Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Five odes to sticky, skunky bud, in honor of 4-20

Posted By on Wed, Apr 20, 2011 at 10:32 AM

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Though I'm fronting for the stoner anthem, I mean no disrespect. I don't mean to degrade a song's appeal by suggesting its only functional level is a song you can smoke a joint to -- a song only enjoyable when the edges of one's own perception have become a little frayed. In fact, the songs I've chosen, by all means, are rather enjoyable in any state. But these textures do dwell within the sensibilities of the stoned, songs that have layers of musicality without ever delivering jarring, buzz-unfriendly textures.

"Gangsta Lean" by the Clipse

Virginia trunk-rattlers the Clipse typically rap about another drug of choice -- think whiter -- but that doesn't mean they can't lace together a memorable weed tribute. This cut is from Clipse's debut LP, Lord Willin', and features Pharrell Williams' signature playboy falsetto.

"Runway, Houses, City, Clouds" by Tame Impala

It takes Aussie outfit Tame Impala about 20 seconds to mention weed on its debut Innerspeaker, so it's probably not too much of a shock that the rest of the record totally exudes that vibe. "Runway, Houses, City, Clouds," in particular, treads a spacey, reverb-drenched feel that easily recalls some of the Beatles' more drug-affected records.

"Famous" by Curren$y

The NOLA spitter and weed-enthusiast Curren$y has capitalized on stonerdom (scope his Twitter feed @CurrenSy_Spitta), but he's a particularly nimble rapper despite what you might expect. But, despite his natural ability to flex his flow, it's all about the feel for Curren$y; standout sister LPs Pilot Talk I and Pilot Talk II operate within a smoky, spaced-out sonic tone, never peaking into anything resembling a banger or a harsh mellower.

"32 leaves dipped in blackness making clouds forming altered carbon" by Shabazz Palaces

As if the title wasn't enough of a hint, this track from the Digable Planets veteran is a rather heady affair, filled with tongue-twisting verbosity draped with jazzy grooves.

"Sun Was High (So Was I)" by Best Coast

There are a lot of easy jokes to make in evoking Bethany Cosentino's Best Coast outfit, especially provided that the heart-on-sleeve surf rocker has expressed her affection for weed and tabby cats to a rather obnoxious extent. And though Crazy for You and the latter-day recordings sound crisper than the original demos, it doesn't diminish the power of the open, fuzzy tracks like "Sun Was High (So Was I)." You could live inside this song, a warm opus about longing and lonely thinking.

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