In music, romantic love and drug use are often described in poetically similar ways. After all, "love is a drug," isn't it? Something that makes you feel ecstatic, but also happens to be the bane of your existence. Something that brings you to the top of the world and then subsequently smashes you into the lowest depths of despair. Something that's both terrifying and fun, debilitating and consuming, and well, you get the picture. Love. Drugs. What really is the difference? In music, not much. That's why there are so many songs about drugs that could be about love, too.
Do you think you'd be able to tell the difference between a song about love and a song about drugs? Considering that you share similar feelings while in love and on drugs, it's harder than you might assume. If you're not paying attention to the lyrics because you're too focused on the upbeat melody, or if you're not aware of certain drug slang, it's possible you wrongfully assumed that love song you love is a drug song you love. Though the theme might shift from mind-altering romance to mind-altering substance, that doesn't mean you still can't enjoy the track. Take for instance, the following "love" songs that, despite your better lyrical judgement, are really just "drug" songs in disguise.
1. "Got To Get You Into My Life" — The Beatles
Of course, we're all aware that a large amount of Beatles songs were influenced by drugs, but this little number's true meaning comes as a surprise. With lyrics like "did I tell you I need you/every single day of my life," it's easy to misconstrue this as a love song, but, in fact, it's about the pursuit of pot. Lots and lots of pot.
2. "There She Goes" — The La's
"There She Goes" contains some obviously questionable lyrics — "racing through my brain/pulsing through my vein/no one else can heal my pain" — but it's likely you never noticed the song was about heroin, probably because you were too busy humming the catchy tune.
3. "And She Was" — Talking Heads
4. "Waterfalls" — TLC
Though you'd remember it as more of a sad love song, there's no doubt you thought "Waterfalls" was about a man and woman's relationship — namely, the man's wandering eye. Warning: I'm about to shake you to your core. The lyrics "So he goes out and he makes his money the best way he knows how/Another body laying cold in the gutter "show that the TLC song tackled the illegal drug trade — and even HIV.
5. "Beetlebum" — Blur
The title of this depressive and slow jam refers to "chasing the beetle" — a slang term for getting high on heroin. Apparently it's all about the lead singer's own personal bender with the drug.
6. "Brown Sugar" — D'Angelo
Surprisingly, D'Angelo's sweet melodious song isn't an ode to his lover. It's an ode to marijuana.
7. "Semi-Charmed Life" — Third Eye Blind
Back in the '90s, few people realized that this upbeat tempo song was actually about crystal meth — despite it's glaringly obvious lyrics (i.e. Doing crystal myth/Will lift you up until you break/It won't stop/ I won't come down, I keep stock). Never noticed that as a child. Probably a good thing.
8. "I Know" — Jay - Z
It's uncommon for a hip hop song to be about heroin, but Jay-Z took it there in this song from his '07 album. What you thought was probably a tune about unrequited love happened to be a tune from the perspective of the drug. But with lyrics like “Take me in vein", "Nose wide open and its drippin’," can we really be surprised?
9. "I'm In Love With The CoCo" — O.T. Genasis
Perhaps I am particularly naive, but when I first heard this tune I totally assumed O.T. Genasis was talking about a probably lovely woman named CoCo. But then I saw the music video. (Spoiler alert: CoCo = cocaine. Who knew!)
10. "The A Team" — Ed Sheeran
Yeah, you thought Ed Sheeran's sweet, angelic voice was singing about some love that he had lost. Nope. Turns out, the songwriter's huge hit was about homelessness and drug addiction.
11. "Can't Feel My Face" — The Weeknd
The chart topping jam might have seemed lyrically confusing at first. Why can't he feel his face when he's with this girl? And why does he love it? Oh. Because it's not actually about a girl. It's about drugs.
Consider me a "love song" skeptic from here on out.