Ask stoners what their favorite bands are and you’re bound to get some repeat responses. Everyone’s got their unique favorites, but most of us also love what I call the “Stoner Standards”: those artists who every pothead with a guitar covers constantly. Yep, we’ve all got our Led Zeppelin and our Bob Dylan and our Jimi Hendrix. But you won’t see any of them on this list. These five albums are a bit off the stereotypical path. Plus, each is picked with a particular “type” of smoker in mind. So sit back, roll a joint, and kick out the jams with me…
#1 – “Surrealistic Pillow” by Jefferson Airplane
For: Hippie/’60s counter-culture stoner
Jefferson Airplane’s second album, released in 1967, contains several of their most popular songs. “White Rabbit” was famously featured in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. That song a stoner favorite due to its driving beat and lyrical Alice in Wonderland/drug use references. “Surrealistic Pillow” has a sound the drug culture gravitates to.
This album has a good mix of counter-culture anthems and laid-back jams, making it an awesome soundtrack for blazing up and talking about revolution.
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#2 – “Constant Struggle” by Mystic Roots
For: “Remember that one time we got high…” stoners
A couple years back, I heard about the Mystic Roots after being sent a YouTube video of their song “Pass the Marijuana.” That song quickly became a staple in my playlists. The Chico, CA-based band released this album back in 1999 and has been confused with Sublime by many YouTube users.
Stoners who love being stoners will dig every track on this record. They’re all weed-centric in one way or another and set to chilled-out reggae and ska jams.
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#3 – “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis
For: “Intellectual”/Beat stoners
There’s a reason joints used to be called “jazz cigarettes.” The popular image of Beats is a bunch of sharply dressed folks in smoky jazz clubs. Well, it wasn’t cigarette smoke that filled those dark rooms–the Beats were smoking weed, and a lot of it. Cannabis has a tight bind with jazz history, especially during the bop era. And when you listen to it with that in mind, it’s easy to hear the influence.
“Kind of Blue” is the quintessential Miles Davis album, and is a fantastic album to listen to while you’re high. It’s complex music, to be sure–but once you understand what’s going on, it’s captivating.
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#4 – “Oracular Spectacular” by MGMT
For: Hipster stoners
Put on your tight jeans and beard and dance party to one of 2007’s breakout albums. “Oracular Spectacular” features driving beats, funky bass lines and electrifying riffs and vocals seemingly inspired by both disco and indie rock. It’s a fun album to dance to with friends or alone.
And if you’re too high to get up off the couch, this album has some nice songs to chill to, as well.
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#5 – “Takk…” by Sigur Rós
For: “Woah…” stoners
This quartet from Iceland makes some beautifully ambient music that plenty of smokers adore. Many of their songs feature lyrics in a nonsense language called “Vonlenska” (or, in English, “Hopelandic,”) which makes the vocals stand out as instruments rather than as vehicles for messages and poetry. And that makes Sigur Rós’ music a great backing track for those stoney, deep-thinking highs.
“Takk…” has some pretty atmospheric songs, ranging from playful to “epic”. If you like to watch the visualizer on iTunes, this is a great album for you.
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When it comes to music and marijuana, there’s a lot of ground to cover. If you like something when you’re not high, you’ll probably like it more when you are high, so lists of “stoner music” often have an odd variety of artists and genres. These are some of my favorites.
Tell me about your list. What do you listen to when you light up, Denver?