One Day at a Time - Joe Walsh. Joe Walsh clearly references alcohol addiction in this song, singing about someone who is first to arrive at a party and last to leave and who finally admits to having a problem. Walsh now openly supports recovery and raises awareness about addiction. He is sober following a past battle with drug and alcohol abuse, and he has described vodka and cocaine as once having been his “higher powers.”
The Drinking Song - Loudon Wainwright III. He pulled out of the tailspin and, after encouragement from Elton John, an early cheerleader, in 2002 Wainwright entered rehab. He has stayed drug free and not touched alcohol since the death of his mother, folk singer Kate McGarrigle, in January 2010.
Recovery - James Arthur- “Recovery” has a special meaning to Arthur, who has admitted to having struggled with addiction in the past. He has stated that at one point, he would smoke 15 joints before going to bed. Since recovering, he says that he can be “present.”
Sober - Pink. In this hit song, artist Pink describes the benefits of recovery. She suggests that sobriety makes her feel safe, and she questions, “How do I feel this good sober?” Despite a history of using club drugs like ecstasy and methamphetamine, and suffering an overdose in her younger years, Pink remains clean and wildly successful today.
Starting Over - Macklemore, In “Starting Over,” Macklemore sings of the struggle of being a celebrity who has achieved sobriety, as he has no privacy and may be seen as a liar if he relapses. He discusses the pain that addiction inflicts upon loved ones, as he describes disappointing his father and causing his girlfriend to cry. He also talks of being an example of getting sober and starting life over again.
Under the Bridge - Red Hot Peppers. In this tune, the artists refer to drug use, singing, “Under the bridge downtown is where I drew some blood.” This is suggestive of injecting drugs and perhaps of being homeless or on the streets from drug abuse.
Why did you leave us- NF.
Rehab. Amy Winehouse. In this ballad, Amy Winehouse demonstrates just how dangerous a negative view of treatment can be. She sings of not wanting to go to rehab, and she states that she doesn’t have time to go, and her father doesn’t think she needs rehab. Unfortunately, Winehouse succumbed to alcohol addiction in 2011, dying from alcohol poisoning.1
The More I Drink - Blake Shelton. This song describes how people may be teased for choosing to remain sober. In “The More I Drink,” Shelton describes a man whose friends tease him because he is drinking Coke at the bar instead of consuming alcohol with everyone else. The man explains that he cannot stop at just one drink, so he chooses not to drink any alcohol.
Hate Me - Blue October. In this tune, Blue October sings of being sober for three months and thanks a significant other for helping with sobriety. The song also highlights how addiction can harm relationships, with the lyrics, “The one thing that always tore us apart is the one thing I won’t touch again.”
Bad - U2. U2’s “Bad” seems to be about the evils of heroin addiction, and they express a desire to help those who are struggling as they sing, “If I could through myself set your spirit free, I’d lead your heart away.” U2’s bassist Adam Clayton has publicly reported battling with alcohol addiction, and he has stated that he had to leave it behind to achieve success. He attended rehab with encouragement from others in the music industry.1