A good drinking song is a very important part of any booze enthusiast’s iPod. It often works with the alcohol to double-team our emotions and causes us to dance, scream, cry, smile, shout and ponder all in a very short time frame. Yes, some songs are just plain great to drink to, while others work better when they are actually about throwing a few back. In the names of summer and vacation, we here at Paste have put together a list of 20 of the best drinking songs. So grab your favorite drink, hook up your speakers, and find the perfect lean in your lawn chair.
- LCD Soundsystem – “Drunk Girls”
- Titus Andronicus – “Theme from Cheers”
- Sublime – “40 Oz. to Freedom”
- Hank Williams Jr. – “Family Tradition”
- LMFAO – “Shots”
20. Trampled by Turtles – “Whiskey”
Whiskey has long been romanticized as the aide for one’s troubles. Trampled by Turtles wrote its love letter to the spirit simply and beautifully. “I ain’t got a dime in my pocket,” Dave Simonett sings, “I just stepped on my last cigarette/But there’s a bar downtown that’ll give me credit.” Tabs are so clutch.
Booziest Lyrics: “Whiskey, won’t you come and take my troubles/’Cause I can’t seem to do it on my own.”
19. The Magnetic Fields – “Too Drunk to Dream”
The Boston, Mass., band just gets it right on this drinking tune. Vocalist Stephen Merritt’s performance blurs the lines of what’s truth and sarcasm when you turn to the bottle for help. From the monotone chanting that lists off why being drunk is better than being sober to the chaotic, sing-along chorus, “Too Drunk to Dream” is pure indie-pop gold.
Booziest Lyrics: “Oh, sober, it’s ever darker/Shitfaced, the moon is nearer/Sober, you’re old and ugly/Shitfaced, who needs a mirror?”
18. Hot Water Music – “Freightliner”
There’s only one Chuck Ragan, and his band Hot Water Music had a superb drinking tune on 1997’s Fuel for the Hate Game. It’s an up-and-down ride of melody and anger. One of the best from HWM.
Booziest Lyrics: “Drinking all night and/Now it’s time to wind down/Talk about what we found.”
17. Rehab ft. Hank Williams Jr. – “Bartender Song (Sittin’ at a Bar)”
The customer-bartender relationship is a special one. That’s the basis for Rehab’s 2008 hit “Bartender Song (Sittin’ at a Bar).” “Bartender, I really did it this time” – that opening line sets it all up perfectly. The man in the song “broke his parole to have a good time” so he’s going to drink until the cops come for him. The remix with Hank Williams Jr. makes all the boozy trouble just a little sadder.
Booziest Lyrics: “And in my drunken stupor I did what I should’ve never done/Now I’m sitting here/Talking to you/Drunk and on the run.”
16. Black Flag – “Six Pack”
Just like a six pack, this Black Flag song is short, strong, and it will make you want to jump around a little bit.
Booziest Lyrics: “$35 and a six pack to my name/(Six pack)/Spent the rest on beer so who’s to blame/(Six pack).”
15. Dropkick Murphys – “I’m Shipping Up to Boston”
Every college bar band in America knows how to play this one because it doesn’t have to be St. Patty’s day to go get blinded with your buddies. And it’s always fun to watch others sing the lyrics wrong…or just scream obnoxiously before they down another. WHOAH OH OHHH!
Booziest Lyrics: “I’m a sailor peg/And I lost my leg.”
14. George Jones – “If Drinking Don’t Kill Me (Her Memory Will)”
Drinking songs can be joyous, sad or something in between. Guess what this one is? The Possum was no stranger to a good time, but he really makes you feel this one until it hurts.
Booziest Lyrics: “With the blood from my body/I could start my own still/And if drinking don’t kill me/Her memory will.”
13. Hem – “When I was Drinking”
Never has a song so beautifully captured the love/hate relationship with alcohol like “When I Was Drinking.” The protagonist of the song is recalling a time full of debauchery with a love interest (and drinking buddy) who isn’t around anymore because the two split. It’s a heavy idea, leaving behind a life of boozing with the one you love for sobriety and isolation, and singer Sally Ellyson delivers the haunting lyrics so serenely they could stop you mid drink.
Booziest Lyric: “Twelve bars behind us and twelve bars to go/Bottles of beer lined up in a row/One for each hour that you didn’t show.”
12. Kendrick Lamar – “Swimming Pools (Drank)”
Filling up a swimming pool with liquor seems a little excessive, but there’s no judgement in this list. The hook in this song is so simple but so damn catchy.
Booziest Lyrics: “Pour up (drank), head shot (drank)/Sit down (drank), stand up (drank)/Pass out (drank), wake up (drank)/Faded (drank), faded (drank).”
11. The Replacements – “Here Comes a Regular”
This is Paul Westerberg’s dark and poignant take on the Cheers theme “Where Everybody Knows Your Name.” Rest assured, it’s no sitcom. There’s a lot of pain involved with being like “a picture on a fridge that’s never stocked with food” at some dive-bar. Life isn’t as glamorous as Cheers, but being around people who call out your name sometimes helps dull the pain. No one should drink alone.
Booziest Lyrics: “And even if you’re in the arms of someone’s baby now/I’ll take a great big whiskey to ya anyway.”