There’s a fine line between “drinking songs” and “songs about drinking.” The first is the type of song that makes you want to drink more, while the second is simply someone telling you about their drinking.
Everybody’s got their own favorite drinking songs, so there’s no point in even attempting to list those. Here are 10 of our favorite songs to drink to that are about boozing and aren’t country music (since most country is either about booze, religion, women, or some combination of the three).
10. “Like a G6” - Far East Movement
For a brief period of time, Far East Movement appeared poised to take over the coveted party anthem throne. Unfortunately, they failed to follow their smash hit with much of anything, and got written off rather quickly when LMFAO rose to party rocking prominence. That doesn’t stop “Like a G6” from being one of the most tolerable infectious pop songs ever centered around drinking (and generally partying). We’ve all been there when sober girls around us be actin’ like they drunk, and bonus points for anyone who had to explain to someone older than them what sizzurp was.
9. “Swimming Pools (Drank)” - Kendrick Lamar
There’s only one rapper in the game right now who can artfully describe the process of getting absolutely hammered, and it’s definitely Kendrick. When he’s not rhyming over Janet Jackson samples or telling people not to kill his vibe on good kid, m.A.A.d city, Kendrick spends some of his time explaining the value of having a lot of liquor (swimming pools full, for that matter). He actually does such a good job discussing the effects and reasons for alcohol that there’s an entire verse in which his conscience is talking to him. If you’ve never been so drunk that your conscience is talking to you, you really haven’t lived yet.
8. “40oz. to Freedom” - Sublime
“40oz. to Freedom” isn’t a great song, but if it was, it would probably be at the top of this list. It’s definitely not the best Sublime song (or anywhere close to it), but it is their best song centered around alcohol, even if it’s of the malt liquor variety. Actually, part of the appeal to this song is the honesty, because while drinking an entire 40 will free you of the problems you have, it probably won’t leave you feeling that great. There are no delusions of drinking being a fun thing here, it’s the real-life implications of going to the liquor store and picking up some cheap booze to make the world a slightly less awful place.
7. “I’m Dying Tomorrow” - Alkaline Trio
There are a lot of Alkaline Trio songs about drinking, but this cut off of From Here to Infirmary is definitely one of their best. We’ve all had those drunken nights where you wonder if you’re doing things right in life. “I’m Dying Tomorrow” isn’t necessarily about facing death within the next 24 hours, it’s about whether you had the best time you possibly could while you were alive, including by consuming plenty of alcohol. It might not be the most cheerful song about drinking, but it’s more about drunk introspection than depression.
6. “Brass Monkey” - Beastie Boys
In the event you’ve never actually had a brass monkey, you definitely had a different college experience than we did. You obviously know the Beastie Boys song (at least, we hope you know the Beastie Boys song), but could you actually make a brass monkey? It’s pretty simple. Start with orange juice, and then add pretty much any alcohol you have. The standard recipe calls for vodka and rum, but you can mix just about anything else into it too and still call it a brass monkey. The song is one of the most relevant hip-hop songs of all time, so we figured it was more important to explain the alcoholic element to clarify.
5. “Sixes and Sevens” - Lucero
Since country isn’t included on this list, Lucero is about as Southern as it gets, and while Ben Nichols and crew certainly have plenty of tunes about boozing, “Sixes and Sevens” stands out as one of the best grimey whiskey-filled bar rock songs around. If the line “Drinking women, chasing whiskey” isn’t enough for you, the track from 1372 Overton Park combines some of the classic drunken pastimes of dancing, gambling, and chasing tail into one gritty rock jam. Nichols totally seems like the kind of guy we’d want to get drunk with.
4. “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong” - Against Me!
If you’re searching for an anthematic punk song about getting drunk on some heavy beer that you can still see performed by a band in its prime, look no further than the intro to Reinventing Axl Rose. Not only is the tune filled with drunken singalong lines (“And just like James, I’ll be drinking Irish tonight”), but it also tells a rather good memorial story, particularly for a song based around beer. The slight folksy tinge makes it all the better for barroom play, because why wouldn’t you want to pound an Irish brew while listening to a song about someone who clearly did plenty of it back in the day.
3. “Gin and Juice” - Snoop Dogg
Were there even rap songs about drinking before Snoop dropped “Gin and Juice”? Maybe a few, but certainly none that have the lasting impact of this classic. To be fair, the combination of Seagram’s or Tanqueray and juice might not be for everyone (it’s a bit sweet, for our tastes), but the mentality is much more universal, just wanting to hang out, kick back, and “spend some time” with some lovely ladies. Don’t act like you’ve never used the second half of the chorus before when trying to sound cool, regardless of how much money you actually have or whether it’s on your mind.
2. “Kiss the Bottle” - Jawbreaker
Ever have one of those sad drunk nights where you just can’t stop thinking about an ex (or general lack of love life)? Well, you probably weren’t as torn up that night as Blake Schwarzenbach was when he wrote “Kiss the Bottle.” If it’s not the most unhappy alcohol-fueled ex-lover song out there, then we feel bad for whoever wrote a sadder one. It’s sad, it’s angry, it’s confused, it’s every emotion you deal with when you’re drunk and thinking about someone you used to be with, and it captures it all perfectly. A few more recent bands have covered the track, if only emo bands of the last 15 years had taken some lessons from the old punk band.
1. “Drunken Lullabies” - Flogging Molly
Not only is “Drunken Lullabies” the best song about drinking of all time, but it’s also among the best songs to drink/be drunk to. If you haven’t heard the Irish band play the song live while also being at least slightly inebriated, you should probably get on that (seriously, they’ve played out here way too many times to have never seen them). Irish music has always been known for telling a particularly good story, and Flogging Molly does that in just about every one of their songs, but this one always peaks at the chorus, because everyone’s found themselves in the same old mess at some point, whether or not they were singing drunken lullabies.