The Beatles wrote that little ditty about LSD called “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and then blamed it on a painting by John Lennon's son. The Rolling Stones were less coy with such titles as “Mother's Little Helper” and “Sister Morphine.” Dylan proclaimed “everybody must get stoned.” Clapton (by way of J.J. Cale) celebrated cocaine. Neil Young warned of the needle and the damage done. Lou Reed, as leader of the Velvet Underground and then as a solo act, became King of the Drug Odes thanks to such classics as “Heroin,” “Waiting for the Man,” “Street Hassle” and “Perfect Day,” just to name a few. But all of those were recorded in the 1960s and 70s. Here's a look at great songs from the 2000s inspired by assorted pills, powders and syrup.
1. “Cocaine and Ashes,” Son Volt
2. “Ask Her For Adderall,” the Hold Steady
The greatest indie rock & roll band in the world writes a song about that girl everybody knows: the one with the Adderrall stash. These speed pills–obtainable with prescription for ADHD, which we hear is pretty easy to get–pack a euphoric side effect, suppress your appetite and allow you to study (and/or drink your ass off) all night long while inhaling at least a carton of cigarettes, each one tasting like cotton candy. Who could ask for anything more? Well, than more Adderall an hour or so later. The song is included on the Hold Steady's latest album, the concert disc A Positive Rage.
3. “Purple Pills,” D12 featuring Eminem
People had been rolling since the 1970s but Ecstasy didn't receive a proper, mainstream homage until 2001 when Eminem and his Detroit crew dropped “Purple Pills” (renamed “Purple Hills” for radio/MTV). “I take a couple uppers, I down a couple downers, but nothing compares to these blue and yellow purple pills,” Eminem raps on the highly more entertaining uncensored version of the hit single. It should be noted, though, that the all-time greatest Ecstasy anthem–especially among old-school ravers–is the Prodigy's “Out of Space,” from their 1992 debut album Experience. “I'll take your brain to another dimension!” If you partied in the '90s, you have sung along to that line.
4. “Drugs,” Black Lips
The singer's nose is runny from hitting the slopes too hard the night before and he's smoking “BC Buddha” while driving around with his friends when he spots a hottie and asks: “Can I pick you up with my me and my buddies and chill?” Instant classic. The song is off the Black Lips' latest album 200 Million Thousand. Before playing Detroit Bar last month, the Lips' Cole Alexander spoke to the Weekly about spitting beer on concertgoers.
5. “Me and My Drank,” Lil Wayne
People have been enjoying prescription-strength, codeine-laced cough syrup since the days of Wyatt Earp but it never really entered popular culture until Southern rappers started sipping. New Orleans' Lil Wayne, currently incarcerated but still the greatest rapper alive, delivers a love song to his purple drank, consumed, of course, in a Styrofoam cup. “They say I should chill before it kills me,” he raps in his distinctive Crescent City drawl, “but so will a car crash or a nine milli.” The song can be found on the 2008 disc Southern Lean, Vol. 5.