I’ve recently gotten into ska music. Before I got into Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake, I knew some punk bands would incorporate trumpets and was vaguely there was this weird genre that somehow combined raggae and punk, but I didn’t think much of it. Getting into the history of it, I found a new appreciation for Sublime that went beyond throwing on “Santeria” at summer barbecues.
I mean, yes, singer Brad Nowell’s search for black magic to use romantically is a hit for a reason. The upstrums of the rhythm guitar really makes it bounce and listening to a Californian who’s not a hippie but is actually pretty pissed is a nice change of pace. Oh, and that guitar solo is nice, but nothing compared to the hidden gems on this album, like the outro in “Same in the End” or the spicy back and forth found on “Seed.” But it’s not just the guitars that let loose. They also got a trombone player who lets loose for the final verse of “Wrong Way.” Don’t let all this fancy playing fool you though. Sublime is through and through a group of punks. “What I Got” and “Caress Me Down” are the other two hits that every fan of punk music should listen to. That latter song is a greasy number about getting funky with a particularly experienced lady. Props to them for singing it in Spanglish.
You know that this wouldn’t be a punk album without goofy song titles, such as the consecutive “The Ballad of Johnny Butt” and “Burritos.” “Get Ready” makes sure you know sublime’s stance on marijuana. If you’re looking for rougher stuff, listen to the rockers “Seed” and “Under My Voodoo.” I’m telling you man, this album has everything you could possibly need.