Ode To Sobriety

A song that inverts Ode to Intoxication, sometimes softly, sometimes far more harshly. These usually come in one of three forms:

The "Deconstructed Ode to Intoxication" Ode To Sobriety would be an Ode to Intoxication except the song is about the singer's (or writer's) near-death from an OD, an addiction he or she actually wants to escape or has gone into treatment for, about someone's suicide from alcohol and/or drugs, or about anything else that is about the less fun side of intoxication.

The "Drugs Are Bad" Ode To Sobriety is usually engaged in by Straight Edge bands or artists, though others can occasionally do it (a common instance with non Straight Edge artists is generally focused on a specific substance). As opposed to the ambivalent, bitter reflections of the Deconstructed Ode to Intoxication, it is simply Drugs Are Bad as a song. It's a condemnation/callout of a specific substance and/or its users, and/or of alcohol or drug use in general.

The "Glad To Be Sober" Ode To Sobriety results from an artist successfully overcoming an addiction or quitting an abusive pattern of alcohol or drug use — and writing a song about how good being sober and free of said addiction is. It differs from the bitter Deconstructed Ode to Intoxication in that it's a Lighter and Softer topic (e.g. happiness about a drug-free life) as opposed to a Grim Dark one (e.g. about almost dying from an OD) and from the Drugs Are Bad song in that it's not a rant about how bad drugs are.

Given human nature, many an Ode To Sobriety is sung as a Drunken Song. (The Irish folk song "The Wild Rover"—about a man giving up his wild drinking ways—is very popular in pubs.)


Deconstructed Ode to Intoxication
  • "I Want To Be Straight" by Ian Dury And The Blockheads — could be this, could be parody.
  • "The High Cost Of Living" by Jamey Johnson.
  • "Sunday Morning Coming Down" by Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash.
  • "Kickstart My Heart" by Mötley Crüe. Also a classic example of Lyrical Dissonance — it's about Nikki Sixx's near-death via OD.
    • Speaking of Nikki Sixx, just about every song in the album Heroin Diaries from his side project Sixx AM is this. To be expected, however, because it is all about his heroine addiction and recovery during the 80's.
  • "Sold Some Attitude" by hide doesn't seem to make sense at all until viewed from the perspective of amphetamine psychosis. It then becomes Through the Eyes of Madness and very much Harsher in Hindsight.
  • "Sober" by P!nk.
  • "Wine Into Water" by T. Graham Brown.
  • "The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me!)" by Tom Waits from Small Change.
  • "Wasted" by Carrie Underwood.
  • "For The Love Of A daughter" by Demi Lovato, about her biological fathers alcoholism pleading with him to "put the bottle down, for the love of a daughter"
  • "Drinking Song" by Moxy Früvous. It actually starts out seeming like the exact opposite, describing fond memories of hanging around the house and getting drunk with a close friend. Then the tone of the lyrics gradually starts getting darker, and it turns out the friend in question drank himself to death one day, which caused the narrator to quit.
  • "Alcohol" by Barenaked Ladies. It similarly starts sounding like an Ode to Intoxication, until the POV character's intense self-loathing takes the forefront.
  • Fellow Canadians Spirit Of The West, after drinking themselves through a tour of England, want to go "Home For A Rest"
  • "Too Drunk to Fuck" by Dead Kennedys is a slightly more comical example.
  • Eric Clapton's cover of JJ Cale's song Cocaine.
  • The Beautiful South's "Liars' Bar" which serves "rum by the kettledrum, whisky by the jar" and has the sort of clientele which encourage sobriety - even if you don't take them as a horrible warning, then certainly so you don't have to hang out with them.
  • "Mr. Booze" by Bing Crosby and others.
  • Foster The People's "Helena Beat" is pretty easy to miss as one of these at first, but it's about the denial addicts tend to exhibit; the refrain implies the narrator is so drunk and/or high that he has to tie his hands to a chair to keep from falling over, completely ignoring that his inability to stay upright indicates a much deeper problem.
  • Beartooth's "I Have A Problem" has the vocalists admitting that he has a drinking problem, and screaming to God for help.
  • Green Day's "Geek Stink Breath", about a meth addict whose life is going down.
  • Sia's "Chandelier" starts off with a party girl bragging about her hard drinking ways. But halfway through the chorus, it turns dark and the party girl sings about how she's just "holding on". The second verse has her hungover.
  • Melle Mel's "White Lines (Don't Don't Do It)" was originally written as a sarcastic Ode to Intoxication about cocaine, but ultimately the anti-drug message was made more blatant due to commercial considerations. This is probably why it alternates lyrics about how good the drug can make you feel ("white lines, visions dreams of passion") with ones about how dangerous it is ("Either up your nose or through your vein /With nothin' to gain, except killin' your brain")
  • "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan, an elegy written after the heroin overdose death of The Smashing Pumpkins' keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin.
  • "Honey, I'm Good." by Andy Grammer, with the singer saying he could have a drink, but he'd rather not or else he might cheat on his partner, but that it won't be hard for the girl at the bar to find some other drunk fool to take home.

Drugs Are Bad Glad To Be Sober