Top 5: Albums to do psychedelic drugs to (as ranked by someone who has never done psychedelic drugs)

August 21st, 2008 · 14 Comments


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)

The Jingle Cats - Meowy Christmas

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)

Tim Buckley — Starsailor

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)

Magma — Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh

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)

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

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?

Honorable Mentions:
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

Tags: Lists · Top Five

14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 James // Aug 22, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    Hey nice list. I wouldve put the Dead on there too though. Don’t know about that jingle cats stuff, you probably wouldn’t want to drop acid to that…. I like Piper at The Gates Of Dawn but for me it dosn’t get any better then The Wall.

  • 2 Joel // Aug 22, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    Yeah, I almost put the Dead’s Aoxomoxoa on the list but I just don’t listen to it that much so I couldn’t justify it. I’m definitely more of a Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd fan (back when they were called “Th e” Pink Floyd”). To be honest, The Wall and Dark Side of the Moon kind of bore me. Too much polish, no life. Weirdly, though, I dig Animals.

  • 3 James // Aug 22, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    Woah man, you don’t like the Wall??? That’s not jibing with my vibes, yo, but i gotta respect it.

  • 4 jack // Aug 23, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    I like to say that Green Day’s Dookie was the first CD I ever owned (not that it’s that great of an album, but come one, I was in 5th grade). But really, it was Meowy Christmas, which I opened on Christmas Eve (I opened the Green Day album on Christmas morning).

  • 5 Joel // Aug 23, 2008 at 7:19 pm


  • 6 Ryan M. // Aug 25, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    All of those albums would be fine except for the Jingle Cats. As someone who has done psychedelics I would get agitated and I could even see people having a mini-freakout over it.

  • 7 Joel // Aug 25, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Ha ha. Some say that Meowy Christmas has caused many a sober, mentally fit individual to spiral into a stated of frenzied delirium from which there is no escape. I think you should try tripping acid and putting on Meowy Christmas (or perhaps, if you’re not in the Christmas spirit, the Cats’ album of year-round standards, Rhythm & Mews). Videotape yourself and we’ll put it up on the site!

  • 8 Monday Mixtape Update 09.01.08: Odd Pop #3– Tenderloins // Sep 1, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    […] “Song to the Siren” A cover of one of Tim Buckley’s most well-known songs (from his insane Starsailor album). This Mortal Coil was assembled by Ivo Watts-Russell, founder of 4AD Records, and each of its […]

  • 9 joe blow // Jul 29, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    if you haven’t done the drugs then your article is useless.

  • 10 random person // Dec 3, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    I must say that the Jingle Cats album would be the BEST thing to listen to if you were imbibing mind-altering chemicals from this list. I cannot emphasize that enough . . . I would also suggest listening to Aleister Crowley’s album of Enochian calls while watching a pornographic movie.

  • 11 tyler // Feb 16, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    i had this acid the part with the elephants dancin around the pile of coke/ or cloud

  • 12 Mark // Jun 2, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    The Buckley is great.. try his Lorca as well…
    but really top 3 are
    Ascension John Coltrane
    You Gong and
    Most Sun Ra , but the farthest out is After The End of the World.. good intro is Nothing Is..

  • 13 Cheap Sex Toys For Men // Jun 30, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Drugs are Bad …. Mmmm Kay!

  • 14 Paul // Mar 30, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    I recommend Skip Spence’s masterpiece, Oar.

    Thank you.

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