Hearing in paired: Whiskey

Some people feel and taste colors. Other people associate feelings with sounds. Me? Well, I drink in music. In this blog series, I pour myself a glass and pair 10 sips to 10 songs. Today, I’m drinking whiskey and it tastes like angry drum beats and dirty guitar riffs. 

Good ol’ whiskey. Or is it whisky? Or is it Scotch?

Well, whiskey or whisky is ultimately the same thing. Some argue that you should spell it with an ‘e’ if it’s distilled in the United States. While others claim that the difference in spelling is a style choice, similar to color versus colour. And Scotch is just whiskey/whisky from Scotland.

So you see, everything about this simple beverage is overly complicated, with its many options to consider, from a blend to a single malt to the years its aged to the country of its birth. Yet, its popularity is unwavering. I dare you to try to take away Fireball Cinnamon Whisky from American twenty-somethings. They might be grossed out by gluten, but high amounts of propylene glycol (the ingredient that got Fireball banned in parts of Europe) is perfectly all right. And connoisseurs pledge allegiance to a brand, as I once witnessed a Johnnie Walker drinker thumb his nose at a perfectly poured glass of Glenlivet.

As for me, I don’t hold fealty to any particular brand and am only an occasional whiskey drinker because it tends to bring out my least endearing qualities. Yet, for the scientific purposes of this blog series, I poured myself a glass of the 12 year old Scotch blend of Chivas Regal (over tons of ice) and paired my first ten sips to ten songs that captured what I was tasting and feeling.

Whiskey Sounds

Sip 1 – Boys Wanna Be Her by Peaches

The bass drum matched my heart beat as I let out a deep exhale, followed by a gulp. As soon as the liquid heat touched my tongue, I felt like I’d been challenged to a fight in a parking lot. Only my opponent was the whiskey and the only way to kick its ass was to drink it all.

Sip 2 – Walking Backwards by Leagues

I felt my face contort until I swallowed and then I slammed the glass on the counter because I immediately regretted this stupid idea. I grabbed the edges of the counter top with both hands and let the liquid run through my body like the bass line of this song.

Sip 3 – No Angel by Dark Like Snow

The third sip was much smoother than the first two. My body stopped fighting the whiskey, allowing it to run its course through my veins, my joints and my muscles.

Sip 4 – Breaks Me Down by Stars and Crosses

I felt the warmth of the fourth sip on my face, which tricked me into momentarily wanting to relax, but just like the midway point of this song, I became hyper and irreverent shortly after.

Sip 5 – For This I Can’t Be Sure by Sunparlour Players

I became chatty and loud. As many times as the title of this song gets repeated as a lyric, I too attempted to explain a simple concept by just saying it over and over again.

Sip 6 – People Are Strange by Johnny Hollow

I convinced myself that everyone else is the problem. I wasn’t able to pin-point what that problem was, but there was one and they had it.

Sip 7 – Middle of the Road by The Pretenders

Out loud, without prompting and without reason, I said, “Fuck everybody,” which is what I think the guitar riff is really saying in this song.

Sip 8 – Walkin up the Road by Betty Davis

My throat is raw for some reason. Maybe because for the eighth time I’ve poured gasoline down my trachea. I feel like my voice now sounds like Betty Davis – both the white one and the black one.

Sip 9 – I Know What I Am by Band of Skulls

It never fails. This libation brings out the worst in me. And by the ninth sip, I had in fact convinced myself that I was infallible, invincible and maybe even invisible as well. I let my mind wander to places of paranoia and regret. And then look at my glass for my tenth and final sip.

Sip 10 – I Want To Be Your Joey Ramone by Sleater-Kinney

After the gulp, I stared at the glass and wiped my upper lip with the tips of my fingers. I regretted doing this experiment on an empty stomach. And then I remembered it didn’t matter because I’m a rock star in the rough. “I wanna be your Joey Ramone/Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah/Pictures of me on your bedroom door.”

Below is a full list of the 10 songs for my 10 sips:

And, of course, an after photo of the whole ordeal for posterity:


Published by Mari

I was born with a widow's peak and a thick accent. I majored in English as a second language. I work (marianeladearmas.com) and travel (alittlecubangoesalongway.com) and sometimes do both.

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