The Devil’s lettuce isn’t as demonized as it used to be.
The movement toward cannabis legalization has gained a lot of steam over the last several years, with eighteen states offering full legalization of recreational use—and that doesn’t count the states where it can be used medically or states where it has been decriminalized.
It’s not just the law that’s changing—attitudes are as well, even among Christians. Many of us here at Tuned Up have (or had) close with Christianity, whether we grew up in the church, still lead in a church, attended Christian music festivals, or whatever else. And so to honor the, erm, “holiday,” we thought it’d be fun to view the body of Christian (or Christian adjacent) music through the lens of how stoner they are.
No herbs were consumed in the writing of this article. This is all speculative.
mewithoutYou – Catch For Us the Foxes
The Weiss brothers assure their mom in “Cattail Down” that they left “a bag filled with what looked like marijuana” at the side of the road, but you’d be forgiven for suspecting that they might have used it for themselves. As far as trippy albums go, mewithoutYou’s blend of swirling ambient guitars, dubby basslines, freeform drums, and philosophical lyrics seem like the perfect soundtrack for a blaze session.
It works for different stages of stonedness too: when you’re lucid enough for musing on the nature of reality, Weiss’s lyrics will incite plenty of “what is he even saying, man”s. If you’re faded beyond the point of rational thought, the heavily-effected guitars can carry you away in a psychedelic cloud of sound.
Danielson Famile – Tri-Danielson (Alpha & Omega)
You might want to be careful what strain you have on this one. The line between genius and madness is already thin enough when Danielson’s music is heard stone sober. Depending on which variety you use, the experience could be transcendent or it could be entirely terrifying.
Not to mention, with some of the wild lyrics and wilder vocal performance Daniel Smith uses, it wouldn’t be a jump to think that he’s engaged in a few extra-curriculars. Who’s to guess that the “Cutest Lil’ Dragon” isn’t Puff of the Magic variety?
Tigerwine – Nothing Is For You
Now, I’m not trying to say that Tigerwine are stoners. But you can’t deny that their brand of shoegaze-tinged post-hardcore is a bit more psychedelic than many of their contemporaries. Their modulated guitars, whooshing walls of noise, and lush atmospheric embellishments create an album that is equal parts crushing and embracing. It’s already one of those albums that is great to blast while lying on the floor and let it roll over you, so why not melt into the floor beforehand?
Stavesacre – Speakeasy
Back when Stavesacre was at their peak, there was absolutely no conversation about casual cannabis use in Evangelical circles. I even remember bands getting a bad reputation because band members were seen smoking cigarettes backstage. So I’m not trying to suggest that Stavesacre were smoking weed when they wrote their landmark album Speakeasy.
But on the other hand, they were listening to a whole lot of HUM at the time…if weed inspired the riffs that inspired you, does the transitive property mean you’re inspired by the weed? I don’t know, but “Rivers Beneath” could almost pass for stoner metal, so take that as you will.
Thrice – The Alchemy Index
After injecting their frantic post-hardcore with electronica, folk, post rock, and sludge metal on Vhiessu, Thrice went even deeper and wrote a project that split each element of their sound into a different EP, each inspired by the four classical elements. I’m not saying you need to be high to think of something like that, but it might help.
As a listener, a little herbal enhancement could help blur the lines between styles and reveal facets of the band that would be invisible without a third eye.
The Dingees – The Crucial Conspiracy
These ska-punkers were both more political and reggae-influenced than most of their contemporaries. While The Insyderz were singing worship songs, The Dingees were talking about poverty, racism, and materialism.
I’m not saying they were lighting it up, but there’s no way they were this inspired by the music of Jamaica without being familiar with Rastafarianism, and specifically the Rastafarian belief that ganja can help open up your spirit to better commune with God. They certainly seemed a lot more mellow than the other Christian ska bands…
Neutral MilK Hotel – In The Aeroplane Over the Sea
Is Neutral Milk Hotel a Christian band? Probably not, but he does belt out the line “I love you Jesus Christ” on the second track, so that’s close enough for me. Not to mention the running narrative of inventing a time machine so he can go back in time to save Anne Frank from the Holocaust, which sounds like a goal born out of a rather paranoid smoke session.
Unless he actually did it…
Anathallo – Floating World
Anathallo’s “Marching band gone wild” ethos made for some of the most dazzling music I’ve ever heard. Songs don’t have verses or choruses as much as they have movements and motifs, utilizing oddball instruments like horns, Melodicas, bells, and even scissors to fill in their rambling anything-goes arrangements.
I’m not going to suggest that this ethos was more inspired by THC than spiritual ecstasy—you certainly can’t deny the latter. But a little bit of the chronic could take an already mind-blowing album and stretch it to the corners of perception.
P.O.D. – Fundamental Elements of Southtown
Sonny Sandoval once said in the early 2000s that he smoked enough weed in his high school years to last a lifetime, but c’mon, Sonny: you really expect me to believe that a dude from California with dreadlocks who constantly refers to God as “Jah” hasn’t occasionally still hit the bong?
Morella’s Forest – Super DeluXe
Shoegaze practically induces an altered state on its own. But that doesn’t stop tons of shoegaze fans from adding a physical high to the already trippy soundscapes. Super Deluxe, the debut album from Tooth and Nail’s Morella’s Forest, is one of the finest shoegaze albums to come out of Christendom, and it has all of the mind-bending guitar effects you would want while feeling glonky and looking for a good record to run over you.
A Hope for Home – In Abstraction
Traditionally speaking, toner metal makes extensive use of heavily distorted guitars, slow tempos, long run times, and extended instrumental passages. Now, I don’t know if A Hope For Home was on grass when they wrote their final album, In Abstraction, but I do know that it checks all of those boxes.
Only two of the songs are shorter than six minutes as they offer immense walls of crushing guitar distortion at a pace that rarely breaks 80bpm. It may have come down on Facedown records, but it sounds far more like Sleep or Cult of Luna than it does Impending Doom or Zao.
Five Iron Frenzy – Quantity is Job 1 EP
Two words: Pants Opera.
Plus FIF is from Colorado, one of the first states to legalize recreational use.
Those are my guesses, but what about you? What Christian-ish bands are secretly huge stoners, or make music for stoners? Drop a comment with your baseless speculations.