//High Notes

The first Monday of every month, we explore the connection between music and drug culture.

HIGH NOTES: 7 Songs That Will Connect You to the Spirit of Ayahuasca

British-Portuguese musician Nessi Gomes had an artistic awakening after living in Central America; could her work contain thinly veiled references to ayahuasca? According to traditional belief, ayahuasca is not just a powerful psychogenic substance - it's a spirit. When you ingest the Amazonian plant, "Mother Ayahuasca" scans your body and soul for places [...]

By |2018-08-09T17:04:11-04:00July 2nd, 2018|COLUMNS, High Notes, Monthly Mondays|

HIGH NOTES: This Is What Music Does to Your Brain

On October 10, 2017, I was plotting my escape from my boyfriend's squished studio apartment. Everything about it made me want to scream: the way his beard felt on my face when he went weeks without shaving, the pizza boxes he'd carelessly strewn all over the kitchen, the obnoxious Homer-Simpson-like "doh" he emitted when he [...]

By |2018-08-09T17:04:16-04:00June 4th, 2018|COLUMNS, High Notes, Monthly Mondays|

HIGH NOTES: 6 Ways to Make a Music Festival Exciting Without Drugs

When I first started going to music festivals, drugs were among their main appeal. Then, my body started telling me it couldn’t handle drugs like it used to, so I had to get creative. Over several sober weekends, I developed methods to preserve festivals’ excitement without the illicit substances. That’s not to say, “Don’t do [...]

By |2018-08-09T17:04:26-04:00May 7th, 2018|COLUMNS, High Notes, Monthly Mondays|

HIGH NOTES: Music Can Completely Alter the Course of a Trip

I’m in a living room overlooking the water in Vinkeveen, The Netherlands, surrounded by a dozen people tripping on ayahuasca, when the ceremony’s leader approaches my bed. “This song is for you,” she says. “I’m being guided to come to you.” She sits down in front of me and looks into my eyes as Libby [...]

By |2018-08-09T17:04:31-04:00April 2nd, 2018|COLUMNS, High Notes, Monthly Mondays|

HIGH NOTES: 9 Drug References in Lyrics You Probably Sang as a Kid

When you’re a teenager, you start to realize that a lot of the songs you liked as a kid were about sex. Then, when you reach your 20s, you start to realize many of them were actually about drugs. A lot of drug terminology can fly right over your head if you’re not a user and [...]

By |2018-08-09T17:04:43-04:00March 5th, 2018|COLUMNS, High Notes, Monthly Mondays|

HIGH NOTES: 10 Female Artists Who Reference Drugs in Their Music

When you hear the phrase “sex, drugs, and rock and roll,” you usually picture male musicians: Lou Reed croaking out the words to "Heroin" or "Waiting For My Man;" The Weeknd's famously numb face; Kurt Cobain finding God in "Lithium;" The Beatles on LSD; Neil Young's coke booger immortalized in The Last Waltz. Stereotypes about [...]

By |2018-08-09T17:04:48-04:00February 5th, 2018|COLUMNS, High Notes, Monthly Mondays|

HIGH NOTES: A Music Festival, Post-Ayahuasca

When I arrived in Mexico for my first three ayahuasca ceremonies, I had a checklist of questions to address: What repressed childhood memories were shaping who I was? Why did I hate my mother so much? Could I stop lying? What was wrong with lying if I didn’t get caught? So, I was surprised that [...]

By |2018-08-09T17:04:55-04:00January 8th, 2018|COLUMNS, High Notes|

HIGH NOTES: What Music Is Like on Every Popular Drug

Drug culture and music culture have long overlapped, from the psychedelics at 60s and 70s rock festivals to the MDMA, cocaine, and ketamine in modern nightclubs. People bring drugs to these settings not just to facilitate social interactions but also to appreciate the music on a new level. In fact, 69% of 21 to 29 year [...]

By |2018-08-09T17:05:08-04:00December 4th, 2017|COLUMNS, High Notes, Monthly Mondays|

HIGH NOTES: How Ketamine Became a Club Drug

photo: Scott Houston At a Manhattan club in 1997, Jenna*, 42, snorted speed she was told was laced with ecstasy. A few minutes in, her body felt frozen. For the rest of the night, she alternated between paralysis and “dancing like a madwoman.” “I would sit on the steps and wait for the [...]

By |2018-08-09T17:05:13-04:00November 6th, 2017|COLUMNS, High Notes, Monthly Mondays|

HIGH NOTES: How LSD Changed Music as We Know It

In 1965, at 2 Strathearn Place in London, John and Cynthia Lennon, George Harrison, and Pattie Boyd sat at their dentist John Riley’s dinner table sipping coffee. A few minutes prior, Riley’s girlfriend Cindy Bury had placed sugar cubes laced with LSD in their cups. Back then, the drug was just beginning to leave labs [...]

By |2018-08-09T17:05:34-04:00October 2nd, 2017|COLUMNS, High Notes, Monthly Mondays|

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