Sublime - 40 Oz. To Freedom
Don't even start with me! Fifteen years old, and 40 oz. To Freedom sounds as new and grooved as the day I first heard it. Yet, it's first being reviewed?
Top down, northbound on I-5 ready to nestle into Shasta, CA for a week or so, I was blessed by the sweet sounds and bubbling of this LEGENDARY, never matched album of progressive punk-reggae-ska-rock-hip hop for the first time. I won't lie, my out of touch ass didn't pick up on this album till probably five years after its release. I could blame geographical location, but I'd be booshitting! Sadly, but sweetly that fine 70 degree sunny day of mountains and wake-boarding I found the greatest CD I've ever listened to.
Now before you beat me up for my lapse in Sublime awareness, get jealous for a moment or two. I own an original trunk copy off Skunk records. Featuring "Get Out" , a drum soaked melody complimenting all of Sublime's sounds and mixing. Acoustic, Funk, Hip Hop, even House, all the sounds evident are brightly clarified by the pipes of one Bradley Nowell. The rest of the disc is smothered in smooth genre hopping and is perfect for a glistening Summer rock sound for the entire year, every year.
Songs named after Hip Hop legends, remade from the head of Jerry Garcia, and slithers of tribute to Bob Marley all around, Sublime; one throat, bass and set of drums and the ballsiest dalmation you've ever been jealous of made the most untypical blending of music. "Rivers Of Babylon" is a fantastic under-produced acoustic accapella bonfire track, full of melody from the lung and heart. All the while "New Thrash" still has some Punk bands scratching their head, wondering how in the hell did they just do that? Or track 16 "New Song", that starts with a funk rock groove and verses with a reggae vibe. Or "Ebin" is always a crowd favorite. "Ebin, you changed, Ebin, EBin, EBIn, EBIN, EBIN you've changed!" Go ahead, try and not to struggle with your bones as they involuntarily move with the up-tempo, but soft and muffled passionate vocals of Nowell.
Then there's "Date Rape", the song that spun Sublime out of control. Into the wrong side of the media, regardless this song was the perfect craze of melody for unknowing minds. Quick and purposeful, this song had a story alright, some it offended, and some knew it was a joke, BUT EVERYONE LISTENED. Though not even close to the heart of this disc, if not for this song breaking on KROQ in L.A., maybe Sublime stops making music and this album never makes it to my music shop 3,000 miles and 10 years later. No, I didn't catch on immediately, but I'll call a spade a spade, this is truly the greatest album in I've ever been privied to. Screw the deserted island pick, there is no choice stronger than 40 oz. to Freedom.
Sure, you can catch some different things if you pay attention. For instance, "Badfish" has a lot more than carefully pricked Floyd like tempo'ed guitar and bass intro, just listen real closely. Bradley sings "Don't make me sick, saw you in your bedroom, sucking someone else's..." and a vocal sample proclaims, "O my goodness!!!". Wait for the bridge-almost-verse to end, and the thought will be finished by yet another vocal sample. A raspy woman slips in with "Dick!". The clever mixing and matching of samples on this CD is by far the best I've ever heard handcuffed with pure listener learned instrumentation.
Certainly when Jerry Garcia wrote his 1974 classic "Scarlet Begonia's", he couldn't have imagined a brass quick mouthed Nowell breathing new life into it nearly 20 years later. Showcasing his love for Rap and life, Brad added a new story to the end. Good luck memorizing the lyrics here... While its hard to choose the greatest novelty song, on an album of novelty songs "What Happened" has to be a top choice. Not just a song set in the soul of trumpet punk, or funk rock, this song bears a story of hard partying and unique vocal expression.
Though in 1992, no part of Sublime's talents were overwhelming, their casual style of rhythm and understanding of what people needed to hear just came nacherally. Don't start with me, as this is the fourth time in eight years I've written this review. Truth is, no review or descriptive of the finest album I've ever adored is sufficient enough for this 23 track masterpiece. Don't start with me, start with "Waiting For My Ruca"...
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on 2007-12-13 hstisgod Said:
See just when I think we're getting along you think we're arguing. That's what so great about 40 oz. Its scratchy, its amateur, its independent... I stand firm, there is no better an amateur album in my collection.
on 2007-12-06 dscanland Said:
Now I know a lot of you swear by this album but I finally gave it a proper listen. I'm not sold. I don't think it stands the test of time. It honestly sounds dated. True, there are some great songs on 40 oz of Freedom but not enough to warrant being a classic, in my mind. If Sublime took a closer edit of some of these songs, cut 5-6 tracks and just made it a solid listen I think it would have been much more. Or not...
I still recommend that people check out this album but do so without the expectations that Brian has set with his fabulous review. Things like "Crucial Thanks" could have been done in liner notes instead. Boring. But solid songs like "Don't Push" make a great argument for Brad's superb songwriting. A few more of these and yes, this would have stood the test of time.