There’s a long history of stoner songs. Pink Floyd is the most obvious example of what could be considered “stoner music,” and more recently, Radiohead have joined the same foggy pantheon. I enjoy these artists, but I figured it was time to include some songs you probably wouldn’t have found on your own. So, here are ten new additions to help you enjoy your high:
1) “We Used to Wait” – Arcade Fire
Why It’s A Great Stoner Song: “We Used to Wait” starts with a simple, pounding, insistent piano beat. It runs the entire duration of the song, forming the foundation upon which all the other auditory layers build. That consistency acts as the perfect tether as you let your mind wander in the expansive sounds that come later in the song. Then, at the 2:13 mark (and again at the 3:14 mark), the song explodes like a small galaxy bursting in your mind. The lyrics reminiscence about an earlier time, when things were simpler, which acts as the perfect springboard to an evening of glazed reflection.
When To Listen: After your high has kicked in, but before it has fully taken over.
2) “Jets” – Blur
Why It’s A Great Stoner Song: Blur were best known in the ‘90s for making bouncy sing-a-long songs that helped usher in the era of Britpop. When they embraced African music on their 2003 album Think Tank, the sound was jarring in comparison to previous works. But “Jets” is a perfect lazy jam, full of percussive elements and a rolling beat for six and a half minutes. The lyrics merely consist of the repeated line, “jets are like comets at sunset,” which is a stoner sentiment if there ever was one.
When To Listen: When you’re lying on a blanket at the park, about two hours before the sun starts to dip in the sky.
3) “Colours” – Graffiti6
Why It’s A Great Stoner Song: If “Jets” is the beginning of a lazy evening in the park, then “Colours” is the twilight of that experience. The song sounds like lying on the grass, without a care in the world, as the sun sets below the horizon. Singer Jamie Scott croons that he’s “seeing colors, floating through [his] mind.” It’s likely you’ll do the same, to this song.
When To Listen: The end of a perfect blissed-out day at the park.
4) “The Wilhelm Scream” – James Blake
Why It’s A Great Stoner Song: James Blake is an interesting artist. Beloved by critics, hipsters, and Kanye West, but nowhere near the mainstream, Blake makes rich, layered music with weird sound effects. “The Wilhelm Scream” has distorted vocals, perfectly foggy and dense atmospherics, and the kind of lazy, repeated lyrics (”I don’t know about my dreams…”) that make this stoner nirvana.
When To Listen: After your high has fully kicked in and you want to feel like you’re floating through an ocean of clouds.
5) “White Shadows” – Coldplay
Why It’s A Great Stoner Song: Coldplay make surprisingly good stoner music, although this song from X&Y is not an obvious selection. “White Shadows” fires on a lot of sonic cylinders; accordingly, it can initially sound overwhelming when you’re stoned. However, the song also has a weird, underlying urgency that takes the listener on a journey. For me, it’s like I’m being transported through time and space, letting my mind float around in the cosmos. When the song slows down to just an organ (fittingly enough, at the 4:20 mark), it feels like the end of an epic journey. This is my all-time favorite 420 jam.
When To Listen: If you want to go on a “journey” while you’re stoned.
6) “Processed Beats” – Kasabian
Why It’s A Great Stoner Song: Kasabian’s debut album was basically one giant stoner album. And its third single, “Processed Beats”, embodies the classic stoner-sound the best. Psychedelic and almost shamanistic in both style and lyrical content, it sounds like having your mind expanded by your very first toke.
When To Listen: You’re stoned but also feeling a little bit dance-y.
7) “Wichita Lineman Was a Song I Once Heard” – The KLF
Why It’s A Great Stoner Song: Subversive pranksters The KLF released a lot of crazy songs in their short career, but this one is odd, even for them. A cut from their ambient classic Chill Out, the song is seemingly randomly spliced with beautiful synths, samples of a Deep South preacher’s sermon, and an occasional booming word from singer, Bill Drummond. The end result is a confusing, but ultimately rewarding track; you won’t understand what’s going on, but that’s the point.
When To Listen: When you want to lose yourself in random sounds and textures.
8) “Teardrop” – Massive Attack
Why It’s A Great Stoner Song: Massive Attack have always made brilliantly atmospheric and moody songs; naturally, a number of their songs make for great stoner selections. But “Teardrop” is slightly more red-eyed than their other works. It’s a trip hop song featuring ethereal vocals from Elizabeth Fraser from the Cocteau Twins, and a drum track that resembles a human heartbeat. The trippy video, featuring a human fetus in the womb, is the perfect visual to go along with the song.
When To Listen: When you are high as fuck and you feel like you need to bring it down a notch.
9) “Porcelain” – Moby
Why It’s A Great Stoner Song: Moby made a name for himself at the turn of the millennium with his inspired use of sampling and his multi-textured sounds on his surprisingly commercial Play album. One of the standout tracks was “Porcelain.” A serene ambient song with a tinkling piano and Moby’s distorted vocals, “Porcelain” is the perfect chill out track…until the 2:01 mark, when Moby bitterly (and beautifully) sings, “tell the truth, you never wanted me…” If you’re feeling lonely and just need someone to get your pain, this is the song to puff to.
When To Listen: When you’re feeling sad and lonely, and/or you just need a good cry.
10) “I’m Outta Time” – Oasis
Why It’s A Great Stoner Song: Oasis might seem like an unusual artist to have on a stoner playlist as their songs are usually of the rock and roll or ballad variety. But this Liam Gallagher-penned tune from the end of Oasis’ career swirls with a psychedelic edge not normally found in their music. Notably, the song features a John Lennon sample, and the music video is great. Oasis fractured shortly after this song; the subsequent off-shoot bands also released at least one great stoner song as well (“Don’t Brother Me” by Beady Eye and “Stop the Clocks” by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds).
When To Listen: When you need a British stoner lullaby.
(featured image via Gonzalo Baeza)