Where there be drugs, there be songs. The Velvets will rhapsodize their smack, Redman will tell you How to Roll A Blunt… musicians just can’t help writing odes to the junk that messes ’em up. But where is the Meth songbook? The charts aren’t exactly packed with serenades to the meth experience. Maybe crystal doesn’t have the same rock n’ roll cache enjoyed by your cocaines and your heroins (facial scabs and bad teeth don’t get you a Rolling Stone cover). But by some estimates, the speedy little crystal is America’s third favorite drug (after booze and weed). So let’s give meth its moment in the musical sun. We did some digging and found the 10 best songs to enjoy whenever you want to kick back, smoke rock and break very bad.
See also: Breaking Bad’s Best Musical Moments
Rufus Wainwright “Go or Go Ahead” Who knew you could write a sweet, slow ballad after being up for three days on a meth binge (a fact admitted to by the man himself)? Maybe Wainwright broke through the tweaky paranoia barrier and found the zen-like calm at the end of the meth rainbow? Or maybe he was just out of his tree and got very lucky.
Korn “Helmet in the Bush” You should sit down before we give you this shocking news, but… Korn have smoked their share of meth. And this little ditty is without doubt the best song ever written about how difficult it is to get an erection after smoking a big bowl of Dirty Tina. “Helmet in the Bush”: we clear on that image? The helmet refers to the tip of a male meth smoker’s penis. The bush is his public hair.
The Mountain Goats “Letter From Belgium” What Bob Marley is to weed, surely the Mountain Goats are to meth. Heck, they wrote a whole album (We Shall All Be Healed) about a group of friends addicted to crystal in the meth-addicted musician’s spiritual capital: Portland, Oregon. Yeah we’re all here chewing our tongues off/ Waiting for the fever to break , sings John Darnielle on this track, and who hasn’t felt that way on something they shouldn’t have taken so much of?
EyeHateGod “Methamphetamine” Yeah, this one’s about meth.
The Fugs “New Amphetamine Shriek” You don’t get many cool-points for smoking a big bag of crank. No one will think you’re a bohemian, they’ll think you’re a loser. But even anti-war 60’s psych-rock pioneers The Fugs liked to lose a few days grinding their teeth and twitching every now and then. Tell the drug-snobs to stick THAT in their pipe and smoke it. Right after you use it to smoke all the meth.
Primus “(Those) Damn Blue Collar Tweekers” Les Claypool sings this anthem to hard-working, hard-smoking tradesmen who throw up sheet-rock for 16 hours straight, and barely feel the nails they accidentally shoot into their hands. Be grateful to them: their shoddy but rapid workmanship is the reason your landlord could poorly refurbish your apartment for eight dollars and then overcharge you for a “completely renovated” space.
Scissor Sisters “Return to Oz” Who would have thought the Scissor Sisters would pen the most high-minded meth song out there? Lyrically comparing the Wizard of Oz story to the meth addiction that claimed many a gay club kid in the early 2000s, you can kind of hear Jake Shears’ heart break as he tells us “what once was Emerald City is now a Crystal Town.”
Third-Eye Blind “Semi-Charmed Life” The classic, maybe even the ultimate meth song. The track even got a bunch of major FM airplay, and “The Man” even forced the band to bleep out the words “crystal meth” on the radio edit. This ensured EVERYBODY knew the song was about meth, as opposed to Third-Eye Blind’s small, committed, meth-smoking fan base.
Bruce Springsteen “Sinaloa Cowboys” Leave it to the great blue collar balladeer to point out a subtle economic truth: cooking meth pays way better than farm work. You wouldn’t think so, but Miguel the Mexican laborer finds out the easy way: by cooking up a bunch of meth. But then the lab explodes and kills his brother. Bummer. It gives and it takes, this crystal thing.
Green Day “Geek Stink Breath” These were the good old days for Billy Joe Armstrong. Before his much publicized alcohol and prescription pill problems, the Green Day front man only had a meth problem to worry about.
Harry “The Hipster” Gibson “Who Put the Benzedrine in Mrs. Murphy’s Ovaltine?” A deep cut from way back in meth music history, Harry Gibson was getting ripped off his tits and playing eight straight piano gigs a night while your grandpa was still in short pants. Benzedrine is chemically extremely similar to methamphetamine, and was not only used by soldiers in WWII and Vietnam, but gets name-checked in On the Road and Howl. See kids? Meth is old school cool.