Although the name of this blog is intended to be a metaphor, there are no doubt those who come here in search of a hangover cure. It’s also reasonable to assume that at least some readers are familiar with the condition as a result of their normal, everyday lives. As a public service, The Hangover offers the following assistance.
Note: The Hangover is not a medical professional. In fact, The Hangover’s study of science consisted of taking a “Physics for Poets” course as an undergraduate (I also had a roommate who was a biology major, if that counts for anything).
However, we do have experience with hangovers. While any combination of pills, non-alcoholic beverages, or hair of the dog may help, there is only one thing that will truly cure a hangover: TIME. By that end, The Hangover recommends staying on your back, if possible, and waiting it out. But turn on your stereo first.
Yes, music can soothe the savage beast of over-indulgence. The best hangover tunes will “take you away from all this,” allow you to contemplate recent events (if you can or wish to remember), and transport you to the promised land of recovery. Extensive research has proven that the following five albums are worth their weight in golden Advil:
1) The Rolling Stones, Black and Blue
The Stones get into a groove on this 1976 release and keep it going. The Hangover suggests kicking back and riding it out with them. The album starts with disco-Stones, “Hot Stuff,” likely the kind of thinking which got you into this condition to begin with. It moves into the rocking “Hand of Fate” before settling into the rhythm that will get you through the morning. From the mournful “Memory Motel” into the reggae and blues-tinged songs that follow, the Stones take it slow and wist-full. The hurt in Jagger’s voice and the pulse in the guitars match the beat in your head. It works.
(If one were planning on being hungover and could prep, it would be wise to burn Black and Blueand then add “Slave” and the last five songs from Tattoo You. These songs share DNA with “Black and Blue,” many being leftover from the original sessions for that disc.)
2) Blondie, Autoamerican
This album has everything from rap-lite to reggae to cocktail jazz as it crafts a luxurious soundscape. Debbie Harry’s voice is strong, but soothing, revealing only a hint of reproach. Instead of the punk elements that gave early Blondie its punch, the music here drifts, floats, and glides. It’s more contemplative and expansive, overtaking a listener like a welcomed fog.
3) The Cranberries, Everyone Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We
Plaintive. Pleading. Regretful. Searching. The Cranberries’ lyrics reflect one’s thoughts when contemplating the previous night. These themes are embedded in lush, but pulsing rock and new wave. Delores O’Riordan’s vocals soar as if she were a benevolent banshee. With songs like “Linger,” “Not Sorry,” and “How,” it’s easy for the music to match the mood.
4) The Church, Starfish
Starfish harks back to 1988. But if you’re going to have some of “those” mornings, it’s worth digging up. The music and vocals combine a slightly trippy Echo and the Bunnymen sound with a Roy Orbison feel. It could be raining; it could be that you’ve just been walked out on; it could be that you’ve been used and abused; it could be that it’s your fault, too. That’s okay–it’s just the way it is. There’s a moderate pace to the music, and the guitars twist through the bass and drums, giving the music a spare, yet deep sound. Sonic recovery in action.
5) Willie Dixon and various artists, Willie Dixon, The Chess Box
When it’s so bad that you don’t even want to think about moving, crawl to the cd player and load this in. It’s a two-disk compilation honoring Willie Dixon’s songwriting for Chess Records, featuring the greatest blues artists of his generation. The blues is well suited to accompany the misery of hangover. One must suffer, persevere, and endure. Dixon, Bo Diddley, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, and others can take you from where you started the night before, relive the highs and lows of the evening, rationalize your actions, and commiserate in your pain. It’s no coincidence that the last song of the collection is Koko Taylor’s “Insane Asylum.” Her wails might have you thinking twice of doing it again.