From 'Chitta Ve' To 'Cocaine': When Drugs And Song Get Codependent

04/07/2016 8:28 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST
crowd at a music concert ...

Zindagi thrill hai to

Jiyo jiyo speed vich

Aazadi liberty maza hai saara weed vich

Those are lines from "Chitta Ve", a song from the recently released film Udta Punjab. Each song has some reference or the other to drugs, the main premise of this controversial film. A dialogue in the movie goes, "Zameen banjar, toh aulad kanjar", meaning "When the land is dry, the children go high."

The film shows a rockstar based in Punjab, who writes lyrics that are inspired by the drugs that he consumes. The character is meant to be loosely based on the life of larger-than-life UK-returned rapper Honey Singh. He too, is known to compose lyrics inspired by his fascination for drugs, something that is seen as setting a bad example for the youth of Punjab.

Ab to hans ke bol re chhori

Tere liye ik cheez hun laaya

Dekh ke jisko jhoom padegi

Sar pe tere khoob chadehgi

Haath jodke bas tu baby

Mujhse bas yahi kahegi

These are lines from "Satan", a song Singh released in 2012, the chorus for which goes "Weed pila de sajna."

Musicians composing song lyrics around drugs might be a new concept in India, but it has been a trend in the West for decades.

Jim Morrison was certain of what he was talking about when he repeatedly screamed "Let it roll, baby, roll" in The Doors' song 'Light My Fire'. And he was indeed "stoned immaculate" when he wrote the lines:

...the big beat

Soft driven, slow and mad

Reaching your head with the cold, sudden fury of a divine messenger...

The Beatles were not far behind, and it isn't just a coincidence that 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' can be shortened into the acronym LSD.

Picture yourself in a boat on a river

With tangerine trees and marmalade skies

Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly

A girl with kaleidoscope eyes

You've got to be in another world to think up imagery quite like that!

Jimi Hendrix articulated his "daze" in these lines from "Purple Haze":

Purple haze all in my eyes

Don't know if it's day or night

You got me blowin', blowin' my mind

Is it tomorrow, or just the end of time?

And Eric Clapton made no bones about naming his song "Cocaine":

If you got bad news, you want to kick them blues, cocaine

When your day is done, and you want to run cocaine

Hip-hop artist Afroman doesn't believe in mincing words, and instead describes his experience of taking marijuana (hilariously!) just like it is:

was gonna go to work but then I got high

I just got a new promotion but I got high

Now I'm selling dope and I know why

'Cause I got high

Rock band Guns 'N Roses too made no secret of their heroin addiction, which they expressed in this song called "Mr Brownstone":

I used ta do a little but a little wouldn't do

So the little got more and more

I just keep tryin' ta get a little better

Said a little better than before

It was a little more subtle in "There She Goes" by The La's, but read between the lines and you'll get it:

There she blows

There she blows again

Pulsing through my vein

And I just can't contain

This feelin' that remains

And even though Robert Palmer innocently titled his song "Addicted to Love", he was possibly talking about something else:

You can't sleep, you can't eat

There's no doubt, you're in deep

Your throat is tight, you can't breathe

Another kiss is all you need

Just like Honey Singh, his contemporary American rapper Eminem glorified ecstasy in his song "Purple Pills":

I been to mushroom mountain

Once or twice but who's countin'

But nothing compares

To these blue and yellow purple pills

And finally, there's a favourite of mine -- by U2 --after all, what to do you think 'Elevation' was all about?

I've lost all self-control

Been living like a mole

Now going down, excavation

I and I in the sky

You make me feel like I can fly

So high, elevation

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