The 50 best drinking songs

Raise a toast to the greatest drinking songs ever recorded about beer, whiskey, wine and white lightning

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20

“Cigarettes & Alcohol” by Oasis

God, remember the world-conquering, chest-puffing awesomeness of Oasis? What the hell happened? To the songwriting, to Liam’s voice? Oh, right, cigarettes and alcohol (and other vices). Can’t wait to hear it at the Bud Light Lime Stage at Lollapalooza 2018.—Brent DiCrescenzo

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19

“Cheap Beer” by FIDLAR

“Beer’s always better with a bag around it,” the skater punks of FIDLAR (an acronym for Fuck It, Dawg, Life’s a Risk—really) proclaim over polluted waves of crust-surf guitar in this 2013 burner. “I! Drink! Cheap! Beer! So! What! Fuck! You!” shouts the chorus. Gotta respect a band whose entire raison d’être is to score shitty brews via tour riders. Would you really rather listen to Animal Collective, hippie?—Brent DiCrescenzo

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18

“Shots” by LMFAO featuring Lil Jon

We hate this song as much as you do. Of course we do. But the entire belly-shot community would beg to differ. And answer us this: Has any piece of music better simulated the jackhammering headache of a Russian-grade hangover? —Brent DiCrescenzo

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17

“There’s a Tear in My Beer” by Hank Williams Sr.

Though only one carried the title outright, all of Williams’s songs were “Long Gone Lonesome Blues” at heart. The Alabama-born legend was tough as an old strip of donkey jerky, yet many of his songs revolved around crying. It made him more of a man—a man with a leather liver. “These last nine beers,” he sings in that high hillbilly whine on this Nashville session, have only convinced him: "I'm gonna keep drinkin' until I'm petrified.” A couple years later, in 1953, they pulled his body out of a Caddy littered with beer cans and lyric sheets.—Brent DiCrescenzo

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16

“Family Tradition” by Hank Williams Jr.

Williams got his daddy’s name but not his sorrow. Though genes drag this rowdy redneck into his vices, he sings of them with pride, like a studio audience that whoops whenever a late-night host mentions weed. Bocephus hollers about alcoholism with the same gusto he gives to “Are you ready for some footbaaaaawl?” His best tune, this title track from his 1979 LP, is as much of a downer as his father's work, though more unintentionally sad.—Brent DiCrescenzo

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15

“It's Five O’Clock Somewhere” by Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett

Let’s raise a glass to the tune that makes us feel a-okay about getting happy hour started just a little early. Or a lot early. Country crooner Alan Jackson enlisted the help of Margaritaville mayor Jimmy Buffett on this 2003 ditty about escaping the doldrums of the workday and tapping into a tipsier state of mind…even if it’s half past twelve on a Tuesday. The song is a tad cheesy for our tastes, but there is no doubt—if our buddies Alan and Jimmy call us down to the cantina, we’ll discreetly punch out and knock back a few. After all, it’s chugalug time in Kuala Lumpur.—Michael Chen

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14

“Here Comes a Regular” and “Beer for Breakfast” (tie) by the Replacements

From what I’ve heard and seen on YouTube of their early concerts, the Mats made all their songs drinking songs. The gloriously shambolic punk stuff raged like an adolescent who's seen a specter of his older self just ahead, slumped at a local bar and stamped with a gas-station name tag. Conversely, young Paul Westerberg’s ballads carried the sadness of a middle-aged nobody yearning for his salad days. Somehow, the Minnesotans shifted between these two gears without blowing the clutch, as heard in these respective cuts from 1985 and ’87.—Brent DiCrescenzo

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13

“Six Pack” by Black Flag

Next to country, no genre of music covers brewskies like punk. Which makes an easy argument for punk being an evolution of folk, or, conversely, that country & western was the original punk.… Because… See, this is what happens when Keith Morris leaves…though, really? This dumb song about being drunk and dumb is, like, a criticism of being drunk and dumb, because that’s your only recour…recour…option. Because, Reagan… Wait, what was I talking about?—Brent DiCrescenzo

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12

“Swimming Pools (Drank)” by Kendrick Lamar

You have to laugh whenever advertisers use “Born in the U.S.A.” or “Fortunate Son” to summon patriotism. Similarly, the chorus chant of “Pour up. Drank! Head shot. Drank!” can likely be heard emanating from frat houses across the land, though Lamar’s verses thoughtfully detail addiction and insecurity. The rapper embodies this dichotomy of introspection and mindless raging himself—he goes howling H.A.M. onstage, while on record he muses as if into a diary. Somewhere in Vegas, a swimming pool literally filled with vodka is being planned.—Brent DiCrescenzo

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11

“Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffett

While we’re decked out in our Hawaiian shirts and Bermuda shorts, scarfing down "cheeseburgers in paradise" at a Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant in Key West, allow us to pause and tip our straw hats to the lyrical brilliance of Buffett’s 1977 classic. Behind its breezy tropical vibe, “Margaritaville” is, at heart, a tale of a man’s failed romance and the great lengths he’s traveled to cope. We love the subtle shifts in his thinking, from “It’s nobody’s fault” to “Hell, it could be my fault” to “It’s my own damn fault.” Is our protagonist sobering up or stumbling upon progressively drunker revelations? We’re not sure, but we’d gladly order a round of the titular cocktail and discuss.—Michael Chen

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