Sublime – Greatest Hits

So, of late I’ve been on a ska kick. Growing up there was a distinct presence of fans for the genre, though excluding local bands, I was never able to discover the more underground bands as I now manage with metal. So here we have the first of two ska bands to be reviewed in this brief genre-hop.

Sublime – Greatest Hits – 4/5

Rather than choose an individual album, I chose to review their best of, as unfortunately my collection of their work appears to be elsewhere. Lost over time, or forgotten in some cupboard somewhere.

Sublime are not underground by any stretch of the imagination. They were one of the largest bands in the genre back in the 90’s along with the likes of No Doubt and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, but somehow I felt they got left out somewhat - the “Anthrax” of the big ska bands if you will. Rather than play a straight up style of ska, they took heavy reggae influences leading to a wonderful hybrid of melodic sax sections, with a laid back yet oddly annoyed situation. This is what you’d expect the average ska band to sound like after they’d had a joint too many, oddly exemplified in the track “Smoke 2 Joints.”

Its fairly bizarre even now to me listening to it some 8 years after I first was shown to them, how does it work? Its so laid back, so simplistic, that I don’t understand how it works, but it does. The bassist helps to keep the beat, working alongside the drumming. The guitar has the typical ska twang to it, and he has the odd solo, but nothing of note.

No, quite simply they succeed in what they set out to do. For example, “Santeria,” and “Badfish” succeed in creating a chillout atmosphere which isn’t just something to put on in the background and forget about, “Wrong Way” and “Date Rape” succeed in telling a amusing story mocking two commonly found situations, then the story of the 1992 Miami Riots told in the closing track, every song has some sort of clearly defined point to it, and their opinions aren’t expressed in a way that’s in your face, it often cleverly mocks it in order to persuade the listener. Its quite refreshing from the political hardcore and metal which seem to be calling any differing opinion retarded by comparison.

It only scored the 4 out of 5, as its 40mins long. There are a LOT of good tracks missed out, but then whittling down the tracks to the best dozen cant have been easy. Still, a few more couldn't have hurt.

This is to serve as an introduction to the band. If you already know them, this is a fairly redundant review, as there’s nothing here that you shouldn’t already have. If you don’t, and are interested, this is something you could do with listening to.

Highlights: Date Rape, Greatest Hits, Santeria

By T. Bawden