We’ve all been there. It’s 2am. You’ve been drinking since dusk and you’re just not tired enough to go to sleep. Collapsed on the couch, music plays. You might not be sure how or when it started playing, but there it is. On the turntable. The iPod dock. Maybe a Sony CF530 Boombox. If someone is there, you will tell them “Goddamn, that’s the most perfect combination of mellow inebriation and killer jams in the whole goddamn universe” If someone’s not there, you’ll say this out loud anyway. And you will wholeheartedly agree with yourself.
What if it’s not? What if you’re nursing that ideal buzz and a favorite go-to artist is playing, but that perpetually perfect tune is suddenly wrong, all wrong, so wrong, in fact, it has killed the buzz and all you want to do is go to bed, hide under the covers and listen to the Insanity Workout infomercial because you know it’s on, it’s a constant, 100% guarantee. And at that moment, all you want is the world to make sense. Don’t lie. You’ve been there. We all handle certain liquors differently. So it should be no surprise that the right music can be the lime to your tequila, the salt on the rim of your margarita, the maraschino cherry to your Manhattan… you get the picture.
Craft/Microbrew Domestic Beer
I’m not talking Miller 64. Something with flavor. Brewers like Victory, Great Lakes, Rogue, Anchor, Troegs, etc. Read some Beer Advocate if you don’t know anything about these beers. Educate yourself, hipster. The world should not be fueled by PBR. Level-headed drunks drink craft/microbrews. Excellent, Americana-flavored indie-rock requires an excellent domestic beer. It’s right there on the cover of Delta Spirit’s Ode to Sunshine. He’s drinking, having fun and most assuredly listening to “People C’mon.”
The Hold Steady
Unfortunately I think we all know what happens to people when they drink American beer-flavored water. We know this because it’s a phenomenon that crosses generations, state lines, racial divides. I’ve seen it everywhere I’ve lived, in bars from Atlanta to Boston. If there’s Budweiser on draft, then there’s CCR on the jukebox and “Bad Moon Rising” on heavy rotation and for good reason. Also based on the album cover represented above, I feel it is safe to assume that there are people in Europe who also drink American beer-flavored water as well. These are the beers that go along with the Chappelle’s Show’s Samuel Jackson beer sketch. People drinking this stuff just want to get drunk (and somewhere along the way they killed all their tastebuds) and sing loudly. Credence might just be part of our DNA because have you ever met someone that didn’t know the words to “Bad Moon Rising?” Even if the say the don’t, they do and just don’t want to admit it.
Creedence Clearwater Revival
John Mellencamp (w/ or w/o the “Cougar”)
I want badly to write this off as a category owned by Bob Marley, but Marley has eclipsed typecasting to one kind of liquor. Besides nobody gets toasted on piña coladas and thinks “Damn, I wish I had my Bob Marley records around.” Jamaica. Rum. Rum. Jamaica. Right? Well, only in theory. Reaction to rum runs the gamut of emotions. Rum is one of those drinks that isn’t symbiotic with 30Hz. In drinks like the Cuba Libre, it goes down far too easily. As a solo libation, I find rum intolerable. So what happens when a party degrades to the point that it has gotten rum punched? If you’re squeamish I encourage you to page down right past this one. You may not want to know the truth about rum as I’ve found it retards musical taste more than any other alcoholic beverage. But under the influence of rum, Sublime sounds like a band worth listening to again. Just don’t let those rum goggles continue to influence you the next morning.
Now this is a combination I can wholeheartedly support, inside or outside the tequila bender. Slurred words, little bit of drool and high energy. Once again you’re faced with the logical cultural attractions. Can anyone, however, name one single Latin-inspired artist that really connected with tequila? I’m sure there’s some asshole out there that legitimately loves mariachi music and has a few mariachi bands on speed dial, but nobody actually wants to be a stereotype do they? I’d assume anyone reading my bl-g has more sense than that. Thus, in lieu of allowing a bunch of strange Mexicans in large hats free reign over your house, I suggest a band that’s part Rockabilly and part drunk. It’s not necessarily a logical fit– Rockabilly and tequila– but if you’ve ever been nursing that bottle of Sauza into the wee hours, I’m not sure there’s a better companion than the Reverend.
Reverend Horton Heat
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five
At last a genre of drunk that actually lends itself to colloquial trappings. I’ve been drunk on bourbon twice in my life. I do not fancy the stuff. But it happens. I won’t be as bold to suggest that you listen to bluegrass while drunk on whiskey no matter what Kentuckians might suggest. It’s a slow-crawl drink. Nothing happens quickly, or at all, and banjo-plucking might as well be a jackhammer on your skull. For whiskey you need to slow down, tap into some of country-music’s roots. Drunk or not, nobody should suffer mainstream country music. That last part was a public service announcement courtesy of 30Hz. Anyway, whiskey-drunk: Merle Haggard. You won’t be disappointed.
Gil Scott Heron
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
So here’s the thing about gin: Gin is supposed to be a staple for the classy cocktailer. But have you ever seen what happens to people who’ve been drinking gin all. night. long? If you haven’t seen the effects of a full night of gin drinking, I encourage you (legal disclaimer: but do not endorse!) to try this on an acquaintance. Watch them devolve from a cerebral, witty caricature into a sloppy Peter O’Toole. Gin will convince you that opening a restaurant at the bottom of the ocean is a good idea. You’ll also be missing a shoe. But in my mind, there’s nothing better for a gin daze than jazz. Specifically Ella Fitzgerald, because scat-singing sounds just as intelligible as regular conversation.
Bonzo Dog Band
Vodka holds the drunken world together, man and woman, bingers and sippers. Pairs with juices, Red Bulls, Vitamin Waters. If it’s in your fridge, there’s a good chance that someone’s paired it with vodka. But if it’s good with everything, consumed by everybody, how can you pigeonhole such an all-purpose libation into one artist? By justifying that artist as the hippest, chillest and most sampled artist in electronic music. And if you’re chill, you’re drinking from a squat glass with a clear liquid. Kraftwerk, like vodka, is the ultimate mood enhancer. Not too high, like tequila or rum… and not too low, like whiskey or gin.
Booker T. and the MGs
A Tribe Called Quest
Hall & Oates
If you’re of a certain generation and you get a little more than tipsy on Peach Schnapps, chances are you’re going to be listening to this guy and considering it a raucous evening. And quite frankly, I can’t blame you. Tom Jones makes that Schnapps worthwhile. Hell, I’d drink the schnapps just to justify the Tom Jones.
Only one artist that goes well with every drink, every drunk, and every stupor. 2am belongs to Tom Waits.
Sometime Tom Waits doesn’t sit well, like bad sushi. Blame the bartender for watering down the drinks and you having too too many too quickly or your friends for enabling the consumption of mass quantities. When this happens, and you’ve blown right past the Tom Waits threshold, there’s only one place to turn. And, again, I must warn you… if you’re squeamish, turn back now. Stop reading. If you’ve never been this drunk and still conscious, then maybe you don’t want to know the truth about flat out, dumb, stupid tipsy. I wouldn’t blame you. But if you’ve been there. You most likely found yourself in a karaoke bar. And if you went dumb, stupid tipsy and found yourself in a karaoke bar, someone in your group, perhaps all of you, sang the Spice Girls.