St. Patrick’s Day drinking songs: The good, the bad and the difference

St. Patrick’s Day drinking songs: The good, the bad and the difference
"Seriously, this is how Jim Morrison wrote this one..."

This post could also aptly be titled “Songs we like to get drunk and shout.”

Booze and tunes go together like “Who cares!” and “Let’s party!”

But what exactly makes a good drinking song? (If you answered “Who cares! Let’s party!” Hah! YOU should have a blog.)

We rock these jams weekly on the jukebox – sing them regularly at karaoke – but do we really understand them?

Probably not. But hey, we’ve been kicking ‘em back and it doesn’t really matter. We're just trying to unwind. Also – unlike whatever you just slurred at your mother’s voicemail after three Irish car bombs – this is actually pretty easy to figure out.

There are three basic things a good drinking song should be:

1) Unifying
No matter how catchy it is, if the chorus goes, “Puppies and kittens/ They make such good mittens,” odds are the bar is not going to get behind it. We want something we’re all feeling, like “Hey!/ I’m still alive!

2) Simple
Verse, chorus, verse – that’s how drinking songs go. That way everybody knows when to chug and when to shout. Also, don’t sing too fast. Otherwise somebody will forget to breathe and fall down.

3) Either poignant or nonsensical
Songs about severe emotional discord? Eh. Song about that dumbass ex we all have? Pour another round. Song that outlines an offer to pull some dude’s sweater apart for no reason? Everybody drink until we understand!

Does a good drinking tune really need to be Irish? … I dunno – are you?

For our further entertainment. Here are some lists…

Weezer, “Say it Ain’t So,” “Undone (The Sweater Song)” … Half their catalog.
The Who, “Baba O’Reilly,” “Squeeze Box” … Also pretty much their entire catalog.
The Doors, “Roadhouse Blues” … Hell. Yes.
AC/DC, “You Shook Me” … Epic riffs.
George Thorogood, “I Drink Alone,” “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,” and many more..
G. Love, “Cold Beverages”
Black Sabbath, "Paranoid"
R.E.M., "It's the End of the World As We Know it (And I Feel Fine)"
Chumbawamba, “Tubthumping” … I will not apologize for still loving this tune.
Pearl Jam, “Alive,” “Yellow Ledbetter” … Everybody air guitar!
Beastie Boys, “Fight for Your Right”
The Black Crowes, “Hard to Handle” … Screw it. Go ahead and not breathe.
Violent Femmes, "Add it Up"
Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Soul to Squeeze”
Sublime, “What I Got”
Tool, “Sober”
Soundgarden, “Spoon Man”
Eve 6, “Inside Out”
Radiohead, “Creep” … For really late at night.
Billy Joel, “Piano Man” … Borderline overdone. Definitely so at any dueling pianos show.
Semisonic, “Closing Time” … Didn’t remember the band name. But their 15 minutes sure have some staying power.
Twisted Sister, “We’re Not Gonna Take it” … The passion still rings true.
Alanis Morissette … Anything. A tipsy gal’s karaoke favorite.
Cheap Trick, “Surrender” … Half my aunts and uncles voted this one in via Facebook poll.
Kiss, “Rock and Roll All Night,” … Not a huge fan. But a fun tune.
Black Eyed Peas, “I Got A Feeling” … I can still deal with this song, believe it or not (but they still steal music).

Gogol Bordello, “Alcohol” … And the rest of Super Taranta.
Sublime, “40 oz. to Freedom” … The entire album.
Michael Franti, “Say Hey” … The one from the Corona commercials (also “Yell Fire”).
Beastie Boys, “Paul Revere” … Flouts the verse, chorus, verse rule. But one helluva story.
Dropkick Murphys … Irish-punk alert. Just about anything works.
Flogging Molly … Again, just a good band for the occasion.
The Ting Tings, “That’s Not My Name”
Local H, "High-Fiving M@#%er F@#%er"
Hot Chip, “One Life Stand”
Grouplove, “Chloe”
NoFX, “The Brews”
Neil Diamond, “I Am, I Said”
Givers, “Up Up Up”
And any jazz while drunk is stellar (90.9 FM, if you can get it).

Kid Rock/ Cheryl Crow, “Picture” … I don’t ever want to hear this again.
Lynyrd Skynyrd … Never been a fan.
Don McLean, “American Pie” … Just stop.
Steve Miller, “The Joker” … Yes, we can all sing it. That doesn’t mean we should.
Neil Diamond, “Sweet Caroline” … Used to like this, but it’s been done and overdone and Mr. D has better songs. Then again, when you’re half in the bag…
Tom Petty, “Free Falling” … This kills me – because I’m a fan of the guy – but he has better songs. Karaoke bars killed this one, too.
Def Leppard, “Pour Some Sugar on Me” … Look, some songs just aren’t as timeless as we’ve made them out to be.
The Champs, “Tequila,” … Please let’s not do the dance.

I’ve obviously missed a million and twelve. What are your favorites (or least)?

And hey -- moderation, friends. Rock safe.

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