At this time of year, I always feel hungover.
I feel HERT: Heavy, emotional, regretful, tired.
Throughout October, I like to listen to dark, macabre, spooky and fun music. Throughout December, I listen religiously to Christmas music.
In the gap between these two periods, I’m drawn to music that matches the weightiness of the season.
There’s no simple way to describe this music. It’s laddish yet sensitive post-Britpop indie rock defined by its plaintive vocals and “anthemic” choruses, performed by earnest young British or Irish men with nice shirts and mid-length hair. The cool kids, who are wrong about everything, used to call it “bedwetter music”. This is only because they’re terrified of their feelings. I have a better term: Music for a cry and a pint.
Context is everything. When I say “a cry and a pint”, please don’t picture anything solitary – a drink nursed over the course of an hour by a sad individual in the corner of a pub. No, I want you to picture something that’s almost the opposite: A pint held aloft, one of many thousands held aloft in the same room or field. Holding the pint aloft, a noble individual, basking in the raw emotion of the music, elated by the sense of community, feeling like a part of something bigger than themselves yet, at the same time, feeling at one with their feelings. And for this individual, to feel at one with their feelings is a rare feeling indeed.
Music for a cry and a pint is music that’s designed to be bellowed along to by crowds who want something emotional yet comforting. This is music to be sung in the summer by sozzled and sunburned festival crowds. But it’s perfect for this time of year too, when the days are short and cold and things are getting critical.
Let’s explore some of the best music for a cry and a pint, together. For each song, I’m going to highlight the Bit to Bellow Along To With a Pint (BTBATWAP). And to best evoke the unselfconscious abandon that surges through normally-reserved crowds when the beer flows and the song reaches its peak, I’ll be writing these sections ENTIRELY IN CAPITALS.
It’s usually the chorus. It’s always the chorus.
But these songs are by no means the finest songs by each respective band. So in each case, I’ll also highlight another song from the same band, from the same album – one that offers slightly subtler catharsis. Perhaps one for that solitary pint and cry. One to take home with you, then, to treasure when the roar of the crowd has faded to a painful, distant memory.
UPDATE: I have now created a 50-song playlist for a cry and a pint: