I don’t care who you are, when you’re drinking (and I mean driiiiinkin’) music selection can be the difference between walking on water and drowning in your own tears. The difference between dancing in the streets and passing out in the gutter. Nothing is worse than some dumbass putting on some old sad bastard music in the middle of a party because they’re drunk and weepy and want to pine for hours over their ex to some crappy Nickleback song and bringing the entire shindig to a screeching halt. SCREW THEM. Do that on your own time, Chico…there’s a friggin’ PARTY going on!
So I’m writing this to hip you to something you may have missed the first time around, so you don’t miss it this time. If you missed it, the best drinking album of the past few years (yes, YEARS) hands down was “Boys and Girls in America” by The Hold Steady. A bunch of guys from the Twin Cities of Minnesota (who now reside on Brooklyn) put out what is quite possibly the best album about boozing, partying, love, loss, and debauchery ever. I don’t say that lightly. I listen to a LOT of music, and I drink enough to match, and these guys hit it perfectly. They ended up on a ton of top 10 album lists for 2006, but have stayed under the radar for most people. They’ve even been called “America’s Best Bar Band” by many media outlets, but I think that undercuts how good they really are. A good bar band does a bunch of great covers, dead-on, that everyone can sing along to and rejoice in and commiserate with their fellow boozer. These guys weave elaborate (original) stories that recreate in incredible detail and authenticity the life and times of many an average shmoe trying to get by (who also happens to drink heavily). What I mean to say is…they speak our language.
Not only that, but they speak it with such a poetry and elegance you don’t quite get it the first go-round, but these songs are amazingly dense with meaning and clever turns of phrase. Here’s songwriter and lead singer Craig Finn at work on the track “Stuck Between Stations”:
She was a really cool kisser and she wasn’t all that strict of a Christian.
She was a damn good dancer but she wasn’t all that great of a girlfriend.
She likes the warm feeling but she’s tired of all the dehydration.
Most nights are crystal clear
But tonight it’s like it’s stuck between stations
On the radio.
And they’re rocking hard while they do it. I mean really, with lyrics like that, how can you go back to just throwing on some old Fall Out Boy or some crappy mix CD from 2002 at a party when you know that great drinking music like this exists in the universe?
So why am I telling you about an album from 2006 now? Because their new album, “Stay Positive“, just came out this week. I’m trying to give you the heads up that if you missed their last one, well that’s ok, you’ll have to play catch-up at some point. But now, today…you need to get yourself ahead of the curve and get this album before you’ve missed another great booze-and-music combination. I’ll be honest, I’m only about half-way through it, but so far it’s pretty damn great, and I feel confident recommending it to you guys. Do yourself a favor, and check it out (and check out Boys and Girls in America, if you haven’t already).
Otherwise, you’ll be left with that asshole playing “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” on repeat all night long.