Drinking and music go together like, I don't know, two things that go together really well, in a really sloppy, perfect kind of way. They just fit. If you've never belted out a song while holding a bottle of something in your hand, extended arm wobbling and sloshing the contents to the floor, well, I don't know that you can say you've really lived. But what makes a perfect drinking song? Well, it helps if it references alcohol, although any kind of intoxication will do, be it alcohol, drugs, or even love. It helps if it's easily identifiable from its opening bars, so that you can prepare yourself to sing along. It helps if the chorus is repeated enough that, even if you forget most of the lyrics, you can chime in a few times over the course of the song. It helps if it's particularly gleeful or particularly poignant, anything that makes you feel. These are songs that will make you cry into your glass and jump up off your bar stool. These are songs that will make you grab the person next to you and insist that they sing along. These are songs that you will dance to, because you just can't help it, you need to dance. These are the songs that, just when you're sure that the alcohol has dulled your brain past the point of cognizance, bring you back again, so that you can start all over. You can start everything all over.
Brass Monkey—The Beastie Boys
"Cause I drink it anytime - and anyplace/ When it's time to get ill - I pour it on my face/ Monkey tastes Def when you pour it on ice/ Come on y'all it's time to get nice"
Too Drunk to Fuck—Nouvelle Vague
"Went to a party/ I danced all night/ I drank sixteen beers/ And I started up a fight/ But now I am jaded/ You're out of luck/ I'm rolling down the stairs/ Too drunk to fuck"
Jockey Full of Bourbon—Tom Waits
"16 men on a deadman's chest/ And I've been drinking from a broken cup/ 2 pairs of pants and a mohair vest/ I'm full of bourbon; I can't stand up."
Southern Heart—The Walkmen
"Family comes from Kentucky/ and there's bourbon in the blood"
Sway—The Rolling Stones
"Did you ever wake up to find/ A day that broke up your mind/ Destroyed your notion of circular time/ Its just that demon life has got you in its sway"
Jam—A Tribe Called Quest
"On some liquor, to meet my high quicker/ Now, Im tight, them know, the party is the m.o."
Anything We Want—Fiona Apple
"We started out sippin' the water/ And now we try to swallow the wave/ And we try not to let those bastards get us down"
Papa Was a Rodeo—The Magnetic Fields
"What are we doing in this dive bar?/ How can you live in a place like this?/ Why don't you just get into my car/ And I'll take you away/ I'll take that kiss now, but"
Carolina Drama—The Raconteurs
"It was a junk-house in South Carolina/ Held a boy the age of ten/ Along with his older brother Billy/ And a mother and her boyfriend/ Who was a triple loser with some blue tattoos/ That were given to him when he was young/ And a drunk temper that was easy to lose/ And thank god he didn't own a gun"
Gin & Juice—Snoop Dogg
"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)"
Gin House Blues—Nina Simone
"Stay away from me/ Cause i'm in my sin/ If this joint is raided/ Somebody get me my gin"
40 oz to Freedom—Sublime
"But life is one big question when your starin at the clock/ And the answers always waiting at the liquor store, 40 oz to Freedom,/ So I'll take that walk."
What Good Can Drinking Do—Janis Joplin
"There's a glass on the table, they say it's gonna ease all my pain,/ And there's a glass on the table, they say it's gonna ease all my pain/ But I drink it down, an' the next day I feel the same"
Piazza, New York Catcher—Belle & Sebastian
"Elope with me, Miss Private, and we’ll drink ourselves awake"
I Want You—Bob Dylan
"And I wait for them to interrupt/ Me drinkin’ from my broken cup/ And ask me to/ Open up the gate for you/ I want you, I want you/ I want you so bad/ Honey, I want you"
Highway Patrolman—Bruce Springsteen
"Yeah, we're laughing and drinking/ nothing's better than blood on blood"
Somebody Put Something In My Drink—The Ramones
"Tanqueray and tonic's my favorite drink/ I don't like anything colored pink/ That just stinks...it's not for me"
Topanga Canyon—John Phillips
"Oh Mary, I'm in the deep waters/ And it's way, way over my head/ Everyone thought I was smarter/ Than to be this dead"
Between the Bars—Elliott Smith
"Drink up baby, look at the stars/ I'll kiss you again between the bars"
Shelter From the Storm—Bob Dylan
"Well I'm living in a foreign country but I'm bound to cross the line/ Beauty walks a razor's edge someday I'll make it mine/ If I could only turn back the clock to when God and her were born/ 'Come in' she said/ 'I'll give you shelter from the storm.'"
Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen