There are no rules for writing a good rock song. While there have been bands that deal with the seedier side of life, some of the most universal songs in the rock canon have been about peeling back the layers of yourself and trying to get to the heart of what makes you human. The mantra is sex, drugs and rock and roll, and more than a few bands have been known to indulge themselves from time to time.
In every decade of rock music, bands have been known to write songs that have a little something to do with narcotics, whether it’s about how much they love that high touch or the pain of be controlled by it. While each of these songs has some drug commonality, there’s also a lot more depth to each of these songs than their love of getting fucked.
For every song that has to do with the euphoria that accompanies a drug high, there are others who see this addiction as a real disease, always having their hands on their nerves and never stopping for a second. From the dangers of cigarettes to some of the hardest things you’ll encounter down the line, each of these songs has a message that goes beyond the terrors of narcotics. It’s a dangerous profession to enter the rock world, and you better be careful not to get too caught up in the madness.
When The British Invasion started to come to fruition, The Rolling Stones couldn’t exactly be called backing vocals or anything. Conceived as the nastier version of what the Beatles were meant to be, the songs of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had a lot more menace in their delivery, whether it was sexual frustration on Satisfaction or the dark vision of life in Paint it Black. There are countless drug songs in their arsenal, but Mother’s Little Helper is actually more of a cautionary tale.
Written just as Mick and Keith were starting to ditch blues covers, this song tells the story of a mother who needs a little help keeping everything together each day, resorting to taking rods and her. giving you the energy to keep going throughout the day. The whole thing almost feels like a commercial, but things start to take a turn mid-song when you see her get addicted to them, leading to the final verse where she overdoses and dies with them still in her hand.
There’s definitely a bit of a sarcastic attitude to the lyrics half the time, but it’s also a bit of self-commentary, with the Stones themselves about to embark on their own self-destruction streak just after completing these sessions. It can be a drag on getting older, but there’s a price to pay when you find yourself drawn to that little yellow pill again and again.