Alcohol is known to lower inhibitions and while this can at times cause problems such as calling the calzone place and demanding to know, “Where my ‘zones at, bitch?” Other times, however, the lack of inhibitions can help you talk that dame or fella you couldn’t talk to, or it will help you best through that one fear most of us seem to have, singing in front of other people.
We all sing at some point, usually it’s in a shower, or alone in a car, or at a concert. The reoccurring pattern here is these are all times when no one else can hear us. Most of us do this because we know we sound like shit. When we’re drunk we either don’t remember this, don’t give a shit, or to our booze coated ears we believe we sound like the next Kelly Clarkson. For this reason we never hesitate to sing along to whatever song fills the air.
And we are never alone when this happens.
If you’re drinking with your buddies and the right song comes on you will all start singing. And you will really get into it. When that song was being recorded no one ever expected it to be belted out the way it is with you and your drunk friends. It is some of the simplest and most fun you can have with alcohol. There’s almost always music playing when there’s alcohol around and down time between games of Beirut.
It’s not something that is only devoted to the down times; the drunken sing-along can take on a form of its own and become the main event of the evening. You just decide it’s a night of drinking and you attempt to figure out what else to do and while that happens you throw on tunes and before you know it you’re all trying to hit the falsetto in A Ha’s “Take On Me” and rile up the neighborhood dogs. The night then becomes searching the iPod for songs to sing along to.
This is such fun because it allows us to not hide our shame and embrace the fact that we love to sing. It releases some very cathartic hormones and makes us feel good on a visceral level. Additionally, you’re sharing this moment with friends, and it creates this idea that you’re connecting with them. To over simplify it, your brain is essentially doing this, “Oh you know this song? I know this song. We’re the same and we should be friends.” Or you’re trying to impress them so your brain is doing this, “Look, I know this song too. Like me.” Either way it’s you connecting with people, which is what we want as humans.
But the main reason is music is just fun. Of all those things I wrote last week, that was one point I left out. Music is fun and we often stifle the fun we have with it, but when we get drunk and belt out lyrics in what we think is in key, then it is even more fun.
We love the drunken sing-along more than the sober sing-along because we are more likely to hold back when we’re sober. A car trip with a buddy can seem awkward if you’re both singing along. But when you’re drunk, the word awkward doesn’t exist, ever.
Another great thing about the drunken sing-along is you don’t even have to be the one singing to enjoy it.
There was an occasion once when I was at this terrible piano bar when the terrible pianists played the terrible Journey song, “Don’t Stop Believing,” and these two guys (who were probably terrible) cheersed their buckets of mixed fruity drink, wrapped their arms around each other’s shoulder and sang along with a passion of people watching the world end. For me this was the highlight of being at that terrible place. In fact the only thing I can recall from my night there.
When you’re drunk, you’re more susceptible to suggestion and thus more likely to listen to songs you may not normally listen to, and there’s something satisfying about singing songs you don’t usually listen to, and maybe not even like. It’s like having beer goggles for your ears. There’s nothing better than that.
Drinking with friends is great. Singing along with friends is great. Combining the two easily makes our list of favorite things. So as long as the booze is flowing, then we’ll sing along forever!
But it really all boils down to the words of Milton, “Good tunes. Good brews. Good buddies! I feel great man!”
In the end it’s a question of Hart.
14 Mar 2012 Lee S. Hart