I'm a meth head
I'm a meth
I'm a meth head
I'm a meth
I'm a meth head"
Sex, drugs, and rock n' roll. This trope is about that second one.note
Of the many possible topics a song can be about,one popular choice is addiction. This isn't too surprising since recreational drug use is fairly common in certain musical circles, and therefore addiction tends to follow and have an impact, in some form, on a lot of song writer's lives.
This trope covers songs about addiction. Whether that means the negative effects of addiction, the story of someone who is addicted, or just about how it feels to be addicted, this trope applies.
Keep in mind that, while this article mostly discusses drug addiction, there are many other forms of addiction, like alcohol, sex, and more, that are all equally valid candidates for this trope.
Compare Love Is a Drug, which uses addiction as a metaphor for love, mostly in songs.
Drowning My Sorrows may also appear in these songs.
- The proto-alternative rockers, Velvet Underground, were also one of the first bands to address IV drug addiction, in "I'm Waiting for the Man", "White Light/White Heat", and of course "Heroin".
- Inspired by the latter song above, The Ramones released "Chinese Rocks", about heroin addiction. Dee Dee Ramone, the primary composer, sadly was writing from personal experience.
- Red Hot Chili Peppers' song "Under the Bridge" is about lead singer Anthony Kiedis' narcotics addiction and its impact on his life, with the song's title being in reference to a bridge in Southern LA where he used to buy drugs and the lyrics "I don't ever want to feel / Like I did that day" being a reference to the low points his addiction brought him.
- Lit: The band's singer has stated that, if Miserable is not interpreted as an anti-love song, it could also be about addiction. The fact that the "woman" (who, in the music video is represented by Pamela Anderson/Vallery Irons) is described as using up his friends and plans, yet she still "means everything (to him)", and the fact that in the end of the video she devours him support this alternative interpretation.
- "Not An Addict" by Ks Choice has the verses seemingly extol the virtues of using drugs while the chorus has the singer denying being an addict (as the title suggests) but suggesting she's probably lying.
- "Rush" by Depeche Mode was based on lead vocalist Dave Gahan's heroin addiction, which was one of several factors influencing the album's unusually Darker and Edgier content (even by the famously dour band's standards).
- Despite its very upbeat sound, an easily missed lyric in Third Eye Blind's "Semi-Charmed Life" indicates it's about crystal meth addiction.
The sky was gold, it was rose
I was taking sips of it through my nose
And I wish I could get back there, some place back there
Smiling in the pictures you would take
Doing crystal meth will lift you up until you break
It won't stop, I won't come down
I keep stock with a tick-tock rhythm
A bump for the drop and then I bumped up
I took the hit that I was given, then I bumped again
I bumped again
- Alice in Chains had several songs that touched on drug use and the damage done, with some directly addressing addiction itself, such as "Junkman" which is from the perspective of someone who both deals and uses ("What's my drug of choice? / Well, what have you got? / I don't go broke / And I do it a lot") and "Godsmack", which is about reacting negatively to someone who's become a heroin addict ("What in God's name have you done? / Stick your arm for some real fun", "For the horse you've grown much fonder / Than for me, that I don't ponder").
- "Drink" by The Happy Fits, which is about alcoholism.
- "Monkey on Your Back" by Clinic. "No-one knows how your monkey grows..."
- "We Used To Vacation" by Cold War Kids is about a man desperately trying to fight his alcoholism for the sake of his family.
I promised to my wife and childrenI'd never touch another drink as long as I liveBut even then, it sounds so soothingTo mix a gin and sink into oblivion
- "Hand of Doom" by Black Sabbath is a song about a soldier spiraling into drug addiction to cope with PTSD from The Vietnam War, then eventually dying of an overdose.
First it was the bomb, Vietnam napalm
Disillusioning, you push the needle in
From life you escape, reality's that way
Colours in your mind, satisfy in time
- "Weird Al" Yankovic has a song, "Addicted to Spuds" about being addicted to potatoes and potato-based products. It's a parody of Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love" (which, despite the title, is not itself about addiction).
- "A Little Chunk of Hope" by Jack Stauber. The video is packed to the brim with pills and bottles, and the meaning is clear.
- "Chandelier" by Sia is sung from the perspective of a "party girl" describing her drunken antics (including swinging from the chandelier). She also admits she's "just holding on".
- "Morphine" by Michael Jackson is about, well, morphine addiction; the song's meaning was given a greater amount of context after Jackson's death in 2009, when it became apparent that he had been constantly addicted to prescription painkillers since a freak accident on the set of a Pepsi commercial in 1984, in which a pyrotechnic effect went off too early and set Jackson's hair on fire, severely burning his scalp.
- "Monkey" by George Michael is his metaphor of drug addiction being like "a monkey on your back".
- "Can't Feel My Face" by The Weeknd, which compares cocaine addiction to a destructive relationship with a woman. The title refers to the facial numbness experienced after snorting the drug.
And I know she'll be the death of me
At least we'll both be numb
And she'll always get the best of me
The worst is yet to come
All the misery was necessary when we're deep in love
This I know, girl, I know
- "Don't Leave Home" by Dido is sung from the point of view of the actual drug as it completely takes over someone's life, convincing them it's all they need.
- "Just to Get High" by Nickelback talks about watching someone's downward spiral into drug addiction.
- "White Lines" by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five is all over the disparity in sentencing between wealthy white people who get busted with cocaine and working-class or poor Black people convicted of the same (or lesser) crimes, and the ravages the drug does to the user's sanity, bank account, and health. Duran Duran covered it after the band sobered up from their own awful struggles with cocaine as it was the biggest "fuck you" song about it they could find.
- Afroman's "Because I Got High" is a humorous take on it, but still details all the things the singer meant to do but didn't because he was too high on pot.
- "Amazing" by Aerosmith was written by Steven Tyler about his struggles with cocaine addiction.
- The entire point of Metallica's "Master of Puppets" is that drugs turn you into a slave and both rule and ruin your life. The majority of the song is from the P.O.V. of the drug itself as it taunts and mocks you, making it very clear who's in charge.
- "That Smell" by Lynyrd Skynyrd is a cautionary song about how dangerous drugs are, with lyrics such as "The smell of death surrounds you" and "Tomorrow might not be there for you". At the time the song was penned, the band was dealing with myriad drug problems, with the impetuous for the song coming from an incident where one of the band's guitarists narrowly survived a car crash while drunk and high; Ronnie Van Zant wrote the song as a warning of the dire consequences of their continued drug abuse.
- "The Needle and the Spoon" is about how using heroin will kill you. Pull quote: "I've seen a lot of people who thought they were cool, But then again, lord I've seen a lot of fools."
- The Needle and the Damage Done by Neil Young is based on the death of his former bandmate Danny Whitten and the scourge of heroin addiction among musicians more broadly.
- "Mother's Little Helper" by The Rolling Stones is about overworked, underappreciated housewives abusing valium, Nembutal, and other prescription drugs.
- "Snowblind" by Styx is about cocaine addiction and was largely based on Tommy Shaw's battle with the drug.
- While its meaning has never fully been made clear, a lot of the lyrics and imagery in the Title Track to David Bowie's Station to Station are visibly based on the effects of chronic cocaine use— Bowie was suffering a psychotic break at the time from a cocaine addiction that had grown exponentially worse throughout the 70's, and footage of him from the peak of his addiction show that he was not in a good place, neither physically nor mentally. Bowie's later song "Ashes to Ashes" covers the same topic, but from a more reflective perspective, seeing as how he had already cleaned up by then.
- Despite being commonly mistaken for this trope, "Comfortably Numb" by Pink Floyd is not about drug addiction, rather being based on an incident where Roger Waters was given tranquilizers to stave off severe stomach pains before a show and spent the whole subsequent two-hour performance hardly able to lift his arm to play the bass. Worth noting however is that keyboardist Richard Wright was badly addicted to cocaine during the album's production, and a number of potshots are taken at his expense (e.g. the "got a grand piano to prop up my mortal remains" line in "Nobody Home"). In the storyline, Pink is given a dose of drugs to get him ready for a show, which messes up the progress he's been making, resulting in the metastasis of his negative emotions into their absolute darkest form.
- John Lennon's "Cold Turkey" is about coming off heroin.