Music for Enthusiasts: What makes a good drinking song?


What makes a good drinking song? Well, think about the last time you sang along while drunk. Chances are it was catchy, fairly hard driving and likely fun to dance to (read: stumble and/or clutch the shoulder of the nearest individual to). For me, good drinking songs are high energy and, for the most part, widely recognized. Here are a few favorites I always find myself belting out in my off-key, a-melodic, rhythmless voice.

1. To start, I call your attention to my favorite karaoke song of all time: “The Lap Dance Is So Much Better When the Stripper Is Crying.” Largely spoken word, this Bloodhound Gang number is a great because even a total musical incompetent like myself can make it sound pretty convincing. Another attribute that makes this a good drinking song? Funny lyrics. What a song lacks in catchiness can easily be made up for with humor. And a combination of the two is unstoppable—just look at limericks.

“It was even more of a turn on when I found out she was doin’ me to buy baby formula.”

2. Speaking of music from the Isles, another favorite of mine from back in the day is, of course, “Tubthumping,” by Chumbawamba. It should come as no surprise that songs about drinking make fantastic drinking songs. And songs like “Tubthumping” are ideal because there are, like, 10 words in the whole song—you just repeat them, slurredly, over and over. Did I mention that simplicity is another virtue of a great drinking song?

“Pissing the night away.”

3. But I will leave you with one of the greatest drinking songs of all time. I don’t think I have ever been in a bar—karaoke or otherwise—when “Don’t Stop Believing” came on and every single person in the place didn’t start singing their head off. Granted, The Sopranos is due some credit for the mass popularization of the iconic Journey song, but that does not detract from the fact that it has a near-unparalleled ability to get people off their asses and signing like crazy with total strangers who have suddenly become their best friends.

“Hold on to that feeeeeling!”

In the end, this is what makes a good drinking song truly great. Like booze itself, music has always brought people together and made them feel like they’re part of something larger than themselves; made people feel connected to those around them. Combine that with the age-old social lubricant, and you never know—you may just find yourself shoulder to shoulder, adamantly singing different parts of a well-known chorus with your future best buddy, roommate or even spouse.

A match made in heaven.


Sad stripper photo courtesy of bass_nroll, flickr.
Guy peeing photo courtesy of brockli, flickr.
Group photo courtesy of .Martin., flickr.
Singing couple photo courtesy of amalthya, flickr.