So you’re looking for some new songs to smoke to? Say no more.
I’ve put together this list of some of my personal favorites. You’ll find soul, funk, hip hop, indie, rock, electronica, jazz, a dash of psychedelic country (yes, there is such a thing) — a little something for everyone. Some are old, some new. Some are pretty obscure, some are chart toppers. I hope you’ll discover something new, or re-discover an old, forgotten favorite.
Without further ado, here are 15 great songs to smoke to:
1. Dawes — “Living in the Future”
Dawes is a band from southern California known for their polished songwriting, clever lyrics and rockin’ grooves. This track from their latest album Passwords has all of the above, with some poignant social commentary thrown in for good measure. Great for either rocking out, or just chillin’ and contemplating. Whatever your mood calls for.
2. Maggie Rogers — “Alaska”
The lovely and talented Maggie Rogers is an up-and-coming singer songwriter from Maryland. “Alaska” was her first big hit back in 2016. Everything on this track is silky smooth — the beat, the production, the vibe, the vocals… if you like this, check out her other singles, “On and Off” and “Light On”.
3. Sturgill Simpson — “Turtles All The Way Down”
Sturgill Simpson made a huge splash in 2014 with his second album Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, which he recorded and released independently. This track is a perfect example of how he takes a classic outlaw country sound and blends in psychedelic sounds and themes. And that voice! Man, that voice…
4. Hippo Campus — “Souls”
Another up-and-coming indie rock artist, Hippo Campus is a band that hails from St. Paul, Minnesota. Their sound combines liquid baselines, playful riffs, and lovely vocals with poetic lyrics that are often much darker than the music they’re set to. If you like this one, check out “Passenger” and “Bambi”.
5. Tash Sultana — “Notion”
Tash Sultana is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Melbourne, Australia. Sultana blew up in 2016 after releasing the Notion EP. Watch her build the title track, one layer at a time, in this remarkable video recorded live in her bedroom. These haunting vocals and screaming guitar licks will stick with you long after the song is over… Check out all her “bedroom sessions” or her Tiny Desk performance for more. You won’t regret it.
6. Robert Delong — “Global Concepts”
I don’t get into electronic music very much. Believe me, I’ve tried. But every once in awhile an artist or song will come along and catch my ear and just blow me away. This is one of those songs. And be sure to actually watch this music video too — it’s perfectly timed, and as far as I can tell shot all in one extended take. Pretty impressive. It will definitely “make you fuckin’ dance.”
7. Talking Heads — “Road to Nowhere”
We’re shifting gears with this one; away from modern indie-rock, and back to the “golden age” of 1985. (Quotation marks used to indicate extreme sarcasm.) The Talking Heads stood apart from other artists of the era, mainly due to frontman David Byrne’s fearlessly experimental lyrics and vocals. Seriously, this dude is weird. But I love it! If you do too, you should check out the entirety of this album, Little Creatures, especially “And She Was” and “Television Man”.
8. Greta Van Fleet — “Safari Song”
No, this didn’t come out in the 70’s. This track from Greta Van Fleet’s debut EP, Black Smoke Rises, actually came out in 2017. But they have that classic rock vibe down so damn good, and the singer sounds so much like a young Robert Plant, that you could be forgiven for thinking this is some lost Led Zeppelin recording that was discovered in a studio vault somewhere. But no matter when it came out, it’s good smokin’ music for sure.
9. Blues Traveler — “Brother John”
The next stop on our musical time-travel tour takes us to 1994 and the release of four, the aptly-named fourth album from jam band Blues Traveler. You probably remember the hit singles “Hook” and “Run Around”, but the deep cuts are where it’s at. I mean, listen to these guys cut loose on this track: those guitars are on fire, and John Popper plays that harmonica like a man possessed! It’s rock, it’s blues, it’s soul… it’s pure magic.
10. Bootsy Collins — “I’d Rather Be With You”
This time we’re going way back to 1976 and the release of Bootsy Collins’ first solo album (sort of…? George Clinton produced, and has song writing credits on almost every track, including this one), Stretchin’ Out in Bootsy’s Rubber Band. Solo or not, this is a funk classic, the highlight of which is this humorous, soulful, erotic, and funky-as-hell ballad. This is music to smoke to, as well as music to fuck to. I also recommend the closing track, “Vanish in Our Sleep”.
11. Leon Bridges — “Beyond”
Leon Bridges is another “artist-out-of-time,” who lays down classic soul and R&B sounds so good you’d think Berry Gordy produced it. But this track comes not from Motown, but from Bridges’ sophomore album Good Thing, released in 2018. If you’ve ever been in love, really in love, this song will bring tears to your eyes. Especially if you’re high.
12. Chance the Rapper — “Paranoia”
Chance the Rapper makes the kind of hip hop even hippies can appreciate. This track from his album Acid Rap features a lush-yet-subtle soundscape, and a slow, minimalist beat that makes it perfect chillin’ music. It also highlights Chance’s trademark flow and thoughtful, often drug-inspired lyrics. All of which makes this the perfect song to smoke to, whether hangin’ with your friends or kicking back all by yourself.
13. Run the Jewels — “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry”
If you like rap/hip hop, you need to be listening to Run the Jewels. Period. Killer Mike and El-P are two of the sickest rappers in the game right now, and El-P drops some of the hardest beats known to man. This track from their second album is a perfect example of their signature style: genius lyrics and murderous flow spit over a throbbing beat that changes up when you least expect it. Like Mikes says, “I’m blowin’ on crippy while readin’ inscriptions that written by Egyptians while sippin’ on whiskey… hey baby you wit me?”
14. Snarky Puppy — “What About Me?”
Switching gears yet again, we’re taking things into serious fusion-jazz territory with this track. Snarky puppy is a rotating ensemble of about 40 musicians who collaborate in the studio and on tour. This video was recorded live, and features flawless performances from everyone involved. But drummer Larnell Lewis stand out even in an all-star, virtuoso ensemble such as this — just listen to him break it down, and pick it back up for seven minutes without missing a beat, laying the foundation for everyone else to build on… Amazing!
15. Alice Coltrane — “Turiya and Ramakrishna”
I’m gonna leave on a mellow note with this bluesy jazz piano composition by Alice Coltrane, wife of the legendary saxophonist John Coltrane, and an outstanding musician in her own right. From her third album, Ptah, the El Daoud, this track also features Ron Carter on bass and Ben Riley on drums and percussion. It just doesn’t get any more soulful and sultry than this, folks. Light up, lay back, and let Alice and the boys take you on a journey beyond the beyond…
…Ahhh. That’s it for now. Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed the tunes. What are your favorite songs to smoke to? Tell me in the comments below. You never know, they might just be featured on the next list 🙂