A quick recap of the lesson learned from Requiem for a Dream and Trainspotting: Heroin is bad news. The drug has claimed the lives of too many young actors and musicians, and often the particularly brilliant ones. The danger is part of the allure, and that said, heroin is responsible for plenty of fascinating art, so we took on the arduous task of narrowing this list down to 10 incredible songs about heroin (in no particular order).
The Velvet Underground - Heroin
"Heroin, be the death of me / Heroin, it's my wife and it's my life / Because a mainer to my vein / Leads to a center in my head / And then I'm better off than dead."
Let's kick it off with an obvious choice. Lou Reed gives us a feel for what it's like to be high on heroin, in the accurately titled "Heroin." (For the experience of buying it, check out "I'm Waiting for the Man.") "Heroin" is absolutely terrifying, moving from a glory blurry haze to a cacophonous, apocalyptic breakdown, as Reed shouts, "I guess I just don't know." Then, it slides back for a moment into that idyllic lull. Harrowing!
Lou Reed - Perfect Day
"Oh it's such a perfect day / I'm glad I spent it with you."
The guy had a subject, and he stuck to it. Here, Lou examines the more pastoral vibe of the drug. After all, if it wasn't kinda awesome, why would anyone do it? Reed has a fantastic day drinking sangria in the park and feeding animals in the zoo with his good ol' pal heroin.
Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb
There is no pain you are receding / A distant ship's smoke on the horizon / You are only coming through in waves / Your lips move / But I can't hear what you're saying
The clips from The Wall in this video are pretty terrifying. I mean, c'mon, let the poor kid keep his rat. Believe it or not, they make great pets. At least we can guess from the lyrics that the guy passed out isn't in any pain ... or so we hope, until he starts to rot.
Ministry - Just One Fix Blood keeps drinking away / Certain of its destination / Driving through New Orleans at night / Gotta find a destination / Just one fix
You know you've got a legit heroin song when beat poet/legendary drug explorer/all-around-interesting-fella William S. Burroughs makes an appearance in your video (which is chock full of scary shit).
GG Allin - Carmelita Carmelita hold me tighter / I think I'm sinking down / And I'm all strung out on heroin / On the outskirts of town
GG covers this Warren Zevon classic with a heroin needle sticking out of his guitar. His self-destruction was always more theatrical than Zevon's, but if you can look past the shock schtick, there's a pained sincerity to what he did. Bur seriously, you gotta look past a lot of awful shit: He planned on committing suicide on stage, but an overdose ended up getting to him first.