The Best Songs About Drinking
For better, or worse, arguably the biggest inspiration for musicians has been drinking. To honour this sordid relationship we've listed some of our favourite tracks created by the bottle, for the bottle.
Oasis - 'Cigarettes and Alcohol'
It had to be done. Britpop may be long-gone but when Oasis were the biggest thing on the planet, 'Cigarettes & Alcohol' brilliantly showcased the band's contempt of modern life, with revelling in the decadence of the 90s. With lines like, "Is it worth the aggravation to find yourself a job when there's nothing worth working for?" Oasis had summed up the disenfranchised public, and boy did they take to the bottle.
Blur - 'Bank Holiday'
Fear not team-Blur, Oasis aren't the only Britpop act featuring on this list. Blur leave a similar sentiment with their pulsating 1-minute-42-second ode to the Great British bank holiday. The song's chorus should probably the national anthem for those special few mondays, "BANK HOLIDAY COMES SIX TIMES A YEAR DAYS OF ENJOYMENT TO WHICH EVERYONE CHEERS BANK HOLIDAY COMES WITH A SIX PACK OF BEER ....THEN ITS BACK TO WORK A.G.A.I.N."
Kendrick Lamar - 'Swimming Pools (Drank)'
If you needed a set of instructions for drinking (I'm looking at you students) Kendrick Lamar's 'Swimming Pools' is the song for you. With a chorus of, “Pour up. Drank! Head shot. Drank!” it could be heard round University halls throughout the year of 2012. Thankfully, it's also a pretty great song - with an on-point beat, and features a clever transition between introspection and flat-out partying.
The National - 'All the Wine'
"I'm put together beautifully, big wet bottle in my fist, big wet rose in my teeth / I'm a perfect piece of ass - like every Californian" - is how Matt Berninger's sloppy masterpiece begins. It's a triumph of Dutch-courage, of immeasurable glass half-fulls, and of absolute ego. It's one of The National's finest songs (which is saying a lot), and it's dizzying conclusion, "Nothing can touch us my love" beautifully sums up the headrush before the inevitable hangover.
Dead Kennedys - 'Too Drunk to Fuck'
More of a warning than Kendrick's handy guide, this 1981 surf-punk-rock classic reached No.36 on the UK singles chart, but it was often banned or censored. In one of the best songs about having that one beer too many, the track concludes with the distinct sound of a man vomiting. You can hardly be surprised though, Jello Biafra shouts "Went to a party / I danced all night / I drank 16 beers / And I started up a fight". We wish we there, so long as it wasn't our parent's house.
The Doors - 'Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)'
This song was originally created for the 1930 opera, the 'Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny', and was, funnily enough, performed by a chorus of prostitutes. This brilliant cover by the Doors, recorded in 1966, is a thrilling carnival-ride threatening to break down at any moment, and one that could probably be the theme for the most intense drinking film, Withnail and I.
Elliott Smith - 'Between The Bars'
Not exactly the most cheery of entries, but still one of the best nonetheless - as Smith croons achingly over substance abuse, and the perils of self-medication. The repeated "Drink up baby" is particularly haunting, alongside, "The potential you’ll be / that you’ll never see". Not one for your pre-drinks place list, but then again it is Elliot Smith, so I'll assume you'll forgive us for including one of the best singer-songwriters of all time.
Chumbawamba - 'Tubthumping'
Perhaps the original instruction guide to drinking, (I assume this is where Kendrick got his inspiration) Chumbawamba's 'Tubthumping' is a beautiful relic of the late 90s. Covering all the bases of: whisky drinks, vodka drinks, lager drinks, and cider drinks Chumbawumba's anthem offers up all the hope we could ever need, "I get knocked down / But I get up again / You're never gonna keep me down".
Snoop Dogg - 'Gin and Juice'
Oh, to be invited to one of Snoop Dogg's parties. 'Gin and Juice' is an iconic song in drinking culture thanks largely to it's debauchery-inducing chorus, "Rollin' down the street smokin' indo / Sippin' on gin and juice / Laid back (with my mind on my money and my money on my mind)". Funnily enough Snoops' cocktail doesn't perhaps conjure the same idea for us in the UK, which is when you've run out of alcohol at a house-party and all that's left is some warm Gordon's and a half-empty bottle of Tropicana. This usually means it's either time to leave, or power on through singing that catchy chorus.
FIDLAR - 'Cheap Beer'
FIDLAR are probably the modern-day kings of shouty surf-punk. Their blistering dedication to 'Cheep Beer', like Blur's 'Bank Holiday', contains some beautiful sly remarks, "Dan's in the back puking on my seat / But he was drinking cheap beer, so it's ok by me". With a chorus of "I drink beer, so what, fuck you" - start getting pissed or get off the pot.
Beastie Boys - 'Brass Monkey'
The OG O.J. anthem shows the Beastie Boy's appreciation for what is essentially, a very poor-mans mimosa. The group are at their hilarious best with lines like, "We got the bottle, you got the cup / Come on everybody let's get ffffff". God, the Beastie Boys were good.
LCD Soundsystem - 'Drunk Girls'
James Murphy's confessed he thought this electronic anthem was inherently "dumb". We think nothing of the sort about this drunken classic. Murphy effortlessly flits from self-deprecating, "They need a lover who's smarter than me" to hilariously candid, "cause I'm shallow doesn't mean that I'm heartless" to a final sweet sentiment, "I believe in waking up together". With the song masterfully detailing the endless cycle of drunken debauchery, and fact we never really learn.