FT5: Hangover Albums

In retrospect, it was the free tequila at that third South By Southwest party that did it. And there was that energy drink you downed, despite the fact you’d never heard of it (hey, it was free). Of course the Southern Comfort at party five didn’t help either. Nor did the eleven beers between party one and party seven (3 micro-brews, 2 Shiners, 5 PBRs, 1 new crap beer Budweiser is pushing). The fact that this unholy blend of alcohol is now fighting it out with the bratwurst and street pizza you consumed yesterday is only complicating matters. Stomach hates you. Brain not functioning. Unidentified bruises abound. Water and aspirin cannot save you. All this and your friend has the nerve to say: “I’m not hung over at all, I feel great!” Resist the urge to punch him in his stupid face. Go and put on a nice soft record. Follow the jump for 5 Albums that will help you cope with a hangover.


5. The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground

I’m going to go out on a limb and say there will be no surprise appearance by Lou Reed again at this year’s SXSW. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the time to listen to some of his better work. Moments into “Candy Says” it is clear the self-titled Velvet Underground album isn’t going to concern itself with the adventurous noise the band is most known for. It’s pure headache-easing tranquility all the way through. Well, almost. If you do not immediately skip the 9 minute brain maimer that is “The Murder Mystery,” any lingering hangover pains you had will surely relapse and you will be doomed. Okay, the track isn’t that intense, but in a hungover state the weird dueling spoken word sections will cause your head to stage an armed revolt against the rest of your body. The good news? Immediately following “The Murder Mystery” is the pleasantly sweet “After Hours.” Ah, that’s more like it.


4. The Walkmen – You & Me

The Walkmen’s music seems to be enveloped in a boozy haze. Calculated or not, The Walkmen cultivate the sense that they’ve had a few drinks and somehow just stumbled into their trademark lackadaisical yet lively sound. Walkmen fans hoping You & Me would discard with lethargy and yield “The Rat: Part 2” were left disappointed. Bad news for impromptu fist pumping, good news for hangovers. What it lacks in dynamic swings, the album makes up by building a uniform mood. You & Me finds the band world weary and reflective. The effect of this is strangely comforting; it almost seems as though these Walkmen are sympathetic to your hangover pains. And hey, they’re playing some free SXSW shows


3. A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory

Hip Hop and hangovers don’t usually go together. Why? Big beats hurt brains. Fear not rap fans, there is an answer for you. What you require is Hip Hop that is smooth like butter (not no Parkay, not no margarine, simply butter). With Phife Dawg and Q-Tip at the helm, A Tribe Called Quest manages to defy convention by crafting albums that are energetic without being abrasive. Truthfully, you could substitute almost any Tribe record here (I even think The Love Movement is underrated), but The Low End Theory is as consistent as it is breezy. It goes down so smoothly that by the time you get to “The Scenario” you’ll be motivated to start the party all over again. . .or at least to go get a breakfast taco.


2. The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had said no to that round of shots before last call? If you like your hangovers with a hint of regret and melancholy, this is the album for you. Praising Pet Sounds at this point is like beating a dead. . .um. .goat. What is there to say? Beach Boy harmonizing, beautiful arrangements. All to assuage your alcohol ravaged body. Thematically, I’m not sure the album has a lot to do with hangovers, unless you are going through a particularly bad break up with your liver. And if my liver is reading this now: I’m sorry I treated you bad baby. Take me back. I’ll treat you right this time (after SXSW that is).


1. Belle and Sebastian – If You’re Feeling Sinister

I came about a decade late to the Belle and Sebastian party. To think all the time I could have spent brooding! I jest of course. If You’re Feeling Sinister is a masterwork of quiet moments. There’s no need for Belle and Sebastian to beat you over the head with their compositions. By speaking softly they actually draw the listener in closer. Though an unfortunate hungover soul might be tempted to take the sentiment “Get Me Away From Here I’m Dying” literally, take heart friend. In Scotland the sky is always gray (grey?). But if you’re in Austin for South By Southwest, the sun is shining. Get out there and make some alcohol induced mistakes you’ll regret tomorrow.



  • Now that I’m 30 and drinking any amount of alcohol at all will result in a hangover, I can tell you for a fact that Bon Iver makes the best hangover music.

  • Totes agree with Walkmen. Love them. Great live, I’d marry the lead singer.

  • Yeah, Bon Iver is a good call. Seems like there is a crossover between hangover albums and depressing break up albums.

    Seems like a crime not to have any reggae albums on this list. Blame my ignorance for that. I love me KOOP’s Jamaican Gold for Saturday hangovers.

    Probably all kinds of R&B I’d go for too. . just about any Motown album would work here.

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