welcome back to the Skaject folks! today we’re taking a look at another Southern California band, and another band that has seen a lot of recognition in the broader music scene – Sublime. formed in 1988, they release their debut record 40 oz. To Freedom, in 1992. let’s check it out!

top of the record is Waiting For My Ruca, a track about pining for an unfaithful girl. neat opening track, and the intro shows a very sample-heavy approach that we will see across the record. neat song. a victim of their approach to sampling is Get Out!, the second track on the record, which was withdrawn from the record due to licensing issues. solid track – its got a warm vibe that contrasts with the relationshipy to his home that the lyrics describe, and the way the samples flip like changing channels is an interesting way to underscore that. 40 oz. To Freedom is a bit of a reaction to that, and a running theme of the record, where vocalist Bradley Nowell describes drinking to escape relationship issues. the guitar on the bridge here is very neat, and very jam band-y. Smoke Two Joints is a cover of a Toyes track, and i really like their approach to this one. a song about what it says on the tin. We’re Only Gonna Die For Our Arrogance is a cover of a Bad Religion track. it looks like the original version of this track used a sample from The Network in the bridge, which i am kinda bummed the version of the song i listened to excluded. either way, killer cover. Don’t Push is a fun track, a bit of a rambling song but touching on a lot of influences and providing a bit of perspective on where Nowell is writing from. 5446 Thats My Number / Ball and Chain is a split track, where the first half is a cover of a Toots & the Maytals track about getting arrested for possession of weed, and the back half is about not wanting a traditional family-style relationship and valuing freedom instead. interesting decision to combine them. Badfish is a track about getting drawn into using drugs, using a metaphor of fish in a reef. i really like this one – strong laid back reggae beat here. Let’s Go Get Stoned is another meandering song, musing on an unsatisfying relationship. New Thrash is fine. its fuzzy in ways that arent really my jam, but i do respect the energy it’s bringing. Scarlet Begonias is a cover (with modifications) of a Grateful Dead track, which explains a lot of the jammier influences ive been picking up on, haha. neat song. Live at E’s is a fun, heavily dub influenced track. really like the back and forth verses here, and bassist Eric Wilson’s verse cracks me up every time “i dont belong on the mic, talk to Brad”. D.J.’s a musing on the music scene around them. neat song, and i really like the reference to A Message To You Rudy, which i know best from the Special cover. Chica Mi Tipo has nearly the whole song in Spanish, and goes over an encounter with a sex worker. Right Back is neat. not too many thoughts, but its nice. What Happened opens with some neat horns, and keeps bringing in with the horns from Tequila, and yknow what, it kinda works for me. the track goes over the morning after a bender, trying to remember how the night before went. New Song’s fine. the effects on the vocals dont really work, imo, but the track does some neat stuff musically. Ebin is a blazin track about a friend who’s fallen in with a bad crowd, to say the least. Date Rape keeps a similarly agressive energy – i feel very conflicted on these two. musically, i think they speak the most to me, especially Date Rape, which is the most ska punky of the two. that being said, Ebin’s just not super interesting to me lyrically, and the moral of Date Rape being “dont rape people or you’ll get raped in prison” is a bit reductive, even as a punchline. i could see my opinion on either of these changing in the future, but my reservations are enough to keep them off my loved list for now. Hope, a Descendents cover, is neat musically, but, continuing the trend, i dont love the lyrics, haha. KRS-One is a soft, acoustic tribute to rapper KRS-One, essentially thanking him for bringing awareness of social issues to a greater audience, including Nowell. Rivers of Babylon is cover of a song by The Melodians. another more acoustic driven song, nice way to bring the record to a close, as Thanx, the final track, is just a long list of folks the band wants to thank. very fun.

faves – Smoke Two Joints, We’re Only Gonna Die For Our Arrogance, Badfish, What Happened
dislikes –

i had a good time with this record. the musical styles ranged pretty wildly from reggae and ska influences to more punk and hardcore vibes, with a ton of variety in the middle, and the thematic content was equally varied. plenty of fun silly songs, and many more that dealt with more serious topics, but i think the throughline here being a sense of aimlessness and the desire to make an impact but feeling of inability in making any kind of real change is a pretty solid throughline on the record – even the title references drinking your problems away.

i also really appreciated the way they wore their influences on their sleeves – even without Thanx, which names a TON of bands they were influenced by, there are many covers and samples on this record so it’s not hard to see the DNA showing here.

that being said, i think on the whole i appreciated this without loving it. i am very interested to see them take these disparate sounds and see how they focus them.

40 oz. to Freedom – 6/10

next week we check out Rancid’s debut release, their self-titled EP, Rancid!

previous: Brand New Day | next: Rancid

this is the first Sublime record | next: Robbin’ the Hood

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