We’ve all been there: You’re having a relaxing evening enjoying cannabis with friends, when a wave of anxiety sweeps over you, and you start to panic. You suddenly realize you’re way too high. Thankfully, it’s for times like these that music was invented.
There are a ton of classic albums to listen to while you’re high and any list of the top 10 will inevitably include the usual suspects. (We’re looking at you, Pink Floyd.)
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the classics. But it’s nice to expand your cannabis playlist from time to time with albums that you may not have considered before.
For this list, we’ve tried to avoid the usual go-to choices and instead created a unique list of the best albums that’ll calm you down when you’re too high. So, without further ado and in no particular order, here are our picks.
1. “Feels” by Animal Collective
Baltimore-based Animal Collective’s sixth studio album is a giddy, dream-like trip that sees the band branch out from the acoustic-heavy meanderings that define other freak-folk musicians. While the acoustics are still there, Animal Collective experiments here with lots of different sounds and styles. It’s a weird album, but one that feels joyous precisely because it embraces its weirdness.
2. “Popular Problems” by Leonard Cohen
“Popular Problems” takes on all of the familiar Cohen themes—love, religion, depression—with a winking knowingness that could only come from a singer who felt supremely at ease with himself. Take some lyrics from the opening track, “Slow:”
“I’m slowing down the tune / I never liked it fast / You want to get there soon / I want to get there last.”
This is an album that acknowledges the world is imperfect, but embraces it anyway. As the closer “You Got Me Singing” puts it:
“You got me singing / Even though the world is gone / You got me thinking / I'd like to carry on.” That’s exactly the type of sage advice you need when you’re freaking out.”
3. “I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama!” by Janis Joplin
Janis Joplin’s solo debut truly shows off the singer’s impressive range. Its blues and soul sound also makes it the perfect Joplin album for those nights when you’re feeling a little too high. The horns give the album an incredible sound and their power helps showcase what a phenomenal voice Joplin had.
4. “Walking on a Dream” by Empire of the Sun
Silly, whimsical and unabashedly over the top, Empire of the Sun’s “Walking on a Dream” is a 45-minute, pixelated, technicolor fantasy land. “Walking on a Dream” may not be to everybody’s tastes, but it’s hard to be miserable while listening to lyrics like “We are the people that rule the world / A force running in every boy and girl / All rejoicing in the world” set to an infectious synth-pop beat.
5. “Beauty Behind the Madness” by The Weeknd
The Weeknd’s “Beauty Behind the Madness” is one catchy pop-R&B tune after another. While The Weeknd’s later work has leaned more to the pop side of the scales, “Beauty Behind the Madness” retains the slower, smoother pace that you need when you’re feeling too high.
From the undeniably sexy “Earned It” to the song of the summer “I Can’t Feel My Face,” “Beauty Behind the Madness” is fun while keeping the tempo cool. It’s the perfect mix for when you may have had a bit too much cannabis.
6. “Born to Die” by Lana Del Rey
“Born to Die” got lukewarm reviews when it was released, perhaps partly because of a music press that was eager to dismiss Lana Del Rey as nothing more than a sad pop “it girl.”
Well, Del Rey has endured despite the haters and listening to her second studio album again is a good reminder of why that is. Del Rey’s voice is sultry and cinematically tragic. It makes “Born to Die” the perfect album for remembering that no matter how bad you feel right now, there remains a heck of a lot of beauty in the world. Exactly what you want to hear when you’re feeling anxious and paranoid.
7. “The Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding
Otis Redding’s “The Dock of the Bay” was the first posthumous release of Redding’s after his untimely death in a plane crash at the age of 26. Despite the sad circumstances of its release, this is an album that’s all about affirming life, love and music.
The titular song alone, “(Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay,” is enough to make this album one of the best for coming down from an unpleasantly intense high. But every song on this album, from the soulful longing of “I Love You More Than Words Can Say” to the cheeky humor of “Tramp,” is absolutely perfect for those times when you just need to relax.
8. “Revolver” by The Beatles
Revolver may arguably be The Beatles’ best album of all time, which means it’s automatically one of the best albums to listen to while you’re high and need something to distract you. John, Paul, George and Ringo are all at the height of their trippiest, jauntiest powers here. From the sitar-heavy “Love You To” to the childishly whimsical “Yellow Submarine,” this is one album that should be considered essential listening if you’ve had a bit too much marijuana.
A great album is the perfect antidote for coming down off of an intense high. This list provides a sample of just a few that we think are especially effective at keeping you relaxed and in a calm headspace.