Songs about relationships with addicts
October 15, 2022 7:50 AM   Subscribe

Any genre welcome. Thoughtful lyrics appreciated. I'm looking for songs about people in any kind of relationship with a loved one who is experiencing addiction. I already have A Minor Incident and Bad, but what else should I add to this playlist? Definitely not looking for songs with the point of view of "you're worthless because you're an addict." Thanks.
posted by corey flood to Media & Arts (50 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Little Angel, Little Brother by Lucinda Williams.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:59 AM on October 15, 2022 [1 favorite]


Drunken Angel by Lucinda Williams.
posted by splitpeasoup at 8:08 AM on October 15, 2022 [5 favorites]


Jane Says by Jane's Addiction
posted by winesong at 8:21 AM on October 15, 2022 [2 favorites]


Neil Young-The Needle and the Damage Done
posted by ActionPopulated at 8:25 AM on October 15, 2022 [10 favorites]


Natasha by Rufus Wainwright
posted by shesbookish at 8:33 AM on October 15, 2022


Running to Stand Still
posted by credulous at 8:44 AM on October 15, 2022 [2 favorites]


Maria's Last Words (recording quality is really bad, sorry)
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:54 AM on October 15, 2022


Cod Liver Oil
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:02 AM on October 15, 2022


The Mother Who Bore You in Pain by Ron Hynes (note: basically a rhyming version of his mother's words begging him to go to rehab and talking sbout hiw addiction stole her son).
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:07 AM on October 15, 2022 [2 favorites]


“Kiss the Bottle” by Jawbreaker or the more melodious Sparta. Although it’s about a relationship between addicts.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:09 AM on October 15, 2022


Malibu by Hole
posted by ojocaliente at 10:02 AM on October 15, 2022 [1 favorite]


"Sam Stone" by John Prine
posted by Rash at 10:05 AM on October 15, 2022 [4 favorites]


"I'll Stand By You", the Pretenders
posted by Etrigan at 10:16 AM on October 15, 2022 [1 favorite]


Turn Around by the Postal Service
"Don't say you're done, cause you're brave, and you're loved, and this town, this sea, it won't drag you underneath"
posted by bleep at 10:27 AM on October 15, 2022


There are a lot of Mountain Goats songs on this theme. I'll suggest "Your Belgian Things" as one of the most obvious examples.
"What Became of the Likely Lads" by The Libertines covers the friendship angle well.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 10:29 AM on October 15, 2022 [2 favorites]


Drugs or Me by Jimmy Eat World
posted by lunasol at 10:33 AM on October 15, 2022


Sorry You’re Sick by Ted Hawkins
posted by dianeF at 10:46 AM on October 15, 2022


Two Little Girls by Ani di Franco, music and lyrics
posted by Jesse the K at 10:46 AM on October 15, 2022 [2 favorites]


Joey by Concrete Blonde
posted by Sauter Vaguely at 10:47 AM on October 15, 2022 [8 favorites]


Junkie Girl by Walter Becker
posted by 2N2222 at 10:48 AM on October 15, 2022


Rock Bottom Riser, by Smog/Bill Callahan
Take This Bottle, by Faith No More/Mike Patton
posted by desert exile at 10:48 AM on October 15, 2022 [1 favorite]


Young Lover by Saint Vincent
posted by silby at 11:01 AM on October 15, 2022 [1 favorite]


So Much Wine by the Handsome Family
posted by crocomancer at 11:06 AM on October 15, 2022 [2 favorites]


Rehab, Amy Winehouse
posted by enfa at 11:07 AM on October 15, 2022


“Happiest Girl” by Depeche Mode
“Mississippi” by Cactus Blossoms (from the addict’s perspective)
posted by infinitewindow at 11:27 AM on October 15, 2022


Aimee Mann wrote a country-rock concept album based on a relationship with an addict, where the perspective switches around for each song. Titles most relevant to the question:

Going Through the Motions
That's How I Knew This Story Would Break My Heart
I Can't Help You Anymore
posted by rollick at 11:58 AM on October 15, 2022 [6 favorites]


A Little More - Eric Hutchinson
posted by alchemist at 12:07 PM on October 15, 2022


Came here to say The Forgotten Arm by Aimee Mann, but rollick beat me to it. I'd disagree with the characterization of "country-rock" though - contemporary pop/alternative pop would be the genre I'd put it in. Really the entire album fits the bill.

Maggie by Colin Hay is about losing a childhood crush/love that became an addict.

Many of the songs on Dirt by Alice in Chains are first-hand about addiction. "Down in a Hole" is about someone struggling with addiction talking to their loved one and doubting they can be "saved."
posted by jzb at 1:30 PM on October 15, 2022


Twilight by Elliott Smith. And likely dozens of other songs.
posted by Woodroar at 4:02 PM on October 15, 2022


Carmelita, Warren Zevon
posted by lois1950 at 4:06 PM on October 15, 2022 [2 favorites]


While the original sourcing is vague, Quasi's Poisoned Well is thought to be a comment on the aforementioned Elliott Smith's relationship with addiction and other people.

You only hurt the ones you love, that may be true, but better said, you only hurt the one who loves you.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 4:38 PM on October 15, 2022 [3 favorites]


Richard Thompson's Beeswing. I learned this one off Donal Hinely, who's been extremely gracious to me over the years, for no reason I can discern.
posted by sourcequench at 5:08 PM on October 15, 2022


Third Eye Blind - Semi-Charmed Life.
posted by juv3nal at 5:14 PM on October 15, 2022


Medicine - Daughter
posted by ljesse at 5:15 PM on October 15, 2022


The title track from Blue by Joni Mitchell

Drive by the Cars

Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty

I’d Do It All Again by Corinne Bailey Rae

Neon by John Mayer
posted by armeowda at 5:41 PM on October 15, 2022


The album that "Belgian Things" is from, We Shall All Be Healed, is primarily about the time in the lead singer's life when most of his friends were drug addicts, so you may be interested in it in its entirety.

There's also "Song for Dennis Brown" ("It took all the coke in town/to bring down Dennis Brown/on the day my lung collapses/we'll see just how much it takes").
posted by praemunire at 8:06 PM on October 15, 2022 [1 favorite]


Oh, and "Waiting for the Man," originally by the Velvet Underground, covered memorably by Bowie.
posted by praemunire at 8:07 PM on October 15, 2022


Marie by The Supersuckers
posted by zombiedance at 9:54 PM on October 15, 2022


Blue - Joni Mitchell
posted by an opinicus at 1:05 AM on October 16, 2022


Hootie & The Blowfish - Let Her Cry
posted by james33 at 4:53 AM on October 16, 2022


Fast Car -- Tracy Chapman
posted by changeling at 9:26 AM on October 16, 2022


Steve Earle - Goodbye

(Emmylou Harris does a great version, too)
posted by Bron at 9:30 AM on October 16, 2022


Fire and Rain, James Taylor
posted by j810c at 10:31 AM on October 16, 2022


Lua, by Bright Eyes
My Drug Buddy, by Lemonheads
posted by baseballpajamas at 12:33 PM on October 16, 2022


Get Better, Frank Turner.
posted by dreamphone at 5:15 PM on October 16, 2022


Stoneface by Veruca Salt.

Didn't notice I was gone
Cause you were tying up your arm…

[…]
And when it comes right down to it
I'm gonna run right back to him
I want a peace mapped out with him
Cuz I really love his stoneface oh

posted by ejs at 9:05 PM on October 16, 2022


Mothers little helper, Rolling Stones
posted by hortense at 9:52 PM on October 16, 2022


"Served Faithfully" from Ani Difranco, maybe.

and maybe "Mad Mission" from Patty Griffin? Less on-the-nose than some of these other excellent suggestions.

Maybe these are more about troubled relationships with troubled people, and there happens to be booze involved.
posted by adekllny at 5:20 AM on October 17, 2022


I lost my sister to her alcohol addiction, and the song that always comes and gets me is Fire Away by Dawes. Here's the album track, and a live version.
posted by AgentRocket at 7:19 AM on October 17, 2022 [2 favorites]


"Essence" - Lucinda Williams

"She Talks to Angels" - The Black Crowes

"Red River" - Rocky Votolato
posted by easy, lucky, free at 3:56 PM on October 20, 2022


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