It would make any pothead giggle, a Green Issue on 4/20, and if there’s three things stoners love it’s weed, 4/20 references and music. Here are 10 of the best albums to listen to when high.
Eschewing the stereotypical reggae, Bob Marley, Snoop Dogg, Phish and Pink Floyd, this list brings out the other facets of stoney society music: the alternative, the progressive, the indie and the metal.
“Old” by Danny Brown
Danny Brown has been gaining popularity ever since his debut album “Hybrid” and his sophomore endeavor “XXX,” but it was his 2013 release “Old” that really put him in the spotlight.
Sober, this album is great. After medicating with cannabis, this album is amazing. Danny Brown’s distinctive vocal inflections and the work on the production side of things create a perfect mix of throwback hip-hop, party anthems and goofy tracks. It’s tunes like “Dope Fiend Rental,” “Smokin and Drinkin” and “Wonderbread” that give this album the unique and memorable tone that makes this cut an incredible listen to when you’ve got yourself in a “Kush Coma.”
“Evil Urges” by My Morning Jacket
This album is one of my personal favorites to listen to after a long day when you want to relax with a nice hit from your favorite piece. This jam-band from Kentucky knows how to craft an album with catchy melodies, chilled-out instrumentation and grooves that keep you hooked. Tracks like “Highly Suspicious,” “Remnants,” “Two Halves” and “Evil Urges” create a direction for the album that makes MMJ’s “Evil Urges” a great listen after a couple left-handed cigarettes.
“Bon Iver” by Bon Iver
It’s a snowball’s chance in Morocco that you haven’t heard of Bon Iver. If you haven’t, then you are in for a treat.
Bon Iver is the project of Wisconsin-born musician Justin Vernon, who first began Bon Iver in the snowy isolation of a Wisconsin cabin after his place is life turned for the worse and he isolated himself after moving back to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, after living in Richmond, Virginia.
“Bon Iver” is an album that is the culmination of Vernon’s passion, self-doubt, and drive to create art. Highly arranged and produced, but sounding like it could fall apart at any moment, Bon Iver is an album that is a masterpiece and a paragon of creative songwriting that creates delicate songs with a passion and humanity seldom found in many artists these days.
“Bon Iver” is an album to listen to alone or with a couple friends, one that makes you feel something. Try it for the after party when energy is low, and the only thing left to do is smoke until sleep arrives.
“No One’s First, And You’re Next” by Modest Mouse
Modest Mouse normally isn’t a band you’d play at a smoke sesh, let alone on 4/20, but this EP is something different.
Released between “We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank” and “Strangers to Ourselves,” this EP has produced some of Modest Mouse’s most notable recent songs like “Satellite Skin,” “Autumn Beds,” the instrumental jam “The Whale Song” and “King Rat,” whose music video was directed by the late Heath Ledger.
It’s almost ironic how good of a release this EP is, as its track listing is comprised of polished-up B-sides and outtakes by the band off their releases “Good News for People Who Love Bad News” and “We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank.” This release is good to start of your morning as it’s chill but packs enough punch to give you a nice start to your morning on a day such as 4/20.
“Dr. Octagonocologyst” by Dr. Octagon
Throwing it back to the ‘90s, we approach the land of old school hip-hop. We have the album “Dr. Octagonocologyst,” one of the illustrative albums of underground and alternative hip-hop. This album isn’t the typical ‘90s hip-hop album that is chilled out or intense, it’s an album that is defined by Kool Keith’s (Dr. Octagon) flow. It’s tracks like “Earth People,” “Blue Flowers” and “Waiting List” that adds a whimsical and dark humor to the album while keeping chill beats and smooth verses. This album is good for a chill night in with your friends; you can never go wrong with old school hip-hop for a smoke sesh.
“The Grand Experiment” by The Neal Morse Band
Venturing in the world of progressive rock, we have the soaring album of “The Grand Experiment” by The Neal Morse Band. Progressive rock and weed go together like Cheech and Chong, each are good on their own, but their powers combined are things of legends.
“The Grand Experiment” is exactly that — an experiment. This album was written and arranged completely within a studio; there is no prior thought to these songs. Neal Morse just had his band meet and make songs. What resulted is an album that’s almost the epitome of progressive rock.
Complete with drum tracks provided by Dream Theaters’ ex-drummer Mike Portnoy, this album sends you on an epic psychedelic journey with tracks like “The Call,” “Agenda” and “New Jerusalem.” Listen to this album if you want to laugh yourself silly in awe of how awesome and over-the-top it is.
“De-Loused in the Comatorium” by The Mars Volta
Finally, we arrive at “De-Loused in the Comatorium,” the debut by legendary progressive rock band “The Mars Volta.” This album defined what progressive rock is in the 21st century, its complex beats, unique riffs, philosophical lyrics and spontaneous nature is what defines progressive rock in this day and age.
The Mars Volta has sadly disbanded in the past couple years, but their legacy and masterpiece that is “De-Loused” produced defining songs like “Inertiatic ESP,” “Roulette Dares” and “Cicatriz ESP.” The album is a drug in itself, and a beautiful one at that. Listen to this sober or stoned — it will take you on a journey.
Scott Free is a reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @DailyLobo.