You may have heard that some of the biggest pop hits of the 90's were also secretly about addictive drug Crystal Meth. We rounded up some of the most shocking examples.
1. Semi-Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind
Probably best known as the biggest hit most people don't realize is about Crystal Meth, singer Stephan Jenkins name-checks the drug in a quickly mumbled verse leading to many awkward pauses when karaoke singers read the lyrics for the first time.
2. She's So High by Tal Bachman
What is she so high on? A fat pipe full of Crystal.
3. Sex and Candy by Marcy Playground
The "Candy" in the title and lyrics of this song in-fact is referring to how Crystal Meth can resemble rock candy.
4. Groove is in the Heart by Deee Lite
The "Groove" of Groove is in the Heart is a big, fat rock of Crank, while the "Heart" is a soda can repurposed as a pipe. More importantly, the slide whistle represents the rush of the high and intense comedown.
5. Spice Up Your Life by The Spice Girls
You would be wrong if you thought Spice Up Your Life is encouraging listeners to start using Meth, instead the song is imploring the world to start cooking Meth. Lines in the chorus "Slam it to the left" and "Shake it to the right" refer to key steps in the production of Meth. It was for this reason that this song was played during a key moment in season three of Breaking Bad.
6. Zombie by The Cranberries
While the official story released by the band paints Zombie as a protest song about the IRA bombing of Warrington, singer Dolores O'Riordan has also stated in interviews that the titular "Zombie" can also refer to a Friend of Tina.
7. Only Wanna Be With You by Hootie and the Blowfish
While a casual interpretation might peg the lady Darius Rucker is singing to as a stand-in for Crystal Meth, a deeper dive reveals that every noun in the song ("a man named Gray", Bob Dylan, dolphins) acts as a proxy for the drug.
8. Building a Mystery by Sarah McLachlan
In this case of this Adult Contemporary hit, the Crystal Meth influence comes not from the song but the music video where a tweaker builds an elaborate art display meant to show Ms. McLachlan what the experience of smoking Crystal is like.
Ironically, McLachlan's anthem for mopey closeted teenage boys and about-to-be-killed puppies, Angel, actually is about Crystal Meth.
9. Iris by Goo Goo Dolls
Given that it was originally released on the City of Angels movie soundtrack, many assumed Iris to be from the perspective of Nicolas Cage's angel character from the film. In reality, the song had been written years earlier as an ode to Crystal Meth while singer (and Speed Queen) Johnny Rezenik was mid-peak.
10. Macarena by Los Del Rio
The rhythmic dance that accompanied this hit wedding and school dance number is patterned after the physical gyrations of tweakers that Los Del Rio encountered on the streets of their Spanish hometown.
11. Zoot Suit Riot by Cherry Poppin' Daddies
While most of the information on the late-90's terrorist plot to poison America's drinking water remains classified, urban legend has it that Mexican drug cartels were able to gain access to water treatment plants outside Los Angeles and lace the water supply with amphetamines. LA residents, finding themselves in such a newfound state of constant euphoria, took to swing dancing in the streets and Old Navy commercials. This lead directly to the Swing Revival that soon swept the nation.
No song exemplifies this better than Zoot Suit Riot by failed ska band Cherry Poppin' Daddies. It is also rumored that in order to entrance crowds at their concerts outside of LA, the Daddies used actual Crystal Meth smoke in their smoke machines during their show and the lyrics "You got me in a sway / And I want to swing you dove" refer to this practice.
12. One Week by Barenaked Ladies
"Chickity China the Chinese chicken"? What else would they be talking about?
Think you can recognize the signs?
Here are some more 90's songs secretly about Crystal Meth, see if you can figure out the hidden meanings!
- Mmm-bop by Hanson
- Smooth by Santana (featuring Rob Thomas)
- Tubthumping by Chumbawumba
- Steal My Sunshine by Len
- Waterfalls by TLC
- Two Princes by Spin Doctors
- I Believe I Can Fly by R. Kelly
- Walking on the Sun by Smash Mouth
- ...Baby One More Time by Britney Spears
- Men in Black by Will Smith
- The Power of Love by Mariah Carey
- Mambo No. 5 by Lou Bega
- Torn by Natalie Imbruglia
- Blue (Da Ba Dee) by Eiffel 65