In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we’re talking about some of our favorite songs about drinking.
LMFAO, “Shots” (2009)
LMFAO and Lil Jon did for bars, speakeasies, and the best kind of wedding reception what Filmack Studios did for old-school movie theaters. Filmack’s claim to fame is “Let’s All Go To The Lobby,” the classic animation in which dancing snacks encourage the audience to run to the lobby for refreshments, while singing the title’s command to the tune of “For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow.” The animation seems quaint and hilarious by modern advertising standards, as if people are so unsophisticated as to immediately purchase something because an earworm jingle told them to. People are, in fact, that unsophisticated; LMFAO’s “Shots” bears this out so strongly, it’s as though it was conceived as part of a psychology experiment. I have not only been in a drinking establishment and witnessed people clamoring to buy shots when the song comes on, I have been one of those people. Lil Jon’s incessant repetition of the title—sequenced so densely the word is piled on top of itself—produces an effect similar to actual peer pressure. It produces a response that’s almost reflexive, as if it’s not a pre-recorded song, and Lil Jon will stop talking about shots if you just go ahead and buy one. The lyrics are deeply problematic, including “The ladies love us when we pour shots / They need an excuse to suck our cocks,” which promulgates the insidious idea that fellatio is an activity for which an excuse is required. But they’re brilliant as advertising copy, with Lil Jon saying the names of shots including the Jagerbomb and the Buttery Nipple. “Shots” isn’t just about the utility, though, it’s also insanely catchy and pogo-friendly. Like actual shots, I love the song even though I know it’s slowly killing me with every exposure.