Why is it you always think right after you’ve smoked a joint that the best songs will just pop into your head? Is smoke entering your lungs the equivalent of putting a quarter in a Jukebox? Well, I have a hard truth to put on you, my friend… high radio always sucks! You always get the words wrong, and that’s if you even manage to remember any words in the first place. You get the music scrambled up, too (Jay-Z followed by Creedence Clearwater Revival may sound intriguing on paper; but in practice, it’s pretty bad). And not to mention you’re liable to forget the entire song mid-chorus, leaving you sad, confused, and lacking purpose. Your best bet is to skip high radio altogether and listen to these ten great stoner albums. I see the anticipation in your eyes that says “I’m ready” or “I’m hungry” (I can never tell those apart). So, let’s kick out the jams and get started on our musical journey.
Grateful Dead: American Beauty. Imagine having a 42-minute jam session with your friends, but you don’t totally suck and get the neighbors mad at you. With its loose groves, and free flowing song structure, plus abundance of good vibes, it’s not hard to see why you’d put this record up as soon as you spark up.
Dr. Dre: The Chronic. This record has everything. The most gangsteree, gangster music you’re likely to ever hear. Beats so infectious that if you don’t bop your head, there’s something clinically wrong with you. There’s protest music (this was made after the L.A riots), and to top it all off, there’s the universal apperceptive song Gin and Juice. I mean, what’s not to like?
Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon. I can’t really explain this album. It laughs in the face of description, but I’ll give it a shot— space music for when astronauts are swallowed by the darkness of the moon, but return enlightened more than ever before. Basically, David Gilmour creeps into your soul.
Sublime: 40oz. to Freedom. As I’m writing this, a day has passed since the 25th Anniversary of Sublime’s third album, the self-titled Sublime (I just had to mention it— I’m a sucker for serendipity). Containing quiet ska jams as well as raucous reggae guaranteed to get any party going, 40oz. to Freedom is a downright classic that also has the honored distinction of showing us that inside a 40oz. lies one’s freedom (and here I always thought it was just a hangover in a bottle).
Wu-Tang Clan: Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). What can you possibly dislike about this album? It’s got such hard-hitting grimy beats you feel like you have to take a long shower after putting your headphones down. Eight razor-sharp lyricists with distinct rhymes and personalities on the mic that no one can remember the names of (you can remember like three, and that’s just because they’re acronyms like RZA, GZA, ODB. You know there’s still five other members, right?). And simply some of the best songs, rap or otherwise, ever recorded. If you’re feeling like a killer bee after smoking a tree, go for it!
Bob Marley & the Wailers: Kaya. People always think of Bob Marley as this big weed guy (which he certainly was), and this album is his ode to Mary Jane. A definite departure from Marley and the Wailers’ previous more militant works, these jams are as laid back as laid back can be with songs talking about peace, love, and of course, marijuana. So, get a spliff and get to jamming the way Mr. Marley intended.
Miles Davis: Bitches Brew. No words, just the absorbing sounds of Miles Davis’ trumpet taking you to another dimension. The title track Bitches Brew is a whopping 27 minutes. But if you’re in the mood to get into a weed coma and just drift through the sounds Mr. Davis provides for you, I can certainly think of worse ways to spend an afternoon.
Santana: Abraxas. If you feel like getting your mind positively melted by Latin rock grooves, this record provides for quite the treat. With Carlos Santana’s razor-sharp licks that are so on point, it feels like lasers hitting your eardrums to Gregg Rolie’s smooth vocals. Everything adds up to make you feel like you’re having a psychedelic experience, and that’s not a bad thing at all.
Funkadelic: Maggot Brain. Imagine traveling through space on an intragastric spacecraft fueled by funky heart-pounding beats and smooth grooves shaped like an old-school Fender Stratocaster as it spreads its message of cool throughout the entirety of the known universe. That’s what listening to this album is like.
T. Rex: Electric Warrior. I’ve loved this album ever since I heard Marc Bolan sing about Dr. Strange on Cosmic Dancer (the man had good taste in superheroes, what more can I say?). Yet, beyond that lies one of the most toe-tapping yet chill albums the 1970s produced. And that’s saying something— the 70s were a crazy time musically. On second thought, the 70s were a crazy time period. If you’re looking to travel back to a time of glitz and glam where rock stars wearing platform shoes was part of the norm, I can’t give you the secret to time travel. But I can hand you a hypothetical joint, share with you this album, and send you on your way.
I hope you enjoy the tunes. They’re tried and true classics that will last longer than a billion blunts. Remember to stay away from high radio and put these on instead. At least when you spin one of these records, you’ll know when the music is playing and when it’s stopped (Dark Side of the Moon aside).