Drugs and music go together like puppy dogs and newborns, so what better a subject to kick off my (hooooopefully regular) top five lists. I assert off the bat that I truly have never done any sort of psychedelic drug, and that if I did, given my inherent psychological disposition, I would probably react very badly. I imagine it would be like something out of the Altered State of Druggachusettes sketch from Mr. Show, where I would be the Professor (”I’m having a bad time here, man!”) but all the other characters would be played by giant melting skulls.
So let’s have a stab at this thing, shall we? Up first is …
05. The Jingle Cats — Meowy Christmas (1994)
This album is billed as “The world’s first album of songs sung by real cats,” and you know what?
I do not question that.
The true question to be asked is, “Why did it take man 137 years since first recording sound to make a record of cats singing traditional Christmas music?” Anyone who has listened to this album knows why. I personally have listened to it several times all the way through, and though I have never done acid, I imagine the experience is something like listening to Meowy Christmas. Just imagine dropping a couple microdots and hearing the part on “Silent Night” when the dogs’ response chorus kicks in and all of a sudden you can’t stop scratching in between your fingers–by the time the Jingle Cats roll into “Good King Winceslas” you’re ripping your stomach skin off and trying to wear it as socks.
04. Tim Buckley — Starsailor (1970)
The cover for this album in no way prepares the listener for what lies between the grooves. Some boob picks up Starsailor, with its cover of Tim Buckley crossing his arms and smiling like some Steve Guttenberg-looking goon, and expects Gilbert O’Sullivan. But what you get is some wild ass Ornette Coleman stuff, screaming and howling free jazz and scratching guitars–real freaky-deaky, peoples. In fact, in his original review of the album for Rolling Stone, Greil Marcus actually called Starsailor “some real freaky-deaky shit, man.” Like most of the albums here, this one contrasts between loud, frantic moments and silent calms, which I expect is pretty cool when you’re tripping at Ball Speed 9.
Note: Unfortunately, the below video is a fairly traditional rendition of the song “Song to the Siren” from Starsailor. This song and the rest of the album are way freakier.
03. Magma — Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh (1973)
A band that made up its own Latinesque language just to write its music probably knows something about the psychedelic experience. Magma is that band. Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh sounds like what you expect a chorus of grim reapers to be singing as you descend into the eighth circle of hell (that’s the one where you get bit by a snake and burned into ashes and brought back to life and then bit and burned all over and over and over again for eternity).
02. Gal Costa — Gal Costa (1969)
Not only is this the wildest of the tropicalia albums, it’s one of the wildest psychedelic albums ever made anywhere in the world. The variation between breezy tropical moments and screeching fuzz guitars and Gal Costa’s animalistic shrieking would probably make for a good trip. On acid!
Note: The below video is no way near what the album version is like, so definitely track down the real deal if you can.
01. Pink Floyd — Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Yep, after all that nutso shiz, my number one pick is what is probably regarded by all reputable sources as the best psychedelic album of all time. But I can’t help it. In my head I imagine that eating a bag of mushrooms would result in an experience exactly like listening to “Flaming,” where I’d just be chilling on a dandelion and watching buttercups and unicorns and stuff. I know that’s probably not what would happen, but let me have my dream. I ask, good people, am I not entitled to that?
Tomorrow — Tomorrow; The Grateful Dead — Aoxomoxoa; Paddy Roberts — Songs for Gay Dogs; Arthur Brown — The Crazy World of Arthur Brown; Hawkwind — In Search of Space; Raffi — Raffi In Concert with the Rise and Shine Band