The 10 Coolest, Scariest, Freakiest Songs About Heroin
Sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. It's in many ways the enduring holy trinity of pop music. Like it or not -- we're not advocating anything -- drugs are responsible for lots of great songwriting. So every Friday in August, we're going to take a look at the impact of drugs on popular music.
A quick recap of the lesson learned from Requiem for a Dream and Trainspotting: Heroin is bad news. The drug has claimed the lives of too many young actors and musicians, and often the particularly brilliant ones. The danger is part of the allure, and that said, heroin is responsible for plenty of fascinating art, so we took on the arduous task of narrowing this list down to 10 incredible songs about heroin (in no particular order).
The Velvet Underground- Heroin
Heroin, be the death of me
Heroin, it's my wife and it's my life
Because a mainer to my vein
Leads to a center in my head
And then I'm better off and dead
Let's kick it off with an obvious choice. Lou Reed gives us a feel for what it's like to be high on heroin, and the experience of buying it in "Waiting for the Main." The song is absolutely terrifying, moving from a glory blurry haze to a cacophonous, apocalyptic breakdown, as Reed shouts, "I guess that I just don't know." Then, it slides back, for a moment into that idyllic lull. Harrowing!
Lou Reed- Perfect Day
Oh it's such a perfect day,
I'm glad I spent it with you.
The guy had a subject, and he stuck to it. Here, Lou examines the more pastoral vibe of the drug. After all, it wasn't kinda awesome, why would anyone do it. Reed has a fantastic day drinking sangria in the park and feeding animals in the zoo with his good ol' pal heroin.
Pink Floyd- Comfortably Numb
There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship's smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move
But I can't hear what you're saying
The clips from The Wall in this video are pretty terrifying. I mean, c'mon, let the poor kid keep his rat. Believe it or not, they make great pets. At least we can guess from the lyrics that the guy passed out isn't in any pain...or so we hope, until he starts to rot.
Ministry- Just One Fix
Blood keeps drinking away
Certain of it's destination
Driving through New Orleans at night
Gotta find a destination
Just one fix
You know you've got a legit heroin song when beat poet/legendary drug explorer/all-around-interesting-fella William S. Burroughs makes an appearance in your video. (Which is chock full of scary shit.)
GG Allin- Carmelita
Carmelita hold me tighter
I think I'm sinking down
And I'm all strung out on heroin
On the outskirts of town
GG covers this Warren Zevon classic with a heroin needle sticking out of his guitar. His self-destruction was always more theatrical than Zevon's, but if you can look past the shock schtick, there's a pained sincerity to what he did. Bur seriously, you gotta look past a lot of awful shit: He planned on committing suicide on stage, but an overdose ended up getting to him first.