In 2020 and 2021, seven more states legalized the recreational use of marijuana, bringing the total to 18. Nine more states are set to have some type of weed reform measures on their ballots in 2022. That’s something to sing about. Or at least nod your head approvingly at as the beat goes on.
Since few things go together better than weed and music, we built this playlist to cover all requirements for stoned listening: Mellow simplicity, deeply layered songscapes, stuff that makes you happy, and even songs with mentions of the devil’s lettuce itself.
First up, we offer ten of the best songs to listen to while stoned and why. But we didn’t want to leave you with a mere half hour soundtrack for your next session, so this particular playlist keeps the good times rolling for a number of hours (at last count, that number was five).
“Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd
For some of us, a weed haze offers escape from the 24/7 onslaught of everything all the time. Get comfortable. A little numb. There is no pain, just a distant ship smoke on the horizon. As part of Floyd’s epic concept album The Wall (a worthy contender for best full album to listen to while stoned), “Comfortably Numb” is about a slightly stronger sort of medication, given to Pink so he can scrape himself off the floor and go on stage one more time. But if you need to get lost in something, David Gilmore’s dreamy chorus and rabbit-hole worthy solos will do nicely.
“In a Sentimental Mood” by Duke Ellington & John Coltrane
When it’s warm enough to do so, open the windows and hit play on this jazz masterpiece. From the comfort of the sofa or a cleared square of rug, follow the melody out into the world, floating on the wings of Coltrane’s sax, alighting on the butterfly legs of Ellington’s piano. “Sentimental” is the opening track on the 1963 album recorded by the two jazz giants and is tailor-made for letting your mind meander.
“Everything In Its Right Place” by Radiohead
Radiohead’s rock-album-without-rock-instruments Kid A opens with this track, setting the tone for their rule-changing opus. The soothing beat, the reverberating synth, Thom Yorke’s cut and looped vocals, and the layers, the layers, the layers. Soon you too will feel that everything—every note, every blade of grass, every mental breakdown—is indeed in its right place.
“Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin
“Stairway” is like the feeling of a buzz itself. It starts soft and pretty with strings and flutes. It builds. The drums kick in. There’s that electric guitar solo as things really get rolling. Then everything breaks loose and you see all colors and shapes in pure explosion until Robert Plant lets you down easy with that final acappella line. It’s been called the best rock song too many times to count for good reason.
“Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix
If ever there was a Pavlovian trigger to elicit cannabis craving, it might be the crunchy chords that open “Purple Haze.” Hendrix said the lyrics were inspired by a dream after reading a sci-fi novel, and that the song was about love, not anything mind-altering (though to be fair, a musician couldn’t really admit to elicit inspiration in the 1960s). Plenty of tokers have peered through a purple haze of their own, ineluctably compelled to kiss the sky.
“A Warm Place” by Nine Inch Nails
When it’s time to get slow and low and introspective, put on this track from The Downward Spiral. It comes at the beginning of the end of the dark and brilliant concept album, just before the crushing final descent. If you want to stay in that warm place, queue up just about any of the film scores Trent Reznor’s done with Atticus Ross for a similar effect.
“You Don’t Know How It Feels” by Tom Petty
You know those simple truths that seem completely world-shattering when you’re stoned, but then the next day you’re like, “Well, yeah, obviously”? This refrain feels like one of those. Nobody knows how it feels to be anyone. Quite true. As it encourages you to roll another joint, the kick, kick, snare beat is deliciously comforting. For a real trip, check out the full-eye-contact, single-take video. Note how Petty dips behind the mic at the word “joint,” in an effort to appease those quaint ‘90s mores.
“1979” by The Smashing Pumpkins
When you’re ready to get super nostalgic about those rambling summer teenage days when one friend had a car and another had some pot, press play on “1979.” Infused with the beauty of youth and the backwards insight that comes from getting older, it’s a bittersweet slice of memory you can replay whenever you want.
“Nuthin’ but a G Thang” by Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg
The album was The Chronic, Dre’s first solo album after NWA. It launched Snoop Dogg’s career and brought us a West Coast rap anthem in “Nuthin’ but a G Thang.” That trilling keyboard synth loop and sampled bass line layered beneath Dre and Snoop’s rhymes pair perfectly with a baked block party tour of the LBC, or wherever your next episode takes you.
“Roll Me Up (and Smoke Me When I Die)” by Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristofferson, and Jamey Johnson
Weed brings people together. That will always be among its best attributes. Back in 2012, Willie Nelson teamed up with fellow Highwayman Kris Kristofferson, Nashville outlaw country star Jamey Johnson, and the Dogg Father himself to record a twangy, joyous ode to joints and lives well lived.