5 Songs / 5 Uses of the Word “Drug”

5 Songs is a weekly series where we point out the strange, the grand, and the unique connections between our favorite songs. Let’s get weird.


Graphic by Lisa (with Android app Sketch n Draw)

Words by Chris

This category is self-explanatory so why did I bother to write this sentence? Why did you bother to read it?

“Drug a Wheel” / Bear in Heaven / Beast Rest Forth Mouth

Bear in Heaven is the synthesized ghost of a horrible psychedelic specter. Of course that’s a good thing. This one sounds like it’s stuck in a tank tread, stampeding through a forest fire. The song clamps shut halfway through and shimmers through the end after Jon Philpot says through a vocoder set at “evil”, “There is some truth to this lie, no joke. So look at your fire and not the smoke.” I dare you to get stoned-paranoid and concentrate on that gnarly shit while listening to this band on repeat. Good luck.

Bear in Heaven / Drug a Wheel

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“Druggachusetts” / Love as Laughter / Sea to Shining Sea

Speaking of drug-induced madness, Sam Jayne’s guitar likes to scream and kick things over. This record finds Love as Laughter pinning exactly where psychedelic rock and lo-fi indie rock clash in big muscular stoned riffs, and it’s mostly fantastic. This song is probably about someone tripping, coming to terms with consciousness and perception, and feeling alone in the socio-political industrial complex. This song kicks ass.

Love as Laughter / Druggachusetts

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“Druganaut” / Black Mountain / Black Mountain

Stop everything and dance around the office listening to this song. Okay. Now, remember that you’re a professional and things matter to you and rock n’ roll this fucking swinging was not intended for daily consumption. Black Mountain is one of those bands that could have made a deal at the crossroads, and come out of it thinking, “Well, that was groovy.” The word HEAVY in the dictionary and blah blah. Nothing might be more rock ‘n roll than, “Are you freedom, man?! Are you freedom, man?! Oh, we’re young and fast, lighting up the sky.”

Black Mountain / Druganaut

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“Drug Machine in Heaven” / The Flaming Lips / Telepathic Surgery

In my totally sober haze right now, I want to spring on you some late 80’s Flaming Lips to get your mind right. They sound like they’re playing circular saws instead of guitars, and Wayne Coyne has an unmistakable Dave Rollins voice, and this is a straight-ahead hardcore song. Part of the reason I chose this song is that the title is absolutely ridiculous, and also the lyric is just fantastic. Every line is priceless, especially this little couplet from a blotter-popping punk in the 80’s: “Everything, everything, everything that I wish gives us a 20th century Jesus guy and he could make us rich.” Hah.

The Flaming Lips / Drug Machine in Heaven

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“Handshake Drugs” / Wilco / A Ghost Is Born

I love the way Wilco can make addictions and mistakes sound so damn rectified and sometimes quaint. I guess that would be a definition of country music. With the advent of the mad genius Nels Cline into their fold on A Ghost Is Born, their songs are capable of this crazy beautiful screech that comes in to punctuate the galloping rhythm and piano. To me it’s like the little piece of anger that is involved every time someone has the guts to move on from something difficult. The most common question of anyone having a fit with something else or someone is the refrain in this song, “Exactly what do you want me to be?” Good question, meet me at my house for some jays and NHL ’96. We’ll figure something out.

Wilco / Handshake Drugs

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We’re sure there are plenty of other “drug” songs out there, so show us what you got. What are your faves? Did you like these picks? What are your plans for this “holiday” weekend? Comments comment comments!


One Response to “5 Songs / 5 Uses of the Word “Drug””

  1. “You Were the Last High” — The Dandy Warhols (and probably a bunch more from their catalog)
    “Cop Shoot Cop” — Spiritualized (and definitely a bunch more from their catalog)
    “Car Thief” — Beastie Boys

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