What makes drinking more interesting

Drinking beer gets lonely without music.

For about 40 years in my beer-drinking life, music played a crucial, if not integral part.

The conversation between friends in a gathering got more animated as the music —whether live or recorded — plays in the background.

Among the countless songs I’ve heard while drinking the brew, the amusing ones were those about drinking itself.

In the early 1980s, I got hold of a cassette copy of Joe Jackson’s Jumpin’ Jive album. Released in 1981, it is contained 12 covers of classic 1940s swing and jump blues songs originally performed by musicians such as Louis Jordan and Cab Calloway.

One track, “What’s the Use of Getting Sober (When You’re Gonna Get Drunk Again),” became a favorite especially during sleepy afternoons.

It features a drunken voice speaking these lines:

“I went out last night about half past one

Thought I’d whoop it up a little and have some fun

I got me a half pint about half past two

Mmm, mmm, the way I was feeling you know what I wanna do

Got me a pint about half past four

Felt so good, went out and got me some more

Got me a quart about half past five

Boy, that was so nice didn’t know if I was dead or alive…”

I always ended up shouting out loud the chorus, not because I was always drunk, but because it mocked the incurable alcoholic: “So what’s the use of getting sober, if you’re gonna get drunk again…”

In 1999, the Filipino band Parokya ni Edgar recorded a drinking song that captured the feeling of someone eager to sip from an ice-cold bottle of beer.

“Tama na ‘yan, inuman na

Hoy, pare ko’y tumagay ka

Nananabik na lalamunan

Naghihintay, nag-aabang…”

But my all-time favorite is the 2005 Itchyworms tune aptly titled “Beer.” Its lyrics bear the marks of a finely crafted poem with vivid imagery and language.

“Nais kong magpakalasing

Dahil wala ka na

Nakatingin sa salamin

At nag-iisa

Nakatanim pa rin ang gumamelang binalik mo sa ‘kin

Nang tayo’y maghiwalay

Ito’y katulad ng damdamin ko kahit buhusan mo ng beer

Ayaw pang mamatay

Giliw, ’wag mo sanang limutin

Ang mga araw na hindi sana naglaho

Mga anak at bahay nating pinaplano

Lahat ng ito’y nawala no’ng iniwan mo ‘ko

Kaya ngayon

Ibuhos na ang beer sa aking lalamunan

Upang malunod na ang puso kong nahihirapan

Bawat patak, anong sarap

Ano ba talaga’ng mas gusto ko?

Ang beer na ‘to o ang pag-ibig mo?”

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