Music Monday: Anti-Drug Songs Which Weren't THAT Bad

by Scott Lydon

It's Music Monday! Today we're rewinding to a dark period in rock history: the time when everyone was recording their anti-drug songs. Even though most of them were awful, a few gems shine out as decent. Come on in to find five songs that fit the theme, some conversation, and a link to our weekly Spotify playlist.

We're not saying drugs are great, but we are saying that most anti-drug songs are terrible. Musicians are mostly good at catchy tunes, but when they start talking about laws and philosophy… well, not everyone can be a Bob Dylan. Even still, there are a few anti-drug songs that really do advance the genre, and Scott's going to tell you what he thinks they are below. Remember that some of them will be edgy in order to reach "the kids" and as such, may be not safe for work!

Now, before we jump into things, remember our weekly Spotify playlist will be featuring a great selection from last week's Music Monday comments. The theme of the mix this time is Best Dad Songs in tribute of Father's Day. Hope all you dads had a good one! But before we remember last week, let's check out our current Music Monday below.

Fishbone - Pray To The Junkie Maker slightly NSFW lyrics

Yeah, okay, the lyrics are sort of inane, but that music is funkay. And at least Fishbone doesn't go off on a tangent about what Senators should be doing in their spare time. They just tell it like it is, drop some horns, and move on. A fine lesson in how to address any serious issue through song. The music should always come first!

Velvet Underground - Heroin

Lou Reed, of course, got to see the effects of heroin well before most rock stars even knew what it was. This catchy song has some pretty sad lyrics if you care to listen, and even though it's good music, it sure isn't positive. Really listen to the words and you're not gonna think "wow, that sounds like a fun way to spend a weekend!"

Grandmaster Flash - White Lines

It's clear this "discussion" about the dark side of cocaine is meant to be anti-drug, but since you'll still hear this at parties even today… should it count? I think yes, because it's pretty much a song about ending a long-term relationship. It's just that this particular special someone is a drug. Like all breakups, you'll first remember the magic, and only later remember how your ex drained your bank account and left you for dead in an alley. If you've ever gotten back together with an old flame only to say "What was I thinking?" a week later, then you'll understand how this song can be both cheerful and cautionary at the same time.

Curtis Mayfield - Pusherman maybe NSFW lyrics

I'm of the opinion that Curtis Mayfield could have written a song explaining the times for his neighborhood's weekly garbage pickup and it still would have been amazing, so no one should be surprised he's here on my list. Pusherman also deals with the same streets Lou Reed saw, just from a different racial perspective. Even though it's musically beautiful and much loved by others, it still paints a pretty scary picture of what power drugs hold.

Tin Machine - Crack City solidly NSFW language

Whatever, haters, this song has David Bowie talking about drugs using vulgarity that would be at home on an elementary school playground. I say that's genius, especially since the man did so much of everything that he can't remember about a half-decade of his life. Who better to warn us of the terrible "how-how-hounds of paranoia" some new user might face?

Dig up your favorite anti-drug hits and drop 'em in the comments below. Bonus points if you throw in a few words about why you love them most. Then, once you get your fix, hit the Turntable.fm room for our regular Music Monday experience. Need we remind you that images come from their corresponding Wikipedia page and are here under fair use? And remember, winners don't use drugs.