While catching a buzz obviously isn't necessary for enjoying tunes, sometimes it does enhance the sounds coming through your headphones. Some artists — the Bob Marleys, Grateful Deads and Snoop Doggs of the world — are uniquely qualified to provide the soundtrack to a quality smoking session. For your next one, here are a few albums to consider beyond those stoner standards:
The Flaming Lips, The Soft Bulletin (1999)
Ask anyone who went to the Flaming Lips' Knitting Factory show in May — this is a band that knows how to use sensory overload to their advantage. While their concerts rely in large part on visuals, their music packs an incredible amount of sounds in the mix as well. The stoned mind is a fertile place for a love of the Flaming Lips to take root, and this is the album to start with, full of woozy psychedelia and twisted imagery via Wayne Coyne's lyrics. A headphone symphony that's pretty undeniable.
My Morning Jacket, Z (2005)
This Louisville band hits the sweet spot at the crossroads of classic-rock riffage, jam-band improvisation and alt-rock experimentation, with leader Jim James' remarkable voice floating above it all and giving their songs an almost ethereal quality. On this album (and most of their catalog, really), My Morning Jacket touches on reggae and spacey prog-rock between monster guitar workouts. They're one of the best live bands on the planet and the distinct smell of cannabis is common at their shows, but you can enjoy them just as much at home.
The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Anniversary Edition (2017)
Arguably the Fab Four's greatest album, Sgt. Pepper's was fueled in part by the band's own drug experimentation, and it's certainly been the soundtrack for millions of smoke-outs since its release 50 years ago. This newly remastered anniversary edition — overseen by the son of the band's producer, George Martin, and approved by Paul and Ringo — proves that even if you've heard it a million times, a million more won't hurt. Especially if you're getting high with a little help from your friends.
Parquet Courts, Light Up Gold (2012)
This Brooklyn indie-rock crew deals in angular guitars, jaunty rhythms and vocals traded between frontmen Austin Brown and Andrew Savage. On this dynamite album, they also pack their tunes full of excellent hooks and songs like "Stoned and Starving," on which they debate various munchies to sate their intoxicated appetites: "I was debating Swedish fish / roasted peanuts or licorice / I was so stoned and starving." Elsewhere, the spiraling cadence of "Yr No Stoner" talks about "chasing hippies at a discount mall." It's true — not all stoners are pacifists. ♦
A few more options for your stoned listening pleasure:
Queens of the Stone Age, ...Like Clockwork
Missy Elliott, Miss E... So Addictive
Meat Puppets, Up on the Sun
Shuggie Otis, Inspiration Information
Pavement, Wowee Zowee
The Black Crowes, Amorica
Ween, Chocolate and Cheese
The War on Drugs, Lost in the Dream