Top 10 Songs About Drugs

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Drugs Songs


We explore 10 of our favorite tracks about drugs and look into their meaning. From the 60's to the present day, some things never seem to change.

Comedian Bill Hicks once said…

“You see, I think drugs have done some good things for us. I really do. And if you don't believe drugs have done good things for us, do me a favour. Go home tonight. Take all your albums, all your tapes and all your CDs and burn them. 'Cause you know what, the musicians that made all that great music that's enhanced your lives throughout the years were really f#@king high on drugs. The Beatles were so f#@king high they let Ringo sing a few tunes.”

Good ‘ol Bill certainly had a knack for simply going out there and stating the harsh truth. Take that whole “sex, drugs and rock n’ roll” thing - they portray the top three things that make us humans go instantly wild. If done right, nothing but great experiences are to be expected. When done wrong, it often ends in complete disaster.

Here are our top 10 songs about drugs, in no particular order, that reveal the lives of the artists or in some way give us a sneak peek into their dirty little secrets.

LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS - THE BEATLES

When the song title abbreviates to LSD, the animated video clip defines the word “trippy,” the lyrics talk about such things as girls with kaleidoscope eyes, marshmallow people eating horses, and even skies made of marmalade - it becomes challenging to take John Lennon’s word that this song was merely about a drawing his son Julian made in kindergarten.

It is just a bit too obvious, John.

The record, which was released in 1967, came after an extended period of touring by the fab four. Apparently, they became exhausted of life on the road, quit touring and locked themselves in the studio; and this is when the album Stg. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was made. In numerous interviews, all of them have openly talked about their avid enthusiasm towards LSD, so it is no surprise they would team up to write a song about it.

WHITE LINES (DON’T, DON’T DO IT) – GRANDMASTER FLASH

Grandmaster Flash is one of the original pioneers of hip-hop, using novel technology like looped bass lines, symphonic samples, groove boxes and turntables, all in-sync to create the illusion of a 50-piece band. His 1983 single ranked #7 in the UK and #47 in the US, which is really surprising considering how unorthodox he sounded back then.

The song talks about the risks and effects of cocaine use and drug dealing. Mainly intended as a warning to the youth of the time, it unexpectedly became a sort of anthem for active cocaine users and still is to this day. If you ever hear this song pop up in a nightclub, it will take you 2 seconds to spot who is riding the white horse.

PURPLE HAZE – JIMI HENDRIX

Jimi Hendrix was an avid sci-fi aficionado and unquestionably one of the best guitar players to have ever walked the Earth. He also walked on Mars and Pluto, and through his music, you can tell he also visited some very far away places on the other side of the galaxy. Some have even raised concerns of him being a visiting alien.

Purple Haze was spawned in 1967 at the height of the “flower power” movement, making rock history after the epic 1969 Woodstock Festival performance. It is said that the song’s title derives from a special batch of LSD made by underground chemist Owsley Stanley dubbed “Monterey Purple.” This was apparently in honour of the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, in which The Jimi Hendrix Experience performed.

If you look carefully, however, the story doesn’t really hold up. Purple Haze had already been released in March while the festival was only in June. Unless, of course, Jimi loved it so much that he went back in time and renamed the song after that specific batch. Anything is possible with Jimi Hendrix.

MUSHROOMS - EMINEM

In this song, Eminem tells the story of a funny, bad trip. Not that bad trips are anything enjoyable, but the song kind of is. The beat and arrangements are far from gruel and even the chorus is sort of infantile and mocking. Nothing specifically goes horribly wrong, except the girl dies in the end. She “accidentally” ate 22 caps of shrooms that he supposedly didn’t intend for her to do, even though he peer-pressured her into doing them. Hum?

These lyrics have many inconsistencies, we know - but it has a great beat nonetheless.

PURPLE PILLS – D12

D12 is a hip-hop collective from Detroit. It may sound like Eminem, but technically it is Slim Shady, the real one. In this tune, Slim tries it all. The rapper goes on about these certain blue-yellow-purple pills and how much better they are than everything else around. Sounds exactly like what one would write about when they are high on something.

Exactly what kind of drug these pills are remains undisclosed. He does put it up against cocaine, valium, mushrooms and weed; neither ecstasy nor acid comes close, nor crack, amphetamines or mescaline. That is one huge list and quite some bold claims there, Slim!

Shame he does not reveal the secret.

CAN’T FEEL MY FACE – THE WEEKND

There are only two possibilities here. If for some reason you can not feel your face, either you have just returned from the dentist after anaesthesia, or you have anaesthetised yourself by ingesting some type of drug, in this case XTC. The song does not go into much detail, except it does give us a glimpse into what substance use looks like.

Whichever the case, this song is the epitome of how R&B and pop can blend so well to make dance floor history. Admittedly, it bears a striking resemblance to Michael Jackson’s legacy, but how wonderfully so.

WHITE RABBIT – JEFFERSON AIRPLANE

Jefferson Airplane take all the fantastic visuals from Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland and brings them to sonic life. It is all there, condensed in less than 2 minutes and 30 seconds. The entire book, summarised in 131 words. What a feat!

The red and the blue pill, the rabbit and Alice, the hookah-smoking caterpillar and magic mushrooms, even the Red Queen. They are all there, except for Humpty Dumpty, which makes sense considering Alice met him in the book’s sequel, 1871’s Through the Looking-Glass.

BEETLEBUM – BLUR

One of late-90’s biggest alternative-grunge hits is still to this day played as if it were one of the hottest tracks to hit the airwaves. This song holds nothing back. Damon Albarn has publicly admitted how the record is about he and his girlfriend’s severe drug addictions. He dated none other than Justine Frischmann of the band Elastica, while smoking lots of heroin.

The term Beetlebum has since become slang for a heroin addict. Paraphrasing, not only will it make you lazy, you will get numb.
"Get nothing done you beetlebum" - says Albarn.

BROWN SUGAR – D’ANGELO

Contrary to what you might think from reading the intro lyrics, this song is not about a girl called Brown Sugar. So you must be thinking, “then surely it has to be about heroin right? Brown sugar?” - No, it is not about smack either. Curiously, this song is about D’Angelo’s love for weed. One could even say it is his Ode to Cannabis. What is intriguing is his choice of title - possibly an obscure, personal reference.

THE A TEAM – ED SHEERAN

In this melancholic, acoustic song, Ed tells us a sad story about a prostitute that is addicted to crack cocaine, tracking her physical decline and quest for eternal satisfaction. It speaks of a depressive whirlpool of emotions, the struggles of life and how ultimately, this path can quickly lead to death by overdose. A very fair warning, beautifully delivered in the form a dark, lyrically engaging melody.

Guest Writer

Written by: Guest Writer
Occasionally we have guest writers contribute to our blog here at Zamnesia. They come from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, making their knowledge invaluable.

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