Day Tripper: Is Music Really a Drug?

Whether the musicians themselves took drugs to enhance creativity or the listeners themselves took drugs to enhance listening pleasure, it seems that both interlink with one another to create complete euphoria.

Whether or not you are serious takers of the stuff, it is known to many that drugs can provide some assistance in listening to music. More often than not, drugs have been the gateway to opening up brand new scenes in the music industry.

Floyd and Beatles – All the References

You cannot certainly imagine some of The Beatles‘ later work without a touch of LSD to go with it or even The Chainsmokers who may have been chain-smoking something themselves making that repetitive house music. Which, by the way, you couldn’t possibly carry on listening to without taking some sort of MDMA.

From Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon to The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, we all have that one album that we instantly snap our fingers to and say, “that’s the one!” when someone mentions the word “drug” and “music” in the same sentence.

To really understand the complex relationship music and drugs have however, all you have to do is just Google just how many drug references there have been through the decades. I don’t think it has necessarily faltered throughout the years at all, either.

Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds – …high as a kite it seems…

Floyd takes listeners to the “Dark Side” of themselves …

Impact of Music – with, or without drugs

Now, of course, listening to music without being under the influence, can be very rewarding, too. It can ultimately reduce stress, generate a feeling of belonging, and generally make you a far more pleasant and happier person to be around.

Of course, you get the usual pothead stating that listening to music is “pretty deep” and allows you to practically come up with compelling – but quite frankly – nonsensical nonsense in your vivid imagination. Especially so now, since your brain is whirring twice as fast.

Drugs + Identity

Studies with SCIENCE have shown that it ultimately evokes feelings of wonder, power and a tenderness to be a part of a social bond with one another, creating a strong sense of identity. So yeah basically, feeling “pretty deep,” I guess. It also suggests that taking LSD while listening to music, affects a part of the brain leading to an increase in “musically inspired complex visual imagery.”

Accepting Identity Allows us to Move Forward

Yeah, you certainly got that right. All you need to see that for yourself, is just view any strobe lighting at any house music festival – you’ll have this “complex visual imagery” all on your own, without the need for any drugs.

Now, this is all well and good to see the correlation between music and drugs, but to go far and say that music is a drug? Let’s go a bit deeper.

Effect of Dopamine

Now, it is common knowledge that when you listen to your favourite song, a rush of dopamine – a feeling of intense pleasure – is triggered from the brain in response to this feeling of music. It is important to note that this same chemical is released when you are experiencing more tangible activities such as having sex, eating or – taking drugs.

Of course, science just had to get involved with all of this and do some serious studies. Undertaking studies with “neutral music” (music they hadn’t selected) where volunteers had to notify the test when “chills” happened in the music, showed that;

…[the fact that] dopamine is also involved with our reactions to an abstract, aesthetic stimulus such as music might help explain, they wrote, “why music is of such high value across all human societies.”  

Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times, 2011

At the end of the day, that is what it is all about. The overall enjoyment of the music and to be honest, the willingness for us to put this aesthetically-pleasing concept on such a high pedestal in our social groups.

I mean, it’s easier to get when you notice that a good friendship can be determined if they share the same taste in music or not.

Music and Drugs – What’s the link, exactly?

Now, after this, you can see why there is a deep correlation between music and drugs. They bounce off one another.

Without drugs, music fuels our brains with dopamine.

With drugs, music fuels our brains with even more dopamine, eventually feeding us into a frenzy of strobe lights, thought-provoking concepts and a deeper significance to our identity – “I totally connect with the song on a personal level, dude.”

With the evolvement of us bringing drugs into it, we have simply found further ways to enhance our experience listening to music. And I’m all on board with that.

To Conclude …

At the end of it all, music is something that the whole society can sit down and enjoy.

We listen to it, we make it, we even make love to it. We as a species, love it and we connect to it on a personal level.

Whether that is the first heartbreak song or the first love song, we keep coming back to it and we love it, willing ourselves to connect to this memory for such an emotional journey. Remind you of anything?

Some further reading…

https://www.upressonline.com/2014/02/how-music-can-affect-the-brain-like-a-drug/

https://theconversation.com/the-link-between-drugs-and-music-explained-by-science-89132

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2011-jan-09-la-heb-music-dopamine-20110109-story.html

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