The Sublime Sound of 80’s Band: Sublime

Alaya Holland, Reporter

Back on July 30, 1996, Sublime released their third and final album, Sublime. Sublime is a ska punk band consisting of three guys, vocalist/guitarist Bradley Nowell, bassist Eric Wilson, and drummer Bud Gaugh. They were a scruffy band from Long Beach, California that freely mixed elements of punk rock, ska, dancehall reggae, psychedelic rock, and hip-hop together to form their unique musical take.

I consider Sublime to be the best album they released. Musically, Sublime captured the spirit of summertime vibin’ with big sing-along hooks, acoustic licks, punk guitar, and grooving rhythms. With four hit singles, “Santeria,” “What I Got,” “Doin’ Time,” and “Wrong Way,” the album sold roughly 6.9 million copies in the U.S.

Sublime’s music is known for the stories that are told in the form of a song. The variety of styles played on the album really shows the compatibility the trio had with one another. From the ska stylings of “Garden Grove”, to the punk vibe of “Same In The End” and the hip-hop fascination of “April 29, 1992 (Miami)”, to the reggae of “Pawn Shop”, that the band shows they can play and write about anything. They pull off all the genre experimentations very well, there’s nothing that feels stolen from other artists. It maintains a core of originality. They’ve also influenced other artists such as Black Flag, the Specials, KRS-One, the Circle Jerks, Selector, and Run-D.M.C.

Few of the topics presented lyrically are in a happy beat, but a humorous approach often makes light of the subject matter. Some of the songs focus on poverty and the ruggedness of city life, while others find the joys of everyday activities. And it becomes apparent that, no matter how big their fan base became or the money they earned, Sublime was still drawn into the essence of the daily grind. It created legitimacy for their music and a strong relationship with their listeners.