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Songs about drug addiction
May 13, 2008 2:35 PM   Subscribe

Looking for songs about overdosing on drugs and drug addiction.

A friend of mine passed away from a drug overdose last week, and a few more friends of mine are struggling with nasty drug addictions. I'm looking for some good songs to help me deal (and I'm open to pretty much any genre).

Thanks.
posted by lunit to Human Relations (80 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Lou Reed, Heroin.
posted by fixedgear at 2:39 PM on May 13, 2008


Neil Young, Needle and the Damage Done.
posted by fixedgear at 2:40 PM on May 13, 2008


the drugs don't work -- the verve/ben harper
great song
posted by changeling at 2:40 PM on May 13, 2008


"People who died" by the Jim Carroll Band
posted by Gungho at 2:46 PM on May 13, 2008


Needle in the Hay by Elliot Smith. Yahoo Answers actually has a decent list already generated.
posted by jessamyn at 2:46 PM on May 13, 2008


Wednesday by Levy is about exactly that. The singer found his best friend after his OD.
"No matter what I do/ My love is gone/ My best friend's dead."
posted by rmless at 2:47 PM on May 13, 2008


If you ever find a copy of Clive Gregson and Christine Collister's wonderful live album, Home And Away, there's a track on there about heroin addiction called Chasing The Dragon that helped me to understand.

More easily available and just as beautiful, there's Stuck In A Moment by U2.

All the best to you.
posted by MinPin at 2:49 PM on May 13, 2008


Pretty much anything by Elliott Smith (Needle in the Hay, A Distorted Reality is Now a Necessity to be Free, etc)
posted by amarynth at 2:49 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Pretty much anything by Aimee Mann; The Forgotten Arm is loosely a concept album in which (one? both?) of the main characters are trying to get clean from unspecified drugs.

Lost in Space is another good album of hers; the title track jumps to mind, as does "Humpty Dumpty." "Hate the sinner but love the sin/Let me be your heroin(e)."
posted by fiercecupcake at 2:51 PM on May 13, 2008


Alice in Chains - "Junkhead"
Black Sabbath - "Snowblind"
Tool - "Sober" "Undertow" (maybe)
posted by saladin at 2:52 PM on May 13, 2008


"Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails. And even moreso, covered by an old, fading Johnny Cash.

I'm sorry for the loss of your friend.
posted by aliasless at 2:52 PM on May 13, 2008


Hurt by NIN or Johnny Cash.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 2:52 PM on May 13, 2008


Pretty much most of Spacemen 3.
posted by lovejones at 2:52 PM on May 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh, and Gold Mine Gutted, by Bright Eyes.
posted by amarynth at 2:53 PM on May 13, 2008


Just about any Stones album has a choice song or two on the subject. "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and "Shine a Light" are the ones closest to my heart.
posted by nebulawindphone at 2:55 PM on May 13, 2008


Nehalem by Everclear.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:55 PM on May 13, 2008


I'm sorry about your friend. Townes Van Zandt might be a good songwriter to check out. For songs about drugs and addiction, there's Waiting Around to Die and also his cover of Dead Flowers. Just to add some hope to the equation, he also wrote To Live Is to Fly.

Low's song In the Drugs is beautiful.
posted by otolith at 2:58 PM on May 13, 2008


Also,

Running to Stand Still, U2
Bad, U2

And, condolences.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 2:58 PM on May 13, 2008


Drifting, by 4 non blondes
Two Little Girls, by Ani Difranco
Four o'clock in the morning, by the Pogues
posted by iamkimiam at 3:00 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm so sorry about your friend.
I can't believe no one's mentioned this one: "Not An Addict" by K's Choice. "Drugs Don't Work" by Verve is beautiful but I've heard its about cancer, not drugs, if the underlying intention of the song is important to you.
posted by Eudaimonia at 3:02 PM on May 13, 2008


The Flaming Lips - "The Spiderbite Song"

The first verse deals with how addictions hurt everyone around. Not completely literal, but it's incredibly bittersweet without becoming maudlin.
posted by muddgirl at 3:03 PM on May 13, 2008


Also, condolences.
posted by muddgirl at 3:03 PM on May 13, 2008


Pushing the Needle Too Far, Indigo Girls

Nthing Two Little Girls, Ani DiFranco

And I'm so sorry for your loss.
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 3:04 PM on May 13, 2008


Twelve Steps
Medication
Feel So Sad
Walk with Jesus
By the ultimate drug addicted Spaceman.

Tonight's the night
Neil Young
posted by twistedonion at 3:06 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Palmcorder Yajna is about how bad things can get.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:06 PM on May 13, 2008


and sorry for what you are going through.
posted by twistedonion at 3:07 PM on May 13, 2008


The Mars Volta released a concept album, De-loused In the Comatorium , about a guy who overdoses on opiates. The story is based on a friend of the lead singer.
posted by Kevbo947 at 3:12 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Cold Turkey - John Lennon
posted by watercarrier at 3:30 PM on May 13, 2008


Tom petty's "girl on LSD"
posted by sunshinesky at 3:32 PM on May 13, 2008


Marianne Faithfull - Sister Morphine
posted by watercarrier at 3:38 PM on May 13, 2008


LMA by The Mark of Cain
posted by Jimbob at 3:40 PM on May 13, 2008


I would argue the interpretation of Aimee Mann songs - although 'The Forgotten Arm' is about a doomed love affair with an alcoholic. Much of her work is actually kind of regretful, sad love songs. Those can be cathartic as well.

However, I'll add, specifically; Sister Morphine by the Rolling Stones (even though M. Faithfull wrote it, the Stones nailed it - imho) and darn near the entire Pink Floyd album 'The Wall' which is an allegory about losing oneself in addiction, whether it be drugs, fame or whatever.
posted by elendil71 at 3:41 PM on May 13, 2008


Jane Says by Jane's Addiction; Snowblind Friend, by Steppenwolf.
posted by lindsey.nicole at 3:42 PM on May 13, 2008


(Here's a Youtube link for LMA by The Mark of Cain, by the way).
posted by Jimbob at 3:48 PM on May 13, 2008


Under the Bridge by the Red Hot Chili Peppers

So sorry for your friend, and what your other friends are going through.
posted by platinum at 3:54 PM on May 13, 2008


Angel by Sarah McLachlan, doesn't mention drug addiction, but it is about someone who died from an overdose.

I personally like Not if You Were the Last Junkie on Earth by the Dandy Warhols, but you might find it a bit too flippant.
posted by CrunchyFrog at 3:57 PM on May 13, 2008


Under The Bridge - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Far Behind - Candlebox
Seconding "The Drugs Don't Work"...great song

Sorry about your friend.
posted by mr. plow at 4:00 PM on May 13, 2008


Pool Shark by Sublime (Bradley Nowell - RIP heroin)
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 4:01 PM on May 13, 2008


In my opinion, the best one is Cure for Pain by Morphine.
Also, Heroin & Cocaine by the Tigerlillies.
posted by hulahulagirl at 4:07 PM on May 13, 2008


(sorry about your friend)
posted by hulahulagirl at 4:07 PM on May 13, 2008


Seconding "The Drugs Don't Work"...great song

Seconding that song not actually being about a drug overdose at all. Yeah, yeah, I know it's kinda unusual for bands to sing songs about people dying of cancer.
posted by Jimbob at 4:10 PM on May 13, 2008


The Mirror. Cemetary Gates. Hollow. These don't deal directly with drug addiction, but they're relevant.
posted by proj08 at 4:16 PM on May 13, 2008


Tom Waits - Crossroads
posted by dilettante at 4:17 PM on May 13, 2008


My job seems to be to supply the They Might Be Giants songs in these sorts of threads so: Lie Still, Little Bottle
posted by lore at 4:25 PM on May 13, 2008


The Fray - How to Save a Life
posted by inconsequentialist at 4:27 PM on May 13, 2008


as lore's job is in regards to TMBG, so is mine in regards to Paul Weller:

Style Council, A Man of Great Promise (recent solo version here)

So sorry about your loss.
posted by scody at 5:03 PM on May 13, 2008


If I may add to twistedonion's list, I would add this one by Spiritualized. Especially the bit about "just me and my spike in my arm and my spoon". Certainly not surprising coming from a man whose previous band (the aforementioned Spacemen 3) had an album entitled "Taking Drugs to Make Music to Take Drugs To".
posted by friendlyjuan at 5:11 PM on May 13, 2008


Oh, another one:

Warren Zevon - Carmelita
posted by dilettante at 5:13 PM on May 13, 2008


"Mr. Brownstone" by Guns N' Roses

Best of luck to you.
posted by beachhead2 at 5:14 PM on May 13, 2008


I'll add a couple...Tom Waits' "Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis" is a pretty bleak look at the life of a drug addict. I cannot agree more with whoever mentioned Morphine's "Cure For Pain" - absolutely nails the mindset of a junkie. There are persistent rumors that The La's "There She Goes" is about heroin, and I certainly buy that.
posted by Banky_Edwards at 5:26 PM on May 13, 2008


Strawberry by Everclear

That's rough stuff, amigo. My sincerest condolences
posted by Rewind at 5:51 PM on May 13, 2008


Blue in the Face by Alkaline Trio
At Your Funeral by Saves the Day
posted by radioamy at 6:19 PM on May 13, 2008


Use the Man by Megadeth.
posted by astrochimp at 6:29 PM on May 13, 2008


Sam Stone by John Prine
White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane
Take a Whiff On Me by Lead Belly (among others)
Cocaine - Eric Clapton
Me and My Gin - Bessie Smith
posted by paulsc at 6:29 PM on May 13, 2008


I am so sorry - peace and rest to you and your friends. Try Bert Jansch - Needle of Death
posted by Susurration at 6:33 PM on May 13, 2008


Making Waves by Golden Smog
posted by echolalia67 at 6:56 PM on May 13, 2008


4Hero - Mr. Kirk's Nightmare
posted by Arbac at 7:36 PM on May 13, 2008


Also very sorry. In addition to the above, quickly off the top of my head:

Velvet Underground - I'm Waiting for My Man
Social Distortion - Drug Train
NOFX- Whoops I Od'd

Also those artists will have multiple songs on the subject
posted by unsigned at 7:46 PM on May 13, 2008


Bubblegum by the Mark Lanegan Band. The entire album is about a love affair with getting high. Some examples here

Sorry about your friend.
posted by fshgrl at 7:52 PM on May 13, 2008


low's "(that's how you sing) amazing grace"
elliott smith's "needle in the hay"
posted by ifjuly at 8:11 PM on May 13, 2008


Sorry to hear about your friend, and friends.

"This Place is a Prison" by The Postal Service

(lyrics, music)
posted by NikitaNikita at 8:13 PM on May 13, 2008


lyrics and music to that low song.
posted by ifjuly at 8:15 PM on May 13, 2008


Signed DC, by Love.

Sugar Sugar Sugar, by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.

The Mercy Seat, by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds (although that's just my personal interpretation).

Burning Inside, by Ministry.

A Daisy Chain 4 Satan, by My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult.

All I can think of right now.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:27 PM on May 13, 2008


White Lines
posted by fiTs at 8:43 PM on May 13, 2008


Never Let Me Down by Depeche Mode
posted by Alison at 9:11 PM on May 13, 2008


Codeine, by Buffy Saint Marie
posted by JimN2TAW at 9:31 PM on May 13, 2008


Freddie's Dead by Curtis Mayfield.
posted by fuse theorem at 10:01 PM on May 13, 2008


Strawbs - Hero and Heroine (YouTube)

Canned Heat - Amphetamine Annie
posted by a.mosquito.or.something at 10:22 PM on May 13, 2008


Lynyrd Skynyrd, "The Needle and the Spoon" [lyrics]
posted by kirkaracha at 10:35 PM on May 13, 2008


Yet another Velvet Underground: "White Light, White Heat".
posted by brujita at 11:16 PM on May 13, 2008


Cat Power "He War" (imho)
Twilight Singers just about anything off Powder Burns and some earlier material, er, a lot of it.. I actually most recommend "Fat City (Slight Return)" off Blackberry Belle, it's gorgeous
Hole "Use Once & Destroy" and a ton of other songs, Pretty on the Inside in total is the most druggy but.. everything really
Scratch Acid "Mary Had a Little Drug Problem"
Laid Back "White Horse"
Birthday Party "Mutiny in Heaven" or maybe "Junkyard"..
David Bowie "Always Crashing in the Same Car," "Ashes to Ashes"
Tori Amos "Hotel"
Sebadoh "Too Pure"
Ministry "Just One Fix"
Jane's Addiction "Jane Says"

goofy dance song -
Nico Vega "Cocaine cooked the brain"
posted by citron at 12:03 AM on May 14, 2008


Regina Spektor - "That Time"
posted by chronic sublime at 4:48 AM on May 14, 2008


Tool - "Undertow" (maybe)

Maybe not. I think that's a bit intense.
posted by cashman at 6:51 AM on May 14, 2008


Steely Dan - "Charlie Freak"
posted by saladin at 6:56 AM on May 14, 2008


"Need a New Drug"
"Codeine"
posted by unrepentanthippie at 6:58 AM on May 14, 2008


yeah, "bonnie brae" - the twilight singers
anything by spacemen 3 or spiritualized. this is their major theme, so...
posted by ifjuly at 7:25 AM on May 14, 2008


Barenaked Ladies - "War on Drugs"
posted by LightMayo at 7:40 AM on May 14, 2008


My favorite of the moment:

Lil Wayne - I Feel Like Dying
posted by atomly at 10:03 AM on May 14, 2008


Slippin into Darkness - War
The Pusher - Steppinwolf
Cocaine Blues - Jackson Browne
posted by aoxomoxoa at 12:03 PM on May 14, 2008


Chet Baker's Unsung Swan Song, by David Wilcox.

I'm sorry you're going through this. I went through it years ago. It's not easy.
posted by MrVisible at 1:37 PM on May 15, 2008


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