10 songs about recreational pharmacology

10 songs about recreational pharmacology
10 songs about recreational pharmacology

Drugs and civilization have grown side by side. Even in periods where drug use was frowned upon, some songwriters have found a way to sing about them even under the cover of bouncy pop sheens (“Got To Get You Into My Life”). At very least, the feelings of being high are used as cute metaphors for more wholesome feelings (“I Want A New Drug”).

10 songs about recreational pharmacology

Drugs in Literature, Drugs in Song

Since the English Romantics, poems and then songs celebrating, or at least under the influence of, intoxicants have continued into the decades and centuries. The figure of the Ancient Mariner sailing into the unknown in Coleridge’s poem has become the journey of the one looking for meaning by way of an opiated state (“Golden Brown”). Even so-called children’s literature, like Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland has been thought to have a drug-related subtext to be explored in the 1960s (“White Rabbit”), when drug use as a spiritually exploratory pursuit became something of a trend.

Drugs As a Rite of Passage

The scene is the club, the rush of youth and in a strange way of innocence is often something of a high even without the drugs . In this setting, drug taking is often a part of a search for one’s identity (“Born Slippy”). Yet drug taking is also portrayed in song as something that swallows identity, subsuming one’s own sense of right and wrong in favour of feeding a habit (“Heroin”, “Because I Got High”).

Drugs As They Impact Others

Drug taking isn’t just about an individual pursuit, it’s also about how those pursuits affect other people. Seeing someone in a downward spiral because of drug taking is just as difficult in a certain way as being in that spiral oneself (“Mother’s Little Helper”). And sometimes whole communities are affected, because of the actions of the few who keep the cycle going, while being stuck in that cycle at the same time (“Superfly”).

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Ken Wells