Jukebox Throwdown

The Griffin vs Frankie's Tiki Room

The Griffin
511 E. Fremont St.
Frankie’s Tiki Room
1712 W. Charleston Blvd.
Genre Indie Rock, BritPop, and some choice New Wave and classic rock paired with a hint of irony. From the Rolling Stones to the Stone Roses, this is the kind of juke mined by music service programmers for their “Hip Retail” channel. Surf, exotica and lounge. It’s the perfect soundtrack to go with the back-bar video loops of grainy, gray-green footage of sunbathing topless women who could pass for Christina Hendricks’ mother.
Best Sing-along LCD Soundsystem, “Drunk Girls”: Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” was gleefully yanked, leaving James Murphy’s electro-punk conglomerate to take up the slack with this hilarious track. Even amateurs can mouth “drunk girls” and “drunk boys,” but it takes skills to recite all the lyrical gems (“drunk boys, they steal from the cupboards, drunk girls like to file complaints”). Ric Gary, “Pimples and Braces”: Just finding a track with lyrics is challenging enough on this juke, but the compilation Las Vegas Grind Pt. 1, collecting rarities from 1956 to 1965, features a “Tequila”-esque shout-a-long that even the most soused rummy at the end of the bar can manage, with tersely barked lyrics like “Tacos and T-shirts! Bongos and Burgers!”
Best Drinking Number Thin Lizzy, “The Boys Are Back in Town”: Wasn’t this song written about getting the old crew together for a drink? Sure, with repetitive, easy-to-remember lyrics, it might have made
it as Best Singalong, too. But with a story line
celebrating bad boys getting rowdy at their favorite jukebox bar (called Dino’s, oddly enough),
this was too easy.
Louis Jordan and His Tympany 5, “I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead, You Rascal You”: The best drinking music fosters a spirit of unbridled joy and anarchy. So, check and check. Sure, this tune, penned by Louis Armstrong, might be psychotic, but it’s so cheerfully psychotic you can’t but help raise a glass to “I’m going to kill you just for fun, you rascal you.”
Best Song to Drink Alone to Gerry Rafferty, “Right Down the Line”: A genius recent addition, and the kind of track that spurs romantic memories and tugs at heartstrings you didn’t even know you had. An earnest love confessional wrapped in quality song writing, it can make a lonely drinker melancholy and reflective — not always a bad thing when you are staring down a glass of Jack. The Martini Kings, “Sleepwalk”: Equal parts melancholy and menace, this cover of Santo & Johnny lets you have your pine-for-the-girl-who-left-you cake and eat so-keep-the-hell-away-from-me, too.
Most Cliched Phoenix, “Lisztomania”: Phoenix started as a French garage band. Then came gigs backing Air, working with Sofia Coppola, and nods from hipster music bible Pitchfork. NPR loved the album, but it was the iPod commercial that put this piece of pop perfection everywhere. A classic case of a good song ruined by overexposure. The Trashmen, “Surfin’ Bird”: This is maybe a little unfair, and classic novelties are right in Frankie’s wheelhouse, but this 1963 goofball has been worn thin from years of use in commercials and movies.
Song That Sums It All Up Pulp, “Common People”: Jarvis Cocker’s Pulp formed during the New Wave era but didn’t hit big until the 1990s, when many Griffin drinkers were still in nappys. Hitting themes of sex, elitism, posturing, and class struggle, “Common People” encapsulates the Griffin—and its jukebox—perfectly. Dick Dale and His Del-Tones, “Nitro Fuel”: Propulsive surf-rock with a big, brassy hook from the genre’s pioneer, this gassed-up track neatly pairs the vibrato-soaked guitar that’s a staple on half this juke with the boozy horns that make up the other half.