What's the meaning of the line "Those torches you carry must be drowned in champagne" in the song "Here's to the losers"?


3 Answers 3


The entire theme of the lyric is alcoholic consumption & unrequited love, for the men. It seems they are expected to drown their sorrows if they can't find a partner. The ladies seem to be pictured as just 'staring into space' instead [times were different.]
It also seems expected that anyone without a partner is automatically a 'loser'.
So, within the second verse you already have

Here's to those who drink their dinners when that lady doesn't show

also, later

Here's the last toast of the evening, here's to those who still believe

so the last line is a callback to that

Those torches you carry must be drowned in champagne

I guess, they drink to forget, or to pass the time, without a partner.
The whole lyric is a tad out of step with modern thinking really.

To 'carry a torch' for someone is to love them with no reciprocation. Either they're over the relationship, or the feeling is simply one-sided. The other person may never even know.


Just to add to Tetsujin's already good answer:

This song is in the "ironic" mode that was common to lyrics of the time and the genre. It also needs to be contextualized in a time where casual widespread alcohol use was normalized.

The torches are part of a still often-used metaphor, where love is conceptualized as a burning flame (compare "Ring of Fire"). If you can't use it to kindle a romantic "fire" with someone, you just have to carry it around with you, thus "carry a torch" or "carry a flame for [someone]."

In this particular lyric, the metaphor is reified as an actual flame that needs to be put out. "Tom, Dick and Harry" (contemptuous generic names for "any random schlub") might think it romantic to stand out in the rain for their crushes, but the raindrops won't be able to put the flame out. They have to drown the torches in champagne, or, in other words, drink until they aren't thinking about the girls anymore.


In truth, it is an incredible, open admission as to the importance of sexual attractiveness. It’s amazing this is not acknowledged by commentators. This is NOT about “loss and resilience“. It is obvious in message. The girl under the mistletoe is not sexy enough for anyone to kiss her. The guy who drinks his dinner was not, either. It is a bit overly cheerful and just offhand and mildly acknowledging of the difficult lives of those who have little sex appeal. Bless them all. What else can be done? One of the most ruthless songs ever written.

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