“Seven Drunken Nights” — the Dubliners (1967). Is the oul’ wan cheating because her husband is “drunk as drunk could be,” or is he drunk as drunk could be because the oul’ wan is cheating? It’s a chicken/egg thing.
“I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink” — Merle Haggard (1970). The moral of the story is this: a good stiff drink is better than a bad loose woman any day of the week.
“Good Rats” — Dropkick Murphys (2001). Ever wonder why Guinness tastes so rich? It’s almost ... meaty. Boston’s barroom heroes (with help from a fluthered Shane MacGowan) tell the story the folks at Saint James’s Gate don’t want you to know.
“Here Comes a Regular” — the Replacements (1985). No song captures the quiet desperation of a hard-drinking, hardscrabble nowhere town better than this one. “A person can work up a mean, mean thirst after a hard day of nothing much at all.”
“Alcohol” — Gang Green (1985). Fuck straight edge. This is Boston, not DC. Loud. Fast. Drunk. It’s what we do. “We’re gonna die when the sun comes up. We’ll drink until we drop. My blood’s one-hundred proof.”
“Whisky Man” — the Who (1966). If drinking alone is a sign of alcoholism, what does it mean to drink with an invisible friend? Booze-induced psychosis has never been so fun.
“Alcohol” — the Kinks (1971). A cautionary tale. Don’t let the bastards get you down, or you’ll wind up like the sad-sack tragic hero in this gin-palace dirge. “Port, Pernod or tequila, rum, Scotch, vodka on the rocks, as long as all his troubles disappeared.”
“Drinking Again” — Aretha Franklin (1964). Slow. Sad. Soulful. Light a smoke. Set ’em up. Knock ’em back. Slide off that barstool into oblivion.
“Sunday Morning Coming Down” — Kris Kristofferson (1970). Best hangover song ever. Captures just right that “ineffable compound of depression, sadness ... self-hatred, sense of failure and fear for the future” (as Kingsley Amis put it).
“A Drinking Song” — Akira the Don (2004). A bleary-eyed Brit hip-hop romp, complete with soccer-hooligan sing-along. Best line: “Go home, take a piddle in the middle of your abode on the carpet. Next day, feel like you carked it, eroded your best brain node, and there’s take-away on thee.”
“Whiskey in the Jar” — Thin Lizzy (1973). A real black Irishman amps up a trad classic with twin guitars and bass to spare. In true Gaelic fashion, the song is somehow mournful and celebratory at once.
“Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee” — Jerry Lee Lewis (1957). A happier drinking song does not exist. From the wobbly-legged honky-tonk piano intro to the Killer’s slurred shout-outs (“Elderberry! Or Sherry! Blackberry!”). Pass that bottle to me.
“Gin & Juice” — Snoop Dogg (1993). Like the man said, if you have to ask, you’ll never know. The best hip-hop drinking song since the Beastie Boys’ “Brass Monkey.”
“Too Drunk to Fuck” — Dead Kennedys (1979). Sixteen beers will do that to a man. Bonus points for the barftastic denouement.