You can pretend you don’t know what “bro songs” are and that’s fine, but we’ve all been to a frat house or locker room before and heard these testosterone-laden anthems played until you can recite the lyrics in your sleep. Some of these are excellent songs spoiled by drunken youngsters through the ages refusing to expand their horizons, and others are just plain terrible and are only made worse by their incessant prevalence.
These are the types of tracks that get drunken friends singing along around a kegger around 2 a.m. at parties, where every alcohol container ever consumed is lined up on the window sill like dumbass badges of honor. And yet these songs have captured some important coming-of-age moments as well. They are the kind of pop songs that make you cringe and yet somehow relish their ubiquity. Don’t see your favorite bro jam here? Let me know in the comments section.
“Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana
Yep. This trio of wannabe punk rockers wrote many insightful songs discussing teen angst, raging hormones and awkward adolescence, but this grungy anthem will always be their calling card. It has since been spun into oblivion on every rock radio station from Hartford to Houston.
“Under the Bridge” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
This is a slow jam for when bros get the feels. Anthony Kiedis’ intimate and vulnerable lyrics about isolation and healing have been cherry-picked by every dude who just had his heart stomped on by a pair of UGGs. Hang in, bro. Hang in.
“You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC
Probably originally intended for strip clubs, this thumping crowd-pleaser turns every decent living room into party central. It is at once a shot of adrenaline in any friendly gathering and a sure sign that your friend’s taste is as generic as that discount toilet paper you’re all buying. No, all toilet paper is not the same.
“Crash Into Me” by Dave Matthews Band
Several DMB songs could have made this list, but we gotta keep the bland listening slightly diversified, right? Matthews himself was a once a bartender and somehow that drowsy, libation-soaked atmosphere bled into his songwriting. Truly, his grovel-y moaning makes more sense after a few drinks… and perhaps a good cry.
“That Was A Crazy Game Of Poker” by O.A.R.
Nothing, absolutely nothing says “bro jam” like a swinging acoustic romp romanticizing the great game of poker. Just hearing this song, you can practically smell the B.O. and warm, flat beer. Yum.
“The Memory Remains” by Metallica
Another discography chock full of tracks destined for this list, this nasty ’90s wailer will have to do. Hetfield’s dismal, hopeless words and that old woman’s obnoxious/creepy singing make this track forever a hallmark of playlists for wannabe badasses the world over.
“Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)” by Green Day
Despite the (hypocritical) title, this is easily this band’s most sentimental foray into pop songwriting — the Irish violin is an especially nice touch. Yet another great song pounded into the pop culture psyche until it represents all the proms, graduations, weddings, funerals and birthdays ad infinitum.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen
Sorry, fellas. This bromantic tune has more than earned its place on this list. Just remember, every time you and your buddies reenact that classic “Wayne’s World” scene in your Corolla, you join the endless throng of typical dudes who came before you. But who needs originality when you’re this guy?
“Jumper” by Third Eye Blind
It will always amaze me how we can memorize something without even trying. Such is the case with this sappy ’90s artifact that celebrates friends everywhere. Full of heart and infectious chord progressions, this one offers a hearty helping of nostalgia.
“What I Got” by Sublime
Love it or hate it, this is the most overplayed bro-down track of all time. Yes it’s catchy and full of laid-back charm, and so we can be forgiving. After all, Bradley Nowell could never have guessed the douchiness this hit would come to represent.