There’s no set of rules for how to write a good rock song. While there have been bands that deal with the more seedy 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 crux of what makes you human. The mantra is sex, drugs, and rock and roll though, and more than a few bands have been known to indulge themselves from time to time.
Across each decade of rock music, bands have been known to write songs that have a little something to do with narcotics, whether that’s talking about how much they love that contact high or the pains of being controlled by it. Although every one of these songs have common threads about drugs, there’s also a lot more depth that goes into every one of these songs other than their love of getting screwed up.
For every song that has to do with the euphoria that comes with a drug high, there are others that see that addiction as a real sickness, always having its hand on your nerves and never letting up for a second. From the dangers of cigarettes to some of the harder stuff that you get down the line, every one of these songs has a message that goes beyond just the terrors of narcotics. It’s a dangerous profession going into the rock world, and you better be careful not to get hooked into the wild ride too much.
10. Mother's Little Helper - Rolling Stones
When The British Invasion started to come to fruition, the Rolling Stones couldn't exactly be called choir boys or anything. Being crafted as the nastier version of what the Beatles were supposed to be, the songs of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had a lot more menace in their delivery, whether that be about sexual frustration on Satisfaction or the dark outlook on 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 right when Mick and Keith were starting to leave the blues covers behind, this song tells the story of a mother needing a bit of help keeping everything together each day, resorting to taking uppers and giving her the energy to keep going throughout the day. The whole thing seems almost like an advertisement, but things start taking a turn halfway through the song when you see her getting hooked on them, leading to the final verse where she gets an overdose and passes away with them still in her hand.
There's definitely a bit of a snide attitude towards the lyrics half the time, but it's also a bit of self commentary as well, with the Stones themselves about to go on their own self destructive streak right after they finished these sessions. It might be a drag getting old, but there's a price that comes when you find yourself drawn to that little yellow pill over and over again.