The title track to Metallica’s 1986 album, “Master of Puppets” is one of the great drug songs. No, not a “drugs are so fun” song or a “let’s listen to this while high” song, but rather one that reminds you of the downside to the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. I suspect that if you actually listened to “Master of Puppets” while on drugs, it might really mess you up. (Though I further suspect that it would depend on what you were on.) At more than eight minutes long, the thrash metal masterpiece posits drugs as the master and us as the puppets—in fact, the thing mimics the ever-repeating pattern of an addict. It kicks off with that memorable three-note descending riff and chugs ahead with the agitated, expectant feel of a junkie on the prowl, for smack or the money with which to buy it. At three or so minutes in arrives a beautiful, placid (by comparison) guitar solo—the pleasure of the high itself. Then we’re back on the hunt. The numbness is gone and the “MASTER. MASTER.” is in control yet again.
(Browse the All-TIME 100 Songs and more than 100 other pop culture lists on TIME’s Populist iPad app)
Next ‘It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)’