Mardi Gras is this weekend. For some, it's a reason to stay the hell away from Soulard. For others, it's the time to go on a bender for a few days. The latter scenario wreaks havoc on livers, arrest records -- and jukeboxes. Yes, throw alcohol into the mix, and sane, rational people lose all sense of musical decorum and inflict some truly terrible sing-along songs on bar patrons. Here are ten of the worst offenders. Keep in mind that these songs aren't necessarily bad on their own -- but at 2 a.m. in a room full of boozehounds, they signal that it's time to close out your tab.
10. Garth Brooks, "Friends in Low Places" That Nickelback has taken to covering this song is the least of its problems. On the surface, this sweetly vengeful tune is an ode to no-fuss boozing, with a plenty of kiss-offs to an unfaithful ex and condemnations of snobby elitists. Things only go haywire when you get a bar full of drunk people trying to imitate Brooks' country twang.
9. Sublime, "Santeria" Nothing says bro-tastic beer o'clock sing-along more than a Sublime song. 8. Cracker, "Euro Trash Girl" Although a radio edit of this song made it a manageable listen, the original version of this tune is a whopping eight minutes long. And somehow, when you're inebriated, that much David Lowery mumbling - with a side of a wobbly chorus of "Euro-trash giiiiiiirl" -- seems like a fine idea. But really, it's not.
7. The Doors, "Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)" While this song was co-written by noted German playwright Bertolt Brecht and composer Kurt Weill, its respected cultural origins fly out the window when the Doors' version gets blasted from a jukebox. Instead, expect a bar full of rogue Jim Morrison imitators trying to out-pirate each other.
6. Bon Jovi, "Livin' On a Prayer" This song from Bon Jovi's hairy '80s heyday unites drinkers of all ages and genders -- the chorus and its build-up are just begging for off-key singing. The key change near the end is a particularly insurmountable obstacle if you're inebriated. 5. Meatloaf, "Paradise By the Dashboard Light" Another ambitious, eight-minute-plus-song. You think this song is over. But then it keeps going. And going. And going. Problem is, it's not exactly a let's-party/get-pumped kind of tune. In fact, it's kind of a buzzkill -- especially since it's about someone trapped in a relationship.
4. Kool and the Gang, "Celebration" While heard most often at weddings -- even Aunt Gladys can shake it to this post-disco jam -- this song occasionally pops up in bars after dark. Unfortunately for the generally awesome Kool and the Gang, this lightweight, cheeseball tune is their enduring legacy.
3. Don McLean, "American Pie" See #8. 2. Billy Joel, "Piano Man" This one is kind of meta; after all, it's a song Joel wrote based on experiences he had while working in a lounge in Los Angeles. Naturally, though, the tragic characters and sad-sack drunks mentioned in the song make it a huge bummer -- and a sing-along magnet for those drunks who weep in their whiskey.
1. Journey, "Don't Stop Believin'" Thank you Sopranos, Rock Band and Glee, for making this already-overplayed song even more ubiquitous at sporting events, on television shows and in bars. A whole new generation of casual Journey fans -- those who didn't already burn out on the tune years ago -- now find great joy in playing the tune, especially as the night gets fuzzier. At least Steve Perry is laughing all the way to the bank.