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The 40 Greatest Stoner Albums

From Pink Floyd and the Grateful Dead to Massive Attack and the Flaming Lips

40 Greatest Stoner Albums

In celebration of Rolling Stone‘s pot-centric new issue, we present this fully-baked list of the 40 best stoner albums ever. Our picks range from 1970s black-light warhorses to keyboard-drenched, slow-toke faves from the 2000s, with enough variety to soundtrack any kind of weed buzz. Our criteria? We wanted albums that were especially great for blazing along with, but also just plain great, period – meaning they also had to sound awesome when you’re not high as a giraffe.

By Jon Dolan, Patrick Doyle, Joe Gross, Will Hermes, Christian Hoard, Michaelangelo Matos and Jonathan Ringen

My Morning Jacket Z

Courtesy of ATO Records

23

My Morning Jacket, ‘Z’

Underappreciated as vapo-session soundtrackers, MMJ have actually made a few classic 4:20 LPs. But this is the most perfectly-realized. "Gideon" is resplendent with meteor-shower guitars; "Dondante" is a slo-mo joint that explodes your head halfway through. But most surprising are the reggae grooves of "Off the Record" and "Wordless Chorus" – the latter an unlikely dub session filled with Jim James' ecstatically post-verbal falsetto wailing. Puff enough, and dude's gorgeous gibberish will sound like the wisdom of the ages.

My Bloody Valentine Loveless

Courtesy of Creation Records

22

My Bloody Valentine, ‘Loveless’

Is it the ultimate shoegaze album? Absolutely. But also perfect for sitting on the couch, cranking it to 11 and the letting shuddering guitar noise ("Only Shallow"), proto-jungle drum breaks ("Soon") and enormous waves of fuzz and howl (pretty much all of it) amplify your high. The vocals are just buried enough to both inspire a few rounds of "what did she just say?" and then make you realize you don’t much care.

Massive Attack Protection

Courtesy of Virgin Records

21

Massive Attack, ‘Protection’

Protection is where these Bristol, England trip-hop masters refined their singular blend of beat science, soul music and the part of rave culture that happens at 5 a.m. after the dancing is over, when you are trying to calm down. And if you like this (and living in a blue cloud), you'll love this album's brilliant spin-offs, like Mad Professor's remix LP No Protection and Tricky’s Maxinquaye, a.k.a. the best one-night-stand-while-fucked-up album ever.

Black Sabbath Paranoid

Courtesy of Vertigo Records

20

Black Sabbath, ‘Paranoid’

For more than 40 years, Paranoid has been perfect for a miserable, rainy afternoon – just you and your dragon-shaped bong. One of the greatest heavy metal albums ever made, with one of the oddest covers (a war pig!), it features such lumbering metal classics as "Iron Man," "War Pigs" and "Fairies Wear Boots," written while Ozzy Osbourne and Geezer Butler were reportedly high as monkeys. And then there's the title, that sad side effect of too many such afternoons.

Augustus Pablo East Of The River Nile

Courtesy of Message Records

19

Augustus Pablo, ‘East of the River Nile’

Dub music might be the most accurate-ever musical translation of stoned brainwaves. In the hands of Augustus Pablo, who transformed his signature instrument, the melodica, from kindergarten singalong helper to the sonic equivalent of an indica-packed ice bong, dub reached its most sublime heights. This instrumental set is his chill-out masterpiece, with productions by dub's two grandmasters, King Tubby and Lee "Scratch" Perry, along with grooves by a Seventies reggae A-team and occasional vocal fragments that surface like half-formed thoughts before slipping away again. Potent.

Talking Heads Remain in Light

Courtesy of Sire Records

18

Talking Heads, ‘Remain in Light’

A few generations have been blown away by this record, from Eighties post-punks to early '00s Brooklynites, who ripped it off mercilessly. (Phish loved it, too, once covering the whole album live.) The heady mix of quasi-African and Arabic rhythms, New Wave twitchiness and David Byrne's existential crises ("Once in a Lifetime" is only the most famous) somehow also seem joyous and even blissful. An album designed for both deep contemplation and maximum head-nod.

Kraftwerk Trans Europe Express

Courtesy of Kling Klang

17

Kraftwerk, ‘Trans Europe Express’

It was recorded in 1977, but this cornerstone of both hip-hop and EDM still sounds like the future – as imagined by a bunch of well-groomed Germans chilling in an Amsterdam hash bar. "Europe Endless" conjures a procession of chrome-plated cyber-gnomes, "Showroom Dummies" sounds like a wake 'n' bake trip to the Berlin’s KaDeWe superstore. But the title track, which informed Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock" and a generation of breakdancers, is like sneaking vaporizer one-hits on the Acela train en route to . . . damn yo, what's our stop again?