Local Wire

Sublime

The first great tragedy of Sublime was the fatal heroin overdose of singer/guitarist Brad Nowell in 1996. The second great tragedy is the ongoing release of compilations that contain any smidgeon of Sublime — demos, outtakes, bootlegs, live versions, remixes — regardless of how rehashed or half-assed. Not that this "Deluxe Edition 10th Anniversary" double disc is bad, but it's certainly not the creative caliber of studio albums like 40 Oz. to Freedom or Sublime. The first disc contains several tracks straight off the latter album, including the hits "What I Got," "Santeria," and "Wrong Way," along with Nowell's impromptu solo version of Bob Marley's "Trenchtown Rock," which appeared on another posthumous compilation, Second Hand Smoke. The second disc is packed with alternate, acoustic, and instrumental versions of old Sublime songs, including the stellar ska tune "Superstar Punani" (also on Second Hand Smoke) and the seldom-heard "Little District." But since you can only squeeze so many songs from a defunct band's back catalogue, we also end up hearing five different remixes of "Doin' Time," straight in a row. Some of the remixes are clever, particularly those by Wyclef Jean and Marshall Arts with The Pharcyde, but after a while, all this breathing of "new life" into old songs starts to sound like beating a dead horse. For the band's best moments of brilliance, pick up the Sublime studio albums. They're just never going to dig up anything better.
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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea