beast heading in a (swaying) straight line again. You need a sing-along. And not karaoke, either. You need songs about the one thing everyone in the room can agree upon: getting drunker. Throw the following songs onto a disc before the madness starts, and fellowship will be regained. Par-tay.
The Tune: "Drinking and Driving"
The Artist: The Business
A drinking song in its purest form, this punk rock pub shanty from England's The Business gives you the vicarious thrill of driving drunk with none of the risk.
Lyric to Slur the Loudest: "Knock it back/Have another one/Drinking and driving is so much fun!"
Drink: Irish car bomb
Level of Drunk Required: Pissed
The Tune: "Are You Drinking With Me, Jesus?"
The Artist: Mojo Nixon (with Jello Biafra)
This most memorable track off the Mojo Nixon-Jello Biafra collaboration Prairie Home Invasion (except, perhaps "Will the Fetus Be Aborted?") barely features Jello's signature political punk. It's pure bent country, Mojo-style, with such a simple sing-along style that even your most trashed friends can nail the chorus by the second verse. What would Jesus do? He'd drink up, sucker.
Lyric to Slur the Loudest: "I know you can walk on water/But can you walk on this much beer?"
Drink: Sacramental wine
Level of Drunk Required: Sloshed
The Tune: "Crabwalk"
The Artist: American Music Club
American Music Club's Everclear is a downer of an album, filled with sad, desperate musings about depression and alcoholism. So it was nice of them to slip one semi-ironic full-tilt drinkin' song into the mix. Don't worry, you won't be thinking about the meaning of lyrics like "No one has any pity/For the life of the party" while you're trying to figure out how to do the crabwalk.
Lyric to Slur the Loudest: "He reels around the nightclub/Like the hubcaps from a car/That just crashed into a sign/That says this way to the nightclub."
Drink: Vodka and Clamato
Level of Drunk Required: Stinko
The Tune: "Jesse James"
The Artist: The Pogues
While anything off the album known as Rum, Sodomy & the Lash is good for pure Irish decadence, the Missouri outlaw flavor of this American folk song gives this tune some added heft. Murder can be fun. Raise a toast to the king of bandits, won't you?
Lyric to Slur the Loudest: "It was Robert Ford, that dirty little coward, I wonder how he feels/For he ate of Jesse's bread and slept in Jesse's bed/Then laid poor Jesse in his grave."
Drink: A few gourds of corn whiskey
Level of Drunk Required: Liquored up
The Tune: "Doreen"
The Artist: The Old 97's
Hey, is someone getting a little maudlin up in here? Lover left someone sobbing in their cups? Avoid real sad drinkin' songs like "There's a Tear in My Beer" or "You Were Always on My Mind"...Those are party killers. Instead, pop that melancholy like a zit with this scream-along cheatin' song. And keep that sad guy or gal drinkin', there's happy tunes on the way.
Lyric to Slur the Loudest: "And the guy who plays the banjo/Keeps on handing me the Old Crow/Which multiplies my sorrow/I can't take it anymore."
Drink: Old Crow, natch.
Level of Drunk Required: Three sheets to the wind
The Tune: "Kiss Off"
The Artist: The Violent Femmes
Ask a drunk what he's rebelling against, and he'll reply, "Whaddya got...to drink?" The sloshed don't know what they're angry about, and neither do the Violent Femmes. Everyone between the ages of 20 and 35 knows every word to this song, and they will scream along uncontrollably. (Note: The Femmes' "Add It Up" works just as well.)
Lyric to Slur the Loudest: "[I took] eight, eight, I forget what eight was for/But nine, nine, nine for a lost God/And 10, 10, 10, 10 for everything, everything, everything, everything!"
Drink: Something you can handle taking for 10 shots. Apple Pucker?
Level of Drunk Required: Annihilated
The Tune: "Too Drunk to Fuck"
The Artist: The Dead Kennedys
Has it come to this? It has, my tanked friend, it has. The least attractive song about drinking in the world, The Dead Kennedys' "Too Drunk to Fuck," is a volatile additive. It will either implode your party or launch it into the boozy stratosphere. See you in March when the hangover wears off!
Lyric to Slur the Loudest: "But in my room/Wish you were dead/You ball like the baby in Eraserhead."
Drink: What's left?
Level of Drunk Required: Tore up from the floor up
Also play: "You Never Even Called Me By My Name," David Allan Coe; "Gang's All Here," the Dropkick Murphys; "Ain't That a Kick in the Head," Dean Martin; "The Piano Has Been Drinking," Tom Waits; "Family Tradition," Hank Williams Jr.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.