Sublime (album)

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Sublime is the third and final studio album by American ska punk band Sublime. Sublime (album)_sentence_0

Produced by Paul Leary and David Kahne, the album was released on July 30, 1996 in the United States by MCA Records. Sublime (album)_sentence_1

Sublime formed in 1988 in Long Beach, California by vocalist/guitarist Bradley Nowell, bassist Eric Wilson, and drummer Bud Gaugh. Sublime (album)_sentence_2

The trio toured heavily from their inception while developing their sound. Sublime (album)_sentence_3

Their first studio release—40 Oz. Sublime (album)_sentence_4 to Freedom (1992)—featured the single "Date Rape", which attracted heavy airplay in Southern California. Sublime (album)_sentence_5

MCA signed the band and distributed their second independent album, Robbin' the Hood, in 1994. Sublime (album)_sentence_6

By the time it came to record their major label debut, Nowell had been struggling with a heroin addiction. Sublime (album)_sentence_7

Sublime was recorded over a period of three months in Austin, Texas, in sessions characterized by heavy drug use and raucous partying. Sublime (album)_sentence_8

The album's musical style contains elements of punk rock, reggae, and ska, as well as dancehall, hip hop, and dub music, with tempos ranging wildly. Sublime (album)_sentence_9

Nowell's lyrical subject matter relates to relationships, prostitution, riots, and addiction. Sublime (album)_sentence_10

Nowell had been ejected from the recording near its completion, and was found dead of a heroin overdose in May 1996, two months prior to its release, leading to the band's dissolution. Sublime (album)_sentence_11

Bolstered by numerous hit singles, among them "What I Got", "Santeria", and "Wrong Way", the record proved enormously successful, despite the band being defunct and thus not promoting the album through touring. Sublime (album)_sentence_12

It sold over five million copies in the United States by the end of the decade, and it continues to be a popular catalog album. Sublime (album)_sentence_13

The album ushered in third wave ska, and etched Sublime into a permanent place among the stars of 1990s alternative rock. Sublime (album)_sentence_14

Critical reviews were positive, praising Nowell's songwriting ability and the album's musical variety. Sublime (album)_sentence_15

Sublime has since been listed as one of the most well-regarded albums of the 1990s by Spin and Rolling Stone. Sublime (album)_sentence_16

Background Sublime (album)_section_0

Sublime formed in Long Beach, California in 1988 by vocalist/guitarist Nowell, bassist Eric Wilson, and drummer Bud Gaugh. Sublime (album)_sentence_17

The group originated as a garage punk band, and they eventually began to infuse elements of reggae and ska over the course of their existence. Sublime (album)_sentence_18

The group formed playing backyard parties, playing for $250 and attracting crowds of 300–400 people. Sublime (album)_sentence_19

The band toured heavily over the ensuing years, leading to a major following among the beach-oriented surfing/skateboarding subcultures. Sublime (album)_sentence_20

By 1990, the band had become a mainstay along the Southern California coast scene, and Nowell dropped out of California State University Long Beach one semester shy of graduating. Sublime (album)_sentence_21

The trio recorded their debut album, 40 Oz. Sublime (album)_sentence_22 to Freedom, in 1992, selling the independent release at live performances. Sublime (album)_sentence_23

Local radio station KROQ began spinning the single "Date Rape" two years following its release, and Sublime rose to fame. Sublime (album)_sentence_24

By this point, the band had dropped "Date Rape" from their setlists, but the ensuing success of the single led 40 Oz. Sublime (album)_sentence_25

to place on Soundscan's alternative chart for 70 straight weeks. Sublime (album)_sentence_26

MCA signed the group shortly thereafter, releasing their second album Robbin' the Hood in 1994. Sublime (album)_sentence_27

The record was nevertheless carried by various independent distributors, which placed it in independent record shops, surf/skate shops, and "head shops", in a marketing effort designed to appeal to the band's fan base. Sublime (album)_sentence_28

The band also adopted the Internet as a viable promotional tool, distributing their albums through early online music retailers. Sublime (album)_sentence_29

Despite this, Nowell had developed an addiction to heroin; at live performances, he would often be unable to make it through sets. Sublime (album)_sentence_30

On several occasions, he would steal the band's equipment for a night's performance to pawn for drug money, knowing band manager Michael "Miguel" Happoldt would find a way to re-acquire the equipment. Sublime (album)_sentence_31

He used clonidine patches in an attempt to quit, determined to do so both before signing to MCA and before the birth of his son the following year. Sublime (album)_sentence_32

Robbin' the Hood performed well on college radio, and Sublime continued to grow in popularity, largely "on the back of the California punk explosion engendered by Green Day and the Offspring." Sublime (album)_sentence_33

Nowell's addiction worsened over the course of 1995–96; on May 25, 1996, Nowell died at age 28 in a San Francisco hotel room of a heroin overdose. Sublime (album)_sentence_34

According to one report, Gaugh had raided Nowell's stash and shot up while he was away; he awoke hours later beside the deceased Nowell in bed. Sublime (album)_sentence_35

Gaugh later told a reporter that "I thought, 'That was probably supposed to be me.'" Sublime (album)_sentence_36

Recording and production Sublime (album)_section_1

Sublime was largely recorded at Willie Nelson's Pedernales Studio in Austin, Texas between February and May 1996. Sublime (album)_sentence_37

Although he had previously attempted to stay clean, Nowell returned to using heroin, "more vigorously than ever." Sublime (album)_sentence_38

According to Leary, on some days, the band would arrive at 9am "with margaritas in one hand and instruments in the other," ready to record; on others, "they nearly burned the place down." Sublime (album)_sentence_39

Nowell was so addled with the drug that he was sent home by Leary before the recording process was complete. Sublime (album)_sentence_40

"There were times where someone had to go into the bathroom to see if Brad was still alive," he remarked. Sublime (album)_sentence_41

According to Nowell's father, it took his son three days to recover, commenting, "It was the worst I'd ever seen him." Sublime (album)_sentence_42

The album was originally intended to open with a cover of Bob Marley's "Trenchtown Rock", followed by "Doin' Time" - a loose cover of "Summertime" by George Gershwin. Sublime (album)_sentence_43

However, Sublime were initially unable to get the rights for "Summertime", so Nowell discarded "Doin' Time" as well as "Trenchtown Rock" entirely and re-sequenced the album. Sublime (album)_sentence_44

However, the band managed to gain the rights to the song before the album was released, and "Doin' Time" was added to the end of the tracklist at the 11th hour. Sublime (album)_sentence_45

In order to release the song using the Gershwin sample, the band had to agree to use the line "summertime" instead of "doin' time". Sublime (album)_sentence_46

However, the song was already recorded with the "doin' time" lyric, and lead singer Bradley Nowell had recently died of a heroin overdose. Sublime (album)_sentence_47

The lyric was re-recorded by Sublime's friend/producer Michael Happoldt singing "summertime". Sublime (album)_sentence_48

It is this version of the song that appears on the album. Sublime (album)_sentence_49

The album's original sequence, along with the original mix of "Doin' Time", was restored for the album's 10th Anniversary reissue. Sublime (album)_sentence_50

Music and composition Sublime (album)_section_2

Sublime features elements of punk rock, dub, hardcore punk, hip hop, reggae, blues, folk, ska and surf music. Sublime (album)_sentence_51

The album has been classified by critics as ska punk and alternative rock. Sublime (album)_sentence_52

Covered songs Sublime (album)_section_3

Sublime (album)_unordered_list_0

  • "Pawn Shop" is a cover of "War Deh Round A John Shop" by The Wailing Souls with modified lyrics.Sublime (album)_item_0_0
  • "What I Got" is based on Half Pint's "Loving" and features a similar melody to The Beatles's "Lady Madonna".Sublime (album)_item_0_1
  • Sublime also covers The Wailers' 1965 song "Jailhouse", written by Bunny Wailer, combining it with a partial cover of Tenor Saw's "Roll Call" in "Jailhouse".Sublime (album)_item_0_2
  • "The Ballad of Johnny Butt" is largely a cover of a Secret Hate song from their Vegetables Dancing + Live & More album.Sublime (album)_item_0_3
  • "Doin' Time" is a loose cover of the jazz standard "Summertime" by George Gershwin.Sublime (album)_item_0_4
  • "Get Ready" is largely based on Frankie Paul's 1987 single of the same name.Sublime (album)_item_0_5

Stolen elements Sublime (album)_section_4

Some of the album's original compositions also have stolen elements: Sublime (album)_sentence_53

Sublime (album)_unordered_list_1

  • While "April 29, 1992" is an original song, it features samples from "La Di Da Di" by Doug E. Fresh featuring MC Ricky D (a.k.a. Slick Rick), "Original Gangster of Hip-Hop" by Just-Ice, and "Shook One (Part 1)" by Mobb Deep.Sublime (album)_item_1_6
  • The heavy bass line of "Garden Grove" is based on Courtney Melody's 1988 7' single "A Ninja Mi Ninja", and a synth loop in the third verse is lifted from The Ohio Players' "Funky Worm."Sublime (album)_item_1_7
  • Much of the rhythm and melody of "Wrong Way" was borrowed from The Specials "It's Up To You" off their 1979 self-titled album.Sublime (album)_item_1_8
  • Part of the melody from "Seed" was taken from The Bel-Airs 1961 single "Mr. Moto" as well as "Lori Meyers" by NOFX.Sublime (album)_item_1_9
  • The guitar solo and chords in "Santeria" were a reuse of the ones in their song "Lincoln Highway Dub" featured on the previous album, Robbin' the Hood.Sublime (album)_item_1_10
  • "Burritos" is a reworked version of one of Sublime's earliest recordings called "Fighting Blindly", albeit with vastly different lyrics.Sublime (album)_item_1_11
  • The bass line of "Caress Me Down" features the famous Sleng Teng riddim from Wayne Smith's 1985 song "Under Me Sleng Teng" and lyrics and melody are primarily from the 1980s 12-inch single "Caress Me Down" by Clement Irie.Sublime (album)_item_1_12

Release Sublime (album)_section_5

Sublime was released in the United States on July 30, 1996, with releases in Europe following that October and in Australia and Japan in December. Sublime (album)_sentence_54

MCA drafted the band's former promotional team at Gasoline Alley (renaming the team Sublime Marketing) to promote Sublime through methods that played to the band's fan base. Sublime (album)_sentence_55

This marketing included posters and advance copies at independent shops, and advertisements in board-sport and alternative magazines. Sublime (album)_sentence_56

Promoting the album proved to be challenging due to Nowell's death, with no band to provide touring support or broadcast appearances. Sublime (album)_sentence_57

The album soon began to expand upon the band's surf/skate fan base, appealing to consumers not associated with that community. Sublime (album)_sentence_58

At least one retailer attributed this to Nowell's death, remarking to Billboard that "death sells," comparing a similar situation in which Roy Orbison's discography rose in sales following his passing. Sublime (album)_sentence_59

Eric Weissbard, in a Spin column, compared Nowell's posthumous success to that of Jonathan Larson, the composer of the Broadway musical Rent, who died the day before the musical's scheduled premiere earlier in the year. Sublime (album)_sentence_60

Billboard deemed the band's posthumous success "a tale of tragic irony." Sublime (album)_sentence_61

Abbey Konowitch, vice president of MCA Records, remarked to trades on the album's timing: Sublime (album)_sentence_62

Eric Wilson, the band's bassist, was "more pragmatic about the issue": Sublime (album)_sentence_63

Commercial performance Sublime (album)_section_6

By October 1996, the disc had moved 145,000 units; its success led to renewed interest in the band's back catalog, which experienced marked growth. Sublime (album)_sentence_64

By April 1997, the album cracked the top 20 of the Billboard 200, and it eventually peaked at position 13. Sublime (album)_sentence_65

Sixteen months following the album's release, it still sold 40,000 albums per week. Sublime (album)_sentence_66

It eventually spent 122 weeks on the chart. Sublime (album)_sentence_67

Reception Sublime (album)_section_7

Sublime (album)_table_general_0

Professional ratingsSublime (album)_table_caption_0
Review scoresSublime (album)_header_cell_0_0_0
SourceSublime (album)_header_cell_0_1_0 RatingSublime (album)_header_cell_0_1_1
AllMusicSublime (album)_cell_0_2_0 Sublime (album)_cell_0_2_1
Encyclopedia of Popular MusicSublime (album)_cell_0_3_0 Sublime (album)_cell_0_3_1
Entertainment WeeklySublime (album)_cell_0_4_0 BSublime (album)_cell_0_4_1
Los Angeles TimesSublime (album)_cell_0_5_0 Sublime (album)_cell_0_5_1
Rolling StoneSublime (album)_cell_0_6_0 Sublime (album)_cell_0_6_1
The Rolling Stone Album GuideSublime (album)_cell_0_7_0 Sublime (album)_cell_0_7_1
USA TodaySublime (album)_cell_0_8_0 Sublime (album)_cell_0_8_1
The Village VoiceSublime (album)_cell_0_9_0 A−Sublime (album)_cell_0_9_1

David Fricke of Rolling Stone complimented the band's "bright, wired bounce and the shell-game shuffle of funk beats, snappy Jamaican rhythms and mosh-pit, shout-it-out choruses in Nowell's writing," deeming it "the stuff of a band with great promise and the confidence to make good on it. Sublime (album)_sentence_68

If only that were still possible." Sublime (album)_sentence_69

RJ Smith of Spin praised Nowell's songwriting craft, writing, "It might seem a daring experiment if it hadn't so effortlessly sprung from a Long Beach surf scene that featured acoustic jams on the beach that naturally flowed from Wailers to Descendents classics [...] Sublime succeeds not just on vibe but on songcraft." Sublime (album)_sentence_70

Nisid Hajari of Entertainment Weekly called the album a "respectable testament" to Nowell's memory, ultimately noting that the record "coheres more on an intellectual rather than emotional level, its sound too diffuse to be dramatic." Sublime (album)_sentence_71

Robert Christgau of The Village Voice gave the record an A-, commenting, "Junkies who retain enough soul to create music at all are generally driven to put their brilliance and stupidity in your face. Sublime (album)_sentence_72

Nowell is altogether more loving, unassuming, good-humored, and down-to-earth — or so he pretends, which when you're good is all it takes." Sublime (album)_sentence_73

Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic reports that Nowell's death allowed the album to be "slightly overrated in some critical quarters". Sublime (album)_sentence_74

His critical review deems the album engaging and a demonstration of their potential, but also at times meandering: "The low moments don't arrive that often — by and large, the album is quite engaging — but they happen frequently enough to make the record a demonstration of the band's blossoming ability, but not the fulfillment of their full potential." Sublime (album)_sentence_75

Accolades Sublime (album)_section_8

Spin included the album on its list of the best albums of the decade, opining that it "redeemed" modern rock radio in the post-grunge era. Sublime (album)_sentence_76

It deems Sublime "a tragic contradiction: a confident, clearheaded work by an artist coming into his own and at the same time losing control." Sublime (album)_sentence_77

Sublime (album)_table_general_1

YearSublime (album)_header_cell_1_0_0 PublicationSublime (album)_header_cell_1_0_1 RankSublime (album)_header_cell_1_0_2 CountrySublime (album)_header_cell_1_0_3 ListSublime (album)_header_cell_1_0_4
1997Sublime (album)_cell_1_1_0 SpinSublime (album)_cell_1_1_1 8Sublime (album)_cell_1_1_2 United StatesSublime (album)_cell_1_1_3 The 20 Best Albums of '96Sublime (album)_cell_1_1_4
1999Sublime (album)_cell_1_2_0 48Sublime (album)_cell_1_2_1 The 90 Greatest Albums of the '90sSublime (album)_cell_1_2_2
Rolling StoneSublime (album)_cell_1_3_0 *Sublime (album)_cell_1_3_1 The Essential Recordings of the 90'sSublime (album)_cell_1_3_2
2011Sublime (album)_cell_1_4_0 25Sublime (album)_cell_1_4_1 100 Best Albums of the NinetiesSublime (album)_cell_1_4_2

Track listing Sublime (album)_section_9

All songs written by Bradley Nowell, Eric Wilson, and Bud Gaugh, except where noted. Sublime (album)_sentence_78

Personnel Sublime (album)_section_10

Sublime Sublime (album)_sentence_79

Sublime (album)_unordered_list_2

  • Bradley Nowell – lead vocals, guitar, organ, synthesizerSublime (album)_item_2_13
  • Eric Wilson – bass, backing vocals, synthesizerSublime (album)_item_2_14
  • Bud Gaugh – drums, percussionSublime (album)_item_2_15

Additional personnel Sublime (album)_section_11

Sublime (album)_unordered_list_3

  • DJ Smash – turntables, percussionSublime (album)_item_3_16
  • Marshall Goodman – turntables, percussion, drums, drum programmingSublime (album)_item_3_17
  • Michael "Miguel" Happoldt – guitar, space echoSublime (album)_item_3_18
  • David Kahne – organ, pianoSublime (album)_item_3_19
  • Paul Leary – guitarSublime (album)_item_3_20
  • Todd Forman – saxophoneSublime (album)_item_3_21
  • Jon Blondell – tromboneSublime (album)_item_3_22

Production Sublime (album)_section_12

Sublime (album)_unordered_list_4

Charts and certifications Sublime (album)_section_13

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: (album).