Does weed make music better or does music weed better? It is the modern chicken-or-the-egg question, but most people will probably agree that any good 4/20 needs good music. For those planning on hanging out with their buds (pun intended) this year, here is a list of the best albums to listen to on the nation’s highest holiday.
“2001” – Dr. Dre
I mean was there any doubt this album was not going to be on here? “2001” is pretty much the quintessential weed album in many respects, there is no denying a classic. Dre’s spaced-out and whistle-clean production has not aged a day since it was released in 1999. Loaded with features—even Tommy Chong makes an appearance—the Doctor utilizes his cast of characters to their fullest extent as Dre with the help of Snoop Dogg made “The Next Episode” a west-coast anthem.
“Merriweather Post Pavilion” – Animal Collective
This Maryland musical group has played a huge part in the newer wave of psychedelic music for the better part of 20 years now. Animal Collective’s speciality has always been chamber pop and their 2009 album, “Merriweather Post Pavilion” sounds like if the Beach Boys were mixed into a synth-filled sonic salad. It is overwhelming and beautiful. Moments like “Daily Routine” might just put a tear into your eye. It is an album that is meant to be played in one sitting, as every song leads seamlessly into the next. On 4/20 I am sure folks will have enough time and sit around for an entire album’s length.
“Madvillainy” – Madvillain
An underground masterpiece, rapper MF DOOM and producer Madlib’s seminal album is packed with obscure and weird samples in nearly every sonic inch. The songs here are brief and pretty much force your head to nod along to DOOM’s hypnotizing flow, as the tracks seem to fly by. On head phones, this album is an Odyssey into sound and being in an “elevated” state of mind will truly transport you to another world. The duo truly is “America’s Most Blunted.”
“The Mollusk” – Ween
Ween always will be weirdos in the music industry, and “The Mollusk” is no less stranger today than when it came out in 1997. This album is pretty much a stoner’s medieval tale. It is fantastical, odd and funny in all the right places. The title track feels euphoric as it takes you to the bottom of the sea. If the song “Ocean Man” does not make you get up and dance, then you may need to re-evaluate what you want out of the 4/20 experience.
“Venice” – Anderson .Paak
Formerly known as Breezey Lovejoy, .Paak has begun to make big waves in the music industry and was signed to Dr. Dre’s Aftermath label in 2015. .Paak is an immensely talented multi-instrumentalist, singer and rapper. The dude can seriously rap and play drums at the same time. His 2014 album, “Venice” is like a cool California breeze and is guaranteed to get you in the summer mood. It has got its mix of songs you are gonna want to shuffle along with, or just sit back and relax to. It is diverse and fun the entire way through and a perfect blend of rap, R&B and even a little EDM.
“Songs for the Deaf” – Queen of the Stone Age
For rock historians, some may recall Queen of the Stone Age’s frontman Josh Homme getting his start in the band Kyuss. Along with Homme, Kyuss pretty much defined the stoner-rock genre and Homme’s own band is no different. “Songs for the Deaf” can be considered the band’s magnum opus and the album is a dark and sprawling descent into the psyche of Homme. Each track builds on the next, and each one drags the listener further and further into the scorched desert the album was recorded in.
“Salad Days” – Mac Demarco
While the green-sounding title may give the impression that ol’ Mac is a toker, the singer songwriter insists to this day that he “doesn’t touch the stuff.” Whatever Mac’s habits are there is no denying this slouched out album makes the perfect soundtrack to a fog-induced afternoon. Goofy guitars and crunchy synths go together like peanut butter and chocolate, which may be a good snack for those with the munchies. Spaced out moments like “Chamber of Reflection” sound like when one spends too much time at the thrift store on a hazy day.
“ATLiens” – Outkast
It was a toss up between this album and Outkast’s equally amazing “Aquemini,” but the theme of aliens seemed more apt for 4/20 for some reason. Pretty much any 1990s southern-rap album would be fitting for this holiday, but I had to give it to Outkast. “ATLiens” is truly a journey from front to back, and Andre 3000’s and Big Boi’s flows are too smooth not to listen to while in an enhanced state. When this album came out, nothing sounded quite like it. The duo have always seemed like they were ahead of their time, let alone from another planet entirely. Anyone who listens to the song “Elevators (Me and You)” should be assured they are not actually being abducted. The song is just that good and will take you to another level.
“Dark Side of the Moon” – Pink Floyd
James Wyatt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @jaames2295