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Vinyl Gets In Your Eyes "Sublime" reviewed by Kyle Cannon

On May 25, 1996 Bradley Nowell left the world due to a heroin overdose. 

Two months later Sublime released their third and final album aptly titled Sublime.   

A lot can be said about album titles and how they play a role in setting the tone for a record.  I don’t think this one could be anymore appropriately titled.  It’s Sublime mixing and matching reggae, punk, and ska with their own blend of LBC flavor to create a proper tribute to their lead singer and guitarist. 

As my eyes scan the photos of Brad, Eric, Bud, and Lou Dog scattered throughout the inside cover and sleeves of the record, I can’t help but wonder what could have been if Brad hadn’t died. 

For me, Sublime is a go to band that I can put on in any situation whether it be drinking PBR in my friend’s back yard on a sunny April day, mopping up bar funk from the party the night before, or for the party itself.  It probably stems from that fact that I spent the best four years of my life at Wrightsville Beach, NC with the likes of such cool cats as Griffin Abernathy, Woody Fuller, and Wes Dinsick and you couldn’t find a finer soundtrack to life than 40 oz. to Freedom. 

I needed a new record and as I was flipping through stacks at the store I saw Brad’s Sublime tattoo on his back staring right at me.  Check please. 

People often associate vinyl records with having superior audio quality and I must say, I haven’t found a better example of that than Sublime.  Every note on this record, whether it be vocals, guitar, bass, or drums has such a rich, distinct sound to it.  The bass reverberates through the floors, the guitar grooves along the walls, and Brad’s voice soothes into your soul. 

Side 1 opens with “Garden Grove”, a song with a groovy rhythm and a deep, funky bass line layered over lyrics about life in the LBC.   Next up is “What I Got.”  Drop the needle on this track first thing in the morning every morning and it’s going to be a good day regardless of what comes your way.  My personal favorite from Side 1 is the upbeat, ska-punk jam “Same In the End.”  Switching the vibe back and forth from a Southern California ska beat to a skater punk thrash really gets the juices flowing and the party hopping. 

The first time I switched over to Side 2 and “Santeria” came dancing through the speakers, a shit-eating grin came over my face and my ears perked up like a puppy’s.  It had never sounded so vibrant that it almost seemed surreal.  Side 2 rounds out with “ Jailhouse” and “Pawn Shop”, a pair of laid back grooves that you can’t ever go wrong with. 

Side 3’s “Under My Voodoo” carries an intense passion that can felt through Brad’s shredding.  When I hear the word “voodoo” in terms of music I relate it to Jimi Hendrix and this song is very reminiscent to me of the energy that he brought.  “Get Ready”, a reggae jam about loading up the bong and cranking up the song, is every stoner’s wet dream. 

“Doin’ Time” concludes Sublime with a cool mix of hip hop and lounge music influences all while singing about wanting to hold your girlfriends head under water!  The artwork, photos, design, and layout of this record serves as memory and tribute to a fantastic, influential band and is reminder that out favorite musicians will eventually pass on but the music won’t. 

Nearly 15 years after Nowell’s death, Sublime is still finding its way into the ears of new, young listeners eager to find out if life really is sunnier in Southern California. 

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