Year 5, Day 39: A “Sublime” album from Sublime

Year 5, Day 39: Sublime – Sublime

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Track List

  1. Garden Grove
  2. What I Got
  3. Wrong Way
  4. Same in the End
  5. April 29, 1992 (Miami)
  6. Santeria
  7. Seed
  8. Jailhouse
  9. Pawn Shop
  10. Paddle Out
  11. The Ballad of Johnny Butt
  12. Burritos
  13. Under My Voodoo
  14. Get Ready
  15. Caress Me Down
  16. What I Got (Reprise)
  17. Doin’ Time

About the Album

Sublime is the eponymous third and final album from American ska band, Sublime. The album was recorded from February to  May 1996 and released on July 30th 1996 through MCA Records. The album peaked at number thirteen on the Billboard 200. The album is certified 5x platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Thoughts on the Album

So here we arrive at the final two albums, and what a good one we have today. A loading screen for the game Rock Band Blitz states that “The size of your music library is equivalent to your worth as a person” or something like that. If that was true, then I’d be a pretty important person. I dug deep into the vast recesses of my music library for today’s album. If you took California hardcore punk, fused it with west coast hip hop/rap, blended it with reggae , and then melted it all together with ska and skate punk, you’d get Sublime and their third and final album, Sublime.

It’s hard to believe, but not many bands go out on top, in legendary status. I can only think of a few: Paul Weller did so with The Jam‘s The GiftOperation Ivy and Energy, or even The Refused and The Shape of Punk to Come. That’s just to name a few from the punk genre. But Sublime does it with their eponymous third and final album. One of their most recognizable songs, What I Got comes from this album. An acoustic number filled with hip-hop and reggae beats, almost making it feel like a true summertime hit (which it was). When you think of the band SublimeWhat I Got comes to mind. It is a signature song.

Wrong Way, takes that ska punk and builds off of it. What gives it that ska feel is the horns that play during the bridge. The bass work is excellent and powers the rhythm section as well. Another one of the singles that received massive airplay on the radio was SanteriaSanteria, is a track where the guitar takes center stage. It’s almost like a ska punk ballad. Complimenting the guitar, is the bass and rhythm section. A beautiful tone with just as strong lyrics, it’s easy to see why this song got/gets overlooked.

While What I Got has been featured in video games such as Saints Row IV and Rock Band 4Seed was featured on the soundtrack of Tony Hawk’s Underground. The track is a fast paced 130 second long track that alternates between hardcore and aggressive California punk and more mellow/easier going reggae stylings. Garden Grove, the album opener, opens up with an orchestrated piece. The orchestrated piece have throw you off, or even throw you for a loop and confuse you as to what type of album you are listening to. But don’t be confused or lost, the orchestra gives way to the band’s signature alternative rock sound with an upbeat, uptempo song.

Conclusion

What makes this album work, is Sublime‘s ability as a band to mic, match, and fuse different styles and sounds together and creating rhythm off them. For me, the album was about five or six songs too long. The reprise of What I Got should have been the album’s closer. It’s the same exact version as the lead single one, except it’s fully unplugged. But I digress. Sublime is one of those albums that defined the 1990’s. It was a decade defining album that still no band has come even remotely close to replicating. While there are some mediocre tracks (hence the “five or six fewer tracks comment”), some sheer laziness on production, and no real variation in mood, it still offers the best of the band’s ability and style. It’s an album that has the band go out on a high note, despite being cut down in their prime.

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