Sublime “Deluxe 10th Anniversary Edition”

Album Reviews | Nov 30th, 2006

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Record Label: Geffen Records/Gasoline Alley
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I can honestly say that when “Sublime” was released, it changed my life. Back in ’96 I was just starting to discover the sounds of the underground ska and punk movement of the 90’s due to the big commercial explosion of bands like the Bosstones and No Doubt. Those were the early days of my musical enlightenment. Goldfinger, Mustard Plug, Against All Authority, Skankin Pickle, Reel Big Fish, Save Ferris, Hepcat, Rancid, Social Distortion, The Clash…those were the bands that I was discovering for the first time. But there were always those certain albums that always found their way to your CD player again and again and again. Reel Big Fish-Turn The Radio Off, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones-Let’s Face It (Best album ever and I don’t care if you like Question the Answers more, it’s not as good) and Sublime’s self-titles posthumous release. I remember the first time that I heard Santeria on the radio. I sat in my room doing some drawings not really paying attention to anything, and then I heard that unforgettable guitar intro followed by the sweetest reggae sound that I had ever heard. Chills ran down my spine. They still do today every time I hear that song. I remember hanging at the beach house with my friend while on vacation and chilling to that album. I remember riding on the bus with Jailhouse on repeat. I remember laughing with my future wife the first time she heard Caress Me Down. It was just one of those albums that is basically the soundtrack to a particular time in your life. And here we are ten years later looking back on this sonic revolution.

What you get with the Deluxe Edition is not just a rehashing of the original “Sublime” but an expansion. The Deluxe Edition is a two-disc bundle that includes the original album as it was intended to be and a bonus disc with unreleased tracks and remixes and five music videos. With the first disc, what you have is the album as Bradley Nowell envisioned it. You have to look closely to find the slight differences. First of all, the album kicks off with a cover of Bob Marley’s Trenchtown Rock that was later released on “Second Hand Smoke”. Personally, I wish that it would have been that way on the original release. That song really catches your attention and seems to set the mood for the experience that comes next. The second track, Doin’ Time is release in it’s original form with the word “summertime” being replaced with “doin’ time” which was changed by request from the original songwriter in order for the song to be allowed on the album. After that, the only other differences are nothing but track order. Doin’ Time goes from last to second with Garden Grove moving to the end of the album instead of the first track, and some other slight shuffling at the beginning of the record. I was disappointed to find out that the alternate versions of Garden Grove and April 29th, 1992 from “Second Hand Smoke” weren’t in the original track list and were just remixes because I like the alternate versions a little more especially the line in April 29th, 1992 (give me my share). That line just seems to add something to the song for some reason.

Disc Two really didn’t offer me anything that I haven’t heard. The videos were good to have but I could have done without the eight different versions of Doin’ Time by every rapper ever, and all of the instrumental stuff. The acoustic songs are ok but didn’t they do the acoustic thing already? (see Bradley Nowell and Friends) Superstar Punani is released once again as well as the alternate April 29th. The only worthwhile thing on disc two is the quasi Bad Brains cover titled I Love My Dog, which was an ode to Lou Dog.

As I said earlier, the original release in my mind was damn near perfect. Having Trenchtown Rock open up the album would have been great, but I’m glad the album came as it did. I don’t know if it’s due to extensive familiarity to the original, but I didn’t like the particular track listing on the Deluxe Edition. Some of the songs seemed out of place and the album didn’t flow like is should have. That’s probably why they changed them up, huh? I also didn’t feel that there was much to look forward to on the second disc. I’m sure that there were some other unreleased Sublime songs out there that could have been included or even some cover songs or early demos could have replaced the five different versions of Doin’ Time. The booklet was a little more extensive and I liked the packaging, but overall, I feel that there was something missing and that more unreleased material should have been included. For someone like myself who has listened to the first release of “Sublime” more than I’ve had sex, this release felt unfamiliar to me. When compared to the original, there is no comparison even if there are only minor differences. For someone out there that has heard Sublime for the first time, this is a good place to start for one of the most influential bands in my life. For a newbie, the Deluxe Edition is a comprehensive multimedia starting point for some of the best music to ever be released. Pick it up and start your own memory book.

Bottom Line:
Notable Tracks: Wrong Way, Santeria, Jailhouse, Caress Me Down, Get Ready, Seed
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