Songs That Defines Me: Drug Life (An 11 Song Bio-Playlist)

What follows is about 45 minutes of music that serves as an audio autobiography. Up until now, my Songs That Define Me series has been very general but these represent certain times in my life. So it takes all eleven to make a complete picture. Not that they were recorded at those times but that they represent them. It is in essence the soundtrack to the musical of my life as it relates to drugs. I only post the audio versions with lyrics when I can find them. But if I can’t then I post the lyrics underneath.

So without any further ado. I give you…

DRUG LIFE (An 11 Song Bio-Playlist)

Three Seeds by Silversun Pickups
The movie opens on a boy with a chip on his shoulder. He’s angry at the world but doesn’t really know why. He’s brilliant, if I do say so myself, but he’s in constant pain and in constant fear and still he doesn’t know why. He never learned how to make friends or trust people after years of physical, mental and sexual abuse. And the only advice his mother gives him when sending him off to school is to pretend to be normal. (Yeah that didn’t work). He turns to alcohol. And it makes it possible for him to talk to other people and to make friends. This is the story of his three inner selves: His fearful self, His angry self, and his better self. This is Drug Life.

Remove the bullet from my head
Extracting over confidence
Hidden so easy to pretend
Too bad the rush was found again

I can see the pictures on the floor
Sketches of what was there before
Three came from one little seed
The last one is all I need

I can see the bottle on the ground
We turned the corner safe and sound
No thought of him as it was done
A clean execution
A clean execution

Cool like the ocean
Burned like a summer home
Fooled by the notion
That the sums don’t add up at all

There’s the line that is leading clearly feeding
All the things I don’t believe in
But I’ll step in once again
Cut in line to get closer to the
Source of all the things I’ll never belong to
Step it up and sign right in again

Cool like the ocean
Burned like a summer home
Fooled by the notion
That the sums don’t add up at all

Cool like the ocean
Burned like a summer home
Fooled by the notion
That the sums don’t add up at all
That the sums never add up at all
That the sums don’t add up at all…

Swimming Pools (Drank) by Kendrick Lamar

Our hero begins drinking in High School. He carries a little bottle of Jack Daniels around in his jacket pocket from the age of 15. In those days liquor stores didn’t card. They just looked you up and down. All you needed was strength of purpose. By that time he had been through some abuse and it showed on his face. They weren’t gonna deny him anything. Most people looked in his eyes, full of pain, worry and grief, and simply came to the obvious conclusion, “This man needs a drink.”

Washing of the Water by Peter Gabriel
But when High School ends he withdraws from the world. Riding around on the subway all night. Going to night-school in the afternoons. Working in the day as a messenger. Always drinking. drinking. drinking. Riding a river of fear to a sea of pain. His life becomes a river of darkness flowing into a sea of loneliness. A river of alcohol to a sea of… alcohol.

River, river, carry me on
Living river, carry me on
River, river, carry me on
To the place where I come from

So deep, so wide, will you take me on your back for a ride
If I should fall, would you swallow me deep inside
River, show me how to float, I feel like I’m sinking down
Thought that I could get along

But here in this water, my feet won’t touch the ground
I need something to turn myself around

Going away, away toward the sea
River deep, can you lift up and carry me
Oh roll on through the heartland
‘Til the sun has left the sky
River, river, carry me high

‘Til the washing of the water, make it all alright
Let your waters reach me, like she reached me tonight

Letting go, it’s so hard, the way it’s hurting now
To get this love untied
So tough to stay with this thing, because if I follow through
I face what I denied
I’ll get those hooks out of me
And I’ll take out the hooks that I sunk deep in your side
Kill that fear of emptiness, that loneliness I hide

River, oh river, river running deep
Bring me something that will let me get to sleep

In the washing of the water will you take it all away
Bring me something to take this pain away

Everything’s Just Wonderful by Lily Allen
Then he discovers cocaine. It solves so many of his problems. Depression, shyness, lack of energy. Cocaine. All of sudden he can talk to women. Walk into a job full of people. Cocaine. “He’s got so much energy. What a go-getter. Give that man a pay raise.” So our hero gets a job and a girlfriend and an apartment and he starts taking college courses. And it’s all thanks to cocaine. It was almost like Real Life.

Droogs by Anderson .Paak

The story takes a sexy turn here. Because for him, drugs and sex become closely related. The urge for sex is mixed with the desire for drugs. And so what follows is a string of destructive relationships and meaningless hook-ups and more drugs.

She don’t give a fuck
She don’t ever stress me
We don’t even talk
All we do is sex and leave
No there’s no love
She don’t even like me
But if we have drugs
She can be my wifey
When we have drugs

I got lost up in it, got lost up in it, got high for a minute
Said my lust for life and these lights are bright and I love these women
Said we bopping slow and we do the dance like we more than winning
Said she off the beat but she’s fine as fuck so I find the rhythm
No love is greater, in this whole world we made up
This love is made-up, it’s made-up
It’s made-up, it’s made-up, it’s made-up (say, aye)
I don’t know this bitch but I love this shit and we both are splendid
And she loud as fuck so I grab and touch and she don’t get offended
They goin call the law if we don’t get lost in Wynn parking lot
She don’t like me dog, she just like the drugs my nigga, don’t get it twisted

How many more can you give to me?
How many more can you give to me? I know you’re feelin me
Grinding and biting and kissing me
Who gives a fuck bout your history? nobody mentioned it
I coulda taken them all, I coulda taken them all, look at me dog
Look at me dead in the eyes, tell me you ain’t in love

She don’t give a fuck
She don’t ever stress me
We don’t even talk
All we do is sex and leave
No there’s no love
She don’t even like me
But if we have drugs
She can be my wifey
When we have drugs

You my one and only, my one and only, I’m on one homie
I don’t know your name I just love that ass, and I’ll pull that pony
Said I hate the club, but I make the club when I walk into it
Said you hate the drink, but you take the drink when I offer fluid
No love is greater, in this whole world we made up
This love is made-up, it’s made-up, it’s made-up, it’s made-up, it’s made-up

I can say right now that I’ll lay you down, I got lots of rubbers
I don’t give a fuck, you don’t give a fuck, we was made for each other
Your friend ain’t cute but my nigga’s a trooper, he’ll take the L
I’m high as fuck and you high as fuck so we parasailing

How many more can you give to me? How many more can you give to me?

I know you’re feelin me
Grinding and biting and kissing me, who gives a fuck bout your history,

Nobody mentioned it
I coulda taken them all, I coulda taken them all, look at me dog
Look at me dead in the eyes, tell me you ain’t in love

She don’t give a fuck
She don’t ever stress me
We don’t even talk
All we do is sex and leave
No there’s no love
She don’t even like me
But if we have drugs
She can be my wifey
When we have drugs

Hash Pipe by Weezer

Eventually this leads to a life of chaos. Moving to crystal meth and then crack. He does more and more. In and out of hospitals. In and out of rehab. Emotions flying off the hook. In and out of jail. Alienating everyone around him. Until finally he’s alone. Just him, his crack pipe and his self-destructive behavior. Paranoid, angry and alone, he’s pushed everyone else away. He settles in with crack as a substitute for human contact. His life is reduced to a constant struggle to get more crack. To do whatever to get more crack.

Please by U2

One night, while crawling around on his knees searching for something that wasn’t there, he breaks down. He realizes he’s hit the bottom. For him there was no lower he could go. Determined and alone, he begins the fight to try to get off drugs. In a montage of failed attempts. And valiant second and third attempts. We see him crying with every failure. Throwing out pipes only to buy new ones. Vowing to never use again then breaking his vow, sometimes in the very same day. At this point he only has himself to blame. And he only has himself for strength. Just he and the better self that he knows he can be. His life flashes before his eyes in a series of emotional motivational scenes. After months of trying, he finally gets clean.

Manhole by Ani DiFranco

He gets off the drugs and rebuilds his life. He remembers the hollow advice of his mother. So he pretends to be normal. He moves to a new city. He lies about his past. He lies to himself. He gets really good at lying. His past becomes something that happened to someone else. But not to him.

I’m holding here a book, notable, but not the greatest
Stolen for me by the latest in a long line of thieves
And I’m just about to drop it down that manhole of memories
When I realize it doesn’t bother me like love’s mementos usually do
And I look up to see who’s different here, the latest me or the latest you

‘Course, you’re the kind of guy who doesn’t lie, he just doctors everything
Chooses some unassuming finger and quietly moves his wedding ring
Who rewrites his autobiography for any pretty girl who’ll sing
But you can’t fool the queen, baby ‘cuz I married the king

And maybe it was I who betrayed his majesty
With no opposite reality, like a puddle with no reflection
Of the sky or the trees, but after my dreaded beheading
I tied that sucker back on with a string
And I guess I’m pretty different now, considering

I kissed you on the street that night on the far side of fourth
But I didn’t like the taste in my mouth or yours
And ignoring the persona you wore for my benefit
For once I had the balls to call it, just call it
But a lesson must be lived in order to be learned
And the clarity to see and stop this now that is what I’ve earned

And maybe it was I who betrayed his majesty
With no opposite reality, like a puddle with no reflection
Of the sky or the trees but after my dreaded beheading
I tied that sucker back on with a string
And I guess I’m pretty different now, considering

I’m holding here a book, notable, but not the greatest
Stolen for me by the latest in a long line of thieves
And I’m just about to drop it down that manhole of memories
When I realize it doesn’t bother me and heartache not so dire
‘Cuz I looked up to see integrity finally won over desire

Climbing Up The Walls by Radiohead

Sadly once he kicks the drugs all of his psychiatric problems resurface. He had forgotten why he started drinking in the first place. And after several run-ins with the police they eventually throw him in a psychiatric hospital. There’s not a lot of words in this section. It’s mostly just images of horror and isolation. And the voice of a sadistic orderly taunting him in his pharmaceutical haze, “You didn’t think it would be that easy now did you?”

I am the key to the lock in your house
That keeps your toys in the basement
And if you get too far inside
You’ll only see your reflection

It’s always best when the choir is out
I am the pick in the ice
Do not cry out or hit the alarm
You know we’re friends till we die

Either way you turn, I’ll be there
Open up your skull, I’ll be there
Climbing up the walls

It’s always best when the light is off
It’s always better on the outside
Fifteen blows to the back of your head
Fifteen blows to your mind

So lock the kids up safe tonight
Shut the eyes in the cupboard
I got the smell of a local man
Who’s got the loneliest feeling

And either way you turn, I’ll be there
Open up your skull, I’ll be there
Climbing up the walls

Dig by Incubus

While in the hospital he sees such horrors in the way the mentally ill are treated. And once he gets out, he vows to use his experiences to help others. And so the angry young man from the beginning let’s go of his anger. He leaves the hospital a new man. With a new lease on life. But with an absolute disdain for how the homeless and mentally ill are treated in his country. The sun is shining for the first time in his life without drugs. Fade out.

Roll Credits

Let Go by Frou Frou

End Credits Song. As the song plays, the credits roll and we see pictures of the man on whose life this movie is based. People in the theater who didn’t know it was based on a true story gain a new respect for the film. Others are amazed by how much more handsome the real guy is compared to the actor who plays him. There’s not a dry eye in the house. And once the credits are done all that’s left on screen is a dash and a name. Some in the audience smile knowingly before the house lights come up.

Thank you for listening.

– Mel

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