Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler, teacher, scientist; Published author & Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published October 15th 2020
Love is better than drugs
Recently I reviewed the new Bon Jovi album (which is excellent) and made an off-hand comment about something making a good column. Well, low and behold, I go onto Twitter and there are half a dozen people asking, "Well? Where's the column?" I was joking! Okay, maybe not, but I did not expect such a response.
All right, so I went through my collection of music and found nine tracks that fit the brief that I liked. Then I went onto Twitter again, whinged, and suddenly I had three more tracks suggested. I listened to them all, found one that I actually liked (a new song! woo-hoo!) and now I have a column!
All right. Songs where love is equated to a drug. This does not mean songs where they are love songs about drugs, nor does this mean they are songs about taking drugs with a loved one. Both of those topics are pretty prevalent amongst music, actually. Now, two of the tracks here could well have double meanings in that regard, but I am going to take the optimistic stance and assume that the nice interpretation is the correct one.
So, my rules – one song per artist, love is the drug being sung about, and that's about it, really. Oh, and quickly – one of the songs is NSFW. Feedback has told me I do need to indicate when that is the case, so: That is the case.
Ten tracks. Let's hit it! (In chronological order.)
'Love Is The Drug' by Roxy Music (1975)
Probably the best known of the songs on this topic because, well, it's right there in the title! It all started here, I suppose. The image of someone looking for a hit, only for it to be love is a good one. But there is no denying that this is a powerful and great track, one that eschews illegality for love. I could go along with that.
'I Want A New Drug' by Huey Lewis & The News (1984)
A song from the classic Sports album, this one is easy to misinterpret from the title. But Huey wants a new drug that makes him feel like he feels when he's with his girl – love. Love doesn't make him feel as bad as those other drugs. My only problem is, when I hear it, I still hear 'Weird Al' Yankovic's parody version… but that's probably just me.
'Hooked On Love' by Bananarama (1986)
A track that is saying being hooked on life and love is better than many alternatives. The verses paint a picture of lives that are at the edge of being completely broken; the chorus offers hope through the drug that is love. I actually like a lot of Bananarama songs and think they are over-looked too often.
'Addicted To Love' by Robert Palmer (1986)
Possibly known more for the video than the song itself, this track details how it feels to be on a drug, but the drug Palmer is on is love. It is really that simple. Having said that, there was a priest at high school who did not like the song for just that reason. People gotta complain, I guess. I love the drums in this track, by the way. What a great, pounding beat.
'There She Goes' by The La's (1988)
One of those songs that could be taken both ways – real drugs or love as drug – and that I am choosing to take positively. She gives him the same feelings as drugs, and it is better but has similar effects ("Pulsin' through my veins…"). Love this song.
'Between The Lines' by Stone Temple Pilots (2010)
This is the song that I found with the help of the online community. "I like it when you talk about love/ You always were my favourite drug…" But STP have been a great rock band for ages, and I am glad I have discovered this track.
'Addicted To You' by Avicii (2013)
As straight forward as you want – he is addicted to his partner, hooked on her like he might be a drug. Not just any drug, either – a "powerful drug". I am not a fan of much EDM, but Avicii is one artist whose output was consistently of high quality. And those vocals by Audra Mae are magnificent. Avicii was taken from us too soon.
'Can't Feel My Face' by The Weeknd (2015)
Another song that could be about either, though the love version does make a little more sense with the lyrics. It does seem weird that he "can't feel my face when I'm with you" and that she leaves him feeling "numb", but he does seem to enjoy it.
'Beautiful Trauma' by P!nk (2017)
In this case, P!nk equates drugs with love in a negative way. All the negative connotations of taking drugs are there with a love that might not be the best for both people involved. That is actually a very interesting and well-done way of looking at this, as well as being different. Sometimes, I think P!nk is under-rated for her lyrics.
'Beautiful Drug' by Bon Jovi (2020)
Yes, the song that started this. As I said in that review, this is a really good song, one that stands out amongst some pessimism on the album. But even listening to it as a separate track for this column, it stands as a truly great track. And so we finish with a drug that is the sort you want. Really good.
Love is a drug. Nearly always a good one, but better than the vast majority of the alternatives. Yes, P!nk's song is a negative one, but in general, love is a better drug, and the positivity is there.
And for those who say I ignore modern music, half this list is from the past 10 years (as I write this). If the song is good, it does not matter when it was released.